The link between Environmental Justice and Community Economic Development is widely recognized. The two are highly interconnected and raise issues common to one another, but Environmental Justice leaders and Community Economic Development entities would benefit from additional collaboration with each other. This white paper advocates that the cornerstones of Environmental Justice, such as community activism and grassroots efforts, be further utilized in Community Economic Development strategies. In addition, Environmental Justice leaders can be more proactive by being part of the planning stages of development, further increasing community involvement, and playing an active role in problem solving discussions with Community Economic Development groups and local government. This shift would lead to a focus on strengthening low-income communities by making them healthier and more sustainable.
In general, Community Economic Development leaders are seeking to broadly improve the quality of life in identified communities. The environment clearly impacts the quality of life in every community. Thus, Community Economic Development actors should be, and likely are, cognizant of the environmental quality in their areas of focus. In our highly industrialized time, increased economic activity, up to a point, is frequently accompanied by some type of environmental degradation. Complicating matters is that traditional Community Economic Development initiatives can: o create construction and rehabilitation activity; o increase amount of short and long-term traffic; and o produce types of air, water, and soil pollution. The effects of an initiative vary widely based on the individual project’s type and scope. For example, the creation of an urban green space may have a short and minimal construction impact, with lasting positive environmental consequences. However, a new or expanded factory, while adding much-needed jobs to an area, may create less desirable environmental impacts, like increased truck traffic and noise pollution. It is important that Community Economic Development actors consider the environmental impacts their proposals bring in light of Environmental Justice concerns, and sharing their core competencies with Environmental Justice groups.
Table of Contents
|Introduction and Purpose|
|The Synergy Between Environmental Justice and Community Economic Development|
|Combining Environmental Justice and Community Economic Development Activism – Two Cases for Improvement|
|Combining Environmental Justice and Community Economic Development Activism – A Model Example|