​On April 2, 2024 Part 1 of FAN’s “Awakening to Environmental Justice” training workshop offered tools to use in researching instances of environmental injustice in your community with a demonstration by Gabriela Martinez. On April 9 at part 2 of our training, we learned from Carolyn Townes, OFS, how to reach out to community advocates in a respectful manner of solidarity.

If you missed any of the training, you will find links to the recordings and other resources here.

Our Franciscan values lead us to be in community with one another, taking action to protect each other’s integrity of life & human dignity, and to be agents of positive change in our communities, whether that means helping directly at the grassroots level in addressing these issues, or in becoming the solution to preventing these issues in proliferating through congressional advocacy. We encourage you to do your own research on your city or community using the websites and instructions below.



Instructions for your research:

  • Head to the Opportunity Atlas (www.opportunityatlas.org) to find data on communities with demographics that are commonly marginalized and subject to environmental injustice.
    • Under the drop-box in the upper-right corner, find the “neighborhood characteristics” section, and do four searches with following criteria:
      • Low “Median Household Income of Residents 2012-16”
      • High “Poverty Rate in 2012-16”
      • High “Fraction Non-white in 2010”
      • High “Foreign-Born Share in 2016”
  • Head to the EPA EJScreen Tool (www.ejscreen.epa.gov/mapper/) to find the EPA’s data on where environmental justice communities are located (and they should overlap with the communities found in step one), which issues they face, and who the polluter is.
    • In the upper-left corner, select the “places” tab (pin-point icon) and at the bottom of the list, select “Justice40/IRA” list item. Under this list item, select “Justice 40/CEJST” to add the EPA’s listing of environmental justice communities to your map.
    • Click on the areas which are highlighted in blue to see which environmental injustices they face, and scroll to read the area’s data for measures on health outcomes and pollutant levels.
    • Again looking at the upper-left corner under the “places tab”, select the list item “Facilities Compliance Status” to see which entities, in red or yellow, are current polluters in the communities. Click on the locations of these entities to read more about their name, as well as how (air, water, soil) and what substances they are polluting. Note these facilities and keep them in handy for the next step.
  • Finally, using the names of the polluters found in step 2C, let’s do some Google searches. Ideally, you want to find news articles on the current actions community members are taking, and if there are any local organizations taking advocacy actions against the polluters.
    • In the Google search bar, consider using these key-words:
      • Environmental justice
      • Pollution
      • Residents [name of your location/neighborhood]
      • Organizations
    • You are encouraged to utilize the “News” tab at the top of your google search, directly underneath the search bar, to find the most relevant and recent news articles published. This will help you to find names of environmental justice advocates and any grassroots justice organizations they might be affiliated with.
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