It’s time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

President Biden and Congress must lead the charge to defeat the climate crisis and build a thriving, just and inclusive clean energy future. Join our work to help make it happen.

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It’s time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

President Biden and Congress must lead the charge to defeat the climate crisis and build a thriving, just and inclusive clean energy future. Join our work to help make it happen.

Designing a New National Equity Mapping Program

Identifying Communities That Face Environmental Injustice, Using Lessons Learned from State Equity Mapping Programs

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Environmental racism has devastated communities across the United States for generations—from slavery, through Jim Crow, redlining, and decades of forced segregation. The facts are clear. One recent study found that “redlined” communities—those that were historically excluded from fair and affordable home ownership and denied access to credit—see 2.4 times the rate of hospital admissions for asthma as do non-redlined communities in the same city. Communities of color and low-income communities have been disproportionately harmed by industrial pollution and systemic inequities.

As the United States prepares for a future fundamentally marked by climate instability, it is an economic and moral imperative to build true climate justice. A revamped National Equity Map can help.

“With an improved Equity Mapping Program in place, the federal government could jumpstart the path to climate justice”

An effective Equity Map gathers data about environmental exposures and demonstrates how those exposures are distributed and how they overlap and interact with other health, economic, demographic, and social vulnerabilities each unique community faces. It then displays that information on cumulative impacts in ways that help policymakers understand where the hardest-hit communities are located. Based on the Map, Congress and the next Administration can and must direct resources to identified communities to remedy existing harms and prevent policies from causing further injury. 

In this memo, Evergreen Action and Demos describe what an Equity Map is, how state-based Equity Maps have worked, and where the federal program currently falls short. Most importantly, this memo provides a vision for how Congress and the next Administration can design an effective Equity Mapping Program at the federal level, as a key part of an all-out mobilization to defeat the climate crisis and build a more just future.