Public Engagement Resource Guide For Environmental Justice

A Public Engagement Practitioner’s Guide To Environmental Justice

What is Environmental Justice?

Environmental justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

About this Environmental Justice Guide:

According to the US Council on Environmental Quality, around one-third of the United States population is considered to be in “distress.”

With unprecedented attention and federal funding focused on addressing historic inequities, it is crucial to facilitate more equitable public engagement within our communities. This public engagement guide highlights environmental justice considerations and provides a go-to resource for publicly available data and public engagement platforms designed with equity in mind.

In this public engagement guide, you will find:

  • A checklist designed to help public engagement practitioners evaluate their environmental justice efforts.
  • A curated list of publicly available sources of community data.
  • Tips on how to weave equity into your engagement strategy.

Download this public engagement guide as a PDF >

Check List For Environmental Justice In Public Engagement

The following checklist is designed to help frame considerations for public engagement practitioners as they evaluate their environmental justice responsibilities and efforts.

Our public engagement process includes (check all that apply):

Outreach strategies that identify and target project area stakeholders based on race, color, national origin, and income.

Strategies for meaningful opportunities to participate in decisions about activities that may affect stakeholder environment and/or health.

Input tactics and strategies that ensure that no group of people are excluded from contributing their perspectives.

Analysis strategies that evaluate to what degree a group of people bear a disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies.

Reporting that makes it easy for stakeholder contributions and sentiments to be documented and considered in the decision making process.

Segmentation and reporting strategies that make it easy for decision makers to seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected.

Public Sources Of Community Data To Support Equitable Outreach Efforts

There are a wide range of publicly available sources of community data that aid public engagement practitioners in their efforts of identifying, reaching, and engaging stakeholders in specific project areas. The following is a curated list of publicly available resources made especially for these purposes: enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

Census Library Infographics & Visualizations

The Census Bureau Library is a research library that has the unique role of collecting, preserving, and providing access to information resources produced by the Census Bureau to Census Bureau employees, government agencies, and the public.

Check out the US Census Data:

National Equity Atlas

A one-stop-shop for data and policy ideas to advance racial equity and shared prosperity. The National Equity Atlas provides a detailed “report card” on racial and economic equity. Designed to equip movement leaders and policymakers with actionable data and strategies to advance racial equity and shared prosperity.

Use the National Equity Atlas:


OpenStreetMap emphasizes local knowledge. Contributors use aerial imagery, GPS
devices, and low-tech field maps to verify that OSM is accurate and up to date.

View the Maps:

Government Open Data

U.S. government data, tools, and resources to conduct research, develop web and mobile applications, design data visualizations, and more.

Visit U.S. Government Open Data:

National Center For Education Statistics

The primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.

Visit the Center:

State Health Access Data

Find health access data that goes beyond the standard indicators of health insurance coverage.

Visit the Data Center:

National Center For Health Statistics

The Nation’s principal health statistics agency, NCHS provides accurate, relevant, and timely data that supports the improved health of the American people.

View the Stats: ftp_data.htm

InfoBridge Portal

Data disseminated and displayed through InfoBridge include both data collected specifically for the Long-Term Bridge Performance Program and the National Bridge Inventory (NBI). The visualization capabilities provided in InfoBridge are highly beneficial to the States and other highway bridge owners as they work to manage bridge performance.

Review the Data:

Injury Facts: State Data

The data provides reliable information to help communicate the trends in anticipation of
the future changes needed to improve. Data focuses on preventable injuries and deaths in the work-place, on the roadway, and in homes.

Check out the Injury Stats:

Data Commons

Data Commons is an open knowledge repository that combines data from public datasets using mapped common entities. It includes tools to easily explore and analyze data across different datasets without data cleaning or joining.

Access the knowledge:

Bringing It All Together: Equity Mapping

The availability and accessibility of public data represents endless opportunities for engagement practitioners. Although, all of these options can sometimes feel disparate and overwhelming. To mitigate this problem, PublicInput has developed options that make weaving equity into engagement strategy easy.

Equity Mapping from PublicInput advances equity by empowering organizations and project teams to:

  • Demonstrate which projects serve or impact federally-identified disadvantaged communities
  • Overlay participant data with maps of Disadvantaged Communities
  • Demonstrate quantifiable engagement with participants from disadvantaged communities
  • Filter and analyze responses and comments from disadvantaged communities

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