Trust for Public Land on the release of the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool
Washington D.C. – Diane Regas, Trust for Public Land [TPL] president and CEO, today issued the following statement on the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) new Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST).
The CEJST is an important piece of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to direct 40 percent of the benefits of Federal climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water, and conservation investments to historically underserved communities that are disproportionately impacted by pollution:
“In every state across the country, too many children are growing up without access to parks, nature, or the outdoors. This ‘outdoor equity gap’ exists in urban centers, rural towns and on Tribal lands, and it is especially acute in communities of color. That’s why it is essential we invest in communities, and bring the powerful mental, physical and emotional health benefits of the outdoors to every person in every part of our country,” said Regas.
TPL analysis shows that 100 million people in the U.S., including 28 million children, do not have a quality park or green space close to home. The data also show that parks serving predominantly communities of color are on average half the size of parks that serve predominantly white communities and serve five times more people per acre.
“The Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool includes new data to show nature-deprived communities that have inequitable access to the outdoors,” said Stephenne Harding, White House Council on Environmental Quality Senior Director for Lands. “We know parks, waters, and public lands are crucial to healthy communities and mitigating the effects of climate change, so this important update will help the Justice40 Initiative advance environmental justice.”
Accurate data are important to making funding decisions and distributing federal resources to those nature-deprived communities with the most need. Earlier this year, Trust for Public Land provided feedback on the beta version of the CEJST and developed a dataset showing places that lack green space and are “nature-deprived”. Equitable access to parks and greenspace is a key component of environmental justice. TPL is excited about continuing to support CEQ in achieving the goals of the Justice40 Initiative by closing the outdoor equity gap.
“The CEJST will ensure federal climate and energy investments can have the most impact for those most in need. Neighborhood parks and green space reduce flooding, absorb air pollution, and filter storm water. Green, shady parks also protect people from rising temperatures, and can reduce the deadly urban heat island effect,” continued Regas.
Parks can build social ties, strengthen local neighborhood networks, and help communities withstand the impacts of climate change. The Climate Economic and Justice Screening Tool can equip Federal agencies with actionable data showing where investments in climate, health, clean energy, and local parks can help tackle the climate crisis while also closing the outdoor equity gap.
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.