Research Library

19 July 2021

Equity & Environmental Justice in 30x30


Publishers: Hispanic Access Foundation
Author: Shanna Edberg
Topics: Advocacy
Geographic Focus: National

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HOW TO INCREASE ACCESS TO NATURE FOR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR AND ENSURE EQUITY IN HOW FUNDS ARE SPENT ON PROTECTION

To strengthen the Biden Administration’s America the Beautiful initiative to protect 30% of the United States’ lands, water, and ocean by 2030, Hispanic Access Foundation aims to increase access to nature for communities of color and ensure equity in how funds are spent on protection, to assure that all communities – no matter where they live – have safe, accessible public spaces and nature where they can recreate and restore.

Inequitable access to nature is a problem that national, state, and local leaders can no longer ignore. With scientists urging policymakers to protect at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and ocean by 2030 to address the biodiversity and climate crises, now is the time to imagine how, by protecting far more lands and waters over the next decade, the United States can guarantee every child in America the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of nature near their home.

That said, nature protection and restoration cannot be the only elements to America the Beautiful, or we risk

  1. unintended consequences negatively impacting communities of color, such as green gentrification, and
  2. missing out on the fullest range of benefits provided by nearby nature and clean water access, which range from job creation to improving education and public health to climate mitigation and resilience.

To prevent negative knock-on effects and harness the maximum benefits of investing in nearby nature, policymakers must also consider public and active transportation needs, affordable and dense housing, living wages, the border wall and immigration reform, and law enforcement reform as additional components necessary to creating meaningful equity and safety in the outdoors. In addition, lack of federal recognition of dozens of Tribal Nations impedes meaningful consultation, co-management, and enfranchisement of indigenous communities in the outdoors.

Therefore, a whole-of-government approach centering equity and BIPOC perspectives throughout the America the Beautiful initiative is necessary to design a deliberately inclusive program that accounts for the myriad ways in which communities of color are excluded from a safe, accessible, pollution-free outdoors that addresses environmental justice and meets community needs.

 

Last modified on 19 July 2021

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