Webinar: Understanding environmental justice through two EPA tools: EJSCREEN and EnviroAtlas

June 15, 2022, 2 pm
Register here.

Environmental justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys:

  • The same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards,
  • Equal access to environmental assets, and
  • Equal access to the decision making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn and work.

It is vital that as a society we fix the problems created by decades of environmental injustice. Understanding patterns of how different sectors of the population are impacted inequitably by environmental issues is a necessary step towards a solution. EPA has developed tools that can be used to help users understand and address EJ. This webinar will examine two of those tools—EJScreen and EnviroAtlas—including how they can be used together.

EJScreen is an EJ mapping and screening tool that provides a nationally consistent dataset and approach for combining environmental and demographic indicators. EJScreen users choose a geographic area, and the tool then provides demographic and environmental information for that area. EnviroAtlas is a data-rich, web-based decision support tool that combines maps, analysis tools, downloadable data, and informational resources. It is used by states, tribes, communities and individuals to help inform policy and planning decisions that impact the places where we live, learn, work and play.

EJScreen and EnviroAtlas can be used together, and we will demonstrate how to use EJScreen data in EnviroAtlas and vice versa. We will also show how the two tools were used together in a lesson plan, Considering Environmental Justice in Building a Greenway: A Case Study. This webinar will provide overviews and live demonstrations of both tools with a focus on EJ issues.

Which Illinois water systems have high amounts of PFAS, and how can exposure be avoided?

Read the full story in the Belleville News-Democrat.

A harmful chemical linked to cancer and other illnesses was detected above state guidance levels earlier this year in six southwestern Illinois areas: Collinsville, East St. Louis, Eldred, Hardin, East Alton and Wood River.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency released multiple health advisories related to PFAS in 2021. The guidance aims to help local officials and community water supply operators assess toxicity and risk in any given system, though it is not enforceable.

The state is working to develop PFAS requirements, but in the meantime it’s up to residents, municipalities and water suppliers to decide if they will take action.

Jet fuel from paper industry waste could make airplanes cleaner

Read the full story at Anthropocene.

Why burn lignin when you could use it to fly an airplane? Research shows lignin-based jet fuel performs better with lower emissions than petro-fuels.

Using a board game to plan for a changing planet

Read the full story in Hakai Magazine.

Two kilometers inland from Hawke’s Bay on the North Island of New Zealand, a dark-red gate just off the highway marks the entrance to the Tangoio Marae. This marae (meeting place) is where a local Māori hapū (community) holds regular gatherings and ceremonies. The location seems perfect: surrounded by lush green hills, close to the city of Napier, and just a stone’s throw from the ocean. But there is one problem: the marae is at very high risk of flooding. The hapū of Tangoio Marae have a serious decision to make about this place that is so central to their community, and one of their decision-making tools is unorthodox: a board game.

Called Marae-opolythe Māori community designed the game in partnership with researchers from New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) with the explicit goal of helping the hapū decide how to manage the flood risk to their marae. While the researchers from NIWA contributed scientific data about known flood risks and projected climate change effects, the hapū brought their own experiences and values to the table during game development brainstorming sessions.

Chemistry researchers develop tool for safer pesticides

Read the full story from George Washington University.

The majority of commercial chemicals that enter the market in the United States every year have insufficient health and safety data. For pesticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses a variety of techniques to fill data gaps in order to evaluate chemical hazard, exposure and risk. Nonetheless, public concern over the potential threat that these chemicals pose has grown in recent years, along with the realization that traditional animal-testing methods fall short of speed, economic or ethical standards.

Now, researchers at the George Washington University Columbian College of Arts & Sciences (CCAS) have developed a new computational approach to rapidly screen pesticides for safety, performance and how long they endure in the environment. The new approach will aid in the design of next-generation molecules to develop safer pesticides.

The road to success when it comes to mitigating flood disasters

Read the full story from the University of South Australia.

As Australia continues to mop up after one of the wettest years on record, councils might want to consider a new flood mitigation strategy — permeable pavements to suit specific soil and rainfall conditions.

3 ways we can collaborate better for a stronger circular economy

Read the full story from the World Economic Forum.

Circular economy solutions are critical for sustainable growth and climate action. But the circular economy hasn’t hastened as only 8.6% of the world is currently circular. This proportion needs to almost double to shrink the global carbon footprint and tackle challenges such as waste and resource depletion.

Collaboration between players is key but difficult to achieve. In the traditional economy, players at different ends of the value chain rarely engage with each other, so circular innovations are often costly with low levels of adoption.

To make meaningful progress in circularity, we must create a collaborative ecosystem, turning trash to treasure and scaling that up. Singapore is excited about how such collaborations can lower barriers for different sectors to adopt circular innovations. Here are some promising actions.

FAO unveils new public tool based on agricultural census data

Read the full story from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is endowing FAOSTAT, the world’s largest agricultural data base, with an important new domain that enables much easier comparison and assessment of trends over time of the agricultural structures of all Member countries. 

An open access portal serving as a global public good, FAOSTAT gathers and harmonizes a wealth of data on the production, trade and consumption in the agricultural sectors, by far the world’s largest economic sector in terms of employment and sustaining livelihoods. In recent years FAO has added an increasing array of critical information on greenhouse gas emissions, land use, forest cover and investment. Now it is adding “Structural Data from Agricultural Censuses,” which present fine-grained national reports that track, among others, how large farm holdings are, who works on them, and who owns them. 

At Google’s new campus, ‘dragonscale’ solar panels capture sunlight from all different angles

Read the full story at Fast Company.

The company’s Mountain View, California, offices feature curved roofs and textured solar panels that optimize the hours they can generate electricity. It’s just one sustainability feature of the more-than-a-million-square-foot campus.

Getting the world clean, one recycled bar of soap at a time

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Meet Shawn Seipler, the founder of Clean the World. The nonprofit recycles partially used soap left behind from hotel guests for those in need.