Posted inOpinion

COMMENTARY: The importance of lived experiences in environmental justice tools

The Biden-Harris Administration has allocated significant funds into environmental justice efforts, providing an opportunity to change the outcomes of ZIP codes like mine. Through Executive Order 14008, the Council on Environmental Quality Chair introduced the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) to publish maps highlighting disadvantaged communities. Thus, although CEJST recognizes significant burdens in my tract, such as historical underinvestment, traffic pollution ranking in the 99th percentile, and a lack of green space ranking in the 92nd percentile, my census tract in my city Lawndale is not labeled as disadvantaged because it falls slightly below the low-income threshold at 62%. This census tract is also home to majority Latinos.