What is environmental justice?
Environmental Justice is the idea that people should be treated under environmental laws regardless of defying characteristics (race, socioeconomic status, culture, ethnicity, gender, etc.). The environmental justice movement emerged to illustrate that communities with socioeconomic challenges and different racial and ethnic characteristics are being impacted at a higher rate by environmental decisions – specifically industrial pollution, landfills, pesticides, disposal facilities, and lead poisoning.
Why is mapping environmental justice important?
The detailed mapping of pollutant impacts facilitates the recognition of environmental challenges facing distinct communities. This crucial knowledge enables policymakers to comprehensively understand community health statuses and any concerns linked to their collective well-being. Establishing inter-agency collaborations and forming specialized panels allowed the EJ Screening tool to tackle various environmental issues that have substantial impacts on Connecticut residents.
What is CT EJ Screening Tool?
CT EJ Screen is a screening tool that identifies areas and/or communities with high environmental burdens from pollution and accounts for the vulnerability of these communities. The CT EJ Screen uses various data, creating a GIS map illustrating the marginalized and burdened communities.
Why was CT EJ Screening Tool Created?
CT EJ Screen was created after the Equity and Environmental Justice Working Group recommendation in the Governor’s Council on Climate Change in January 2021 to create a visual representation of the distribution of environmental and climate health vulnerabilities across Connecticut. DEEP and CIRCA have partnered to create this representation and tool for Connecticut.
How is CT EJ Screening Tool being used?
The CT Screening Tool helps identifies communities that have the most environmental burdens. However, at the same rate, residents, policymakers and community leaders can look at their town/county and identify environmental burdens and pollutants in that area. The purpose of the mapping tool will equip policymakers, urban planners, environmental advocates, or just interested in environmental justice with valuable knowledge on leveraging geospatial data for positive community impact.
To learn more about the ideas to do with the CT EJ Screening Tool, click here.
Who can use CT EJ Screening Tool?
Anyone can use the mapping tool! The mapping tool can range from policymakers to your next-door neighbor. It is meant to be inclusive and cater to all.
Please check the CT EJ Screen Tool Uses.
What are indicators?
Indicators are processed raw data to be used in the cumulative index model. Raw data is unprocessed information from any point source. The indicators are broken down into four categories: potential pollution sources, potential pollution exposure, socioeconomic factors, and health sensitivity. These indicators are meant to illustrate the various burdens taken into account when calculating the pollution and the mapping score. The varying levels of these effects can be found in more detail on our page.
How are CT EJ Screening Tool scores calculated?
Each indicator is assigned a percentile range and normalized rank for each state census tract based on the available data. The combination of these indicator scores gives the indices. The ranks range from 0 (least impacted) to 10 (most impacted). For more information on scoring, view our diagram explaining the process and read the report.
What are some limitations of the mapping tool?
Some limitations of the mapping tool include the datasets being equally weighted (some datasets are more prevalent than others and impact more, but in the case of the map, each data set represents one indicator). The resolutions of the data layers are inconsistent; some layers are census tract and others are town level. This tool does not contain information about every environmental, health, or demographic factor and cannot guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information contained within these datasets. Decisions on the cumulative impact of environmental health risks should not solely be based on this map. It is also not intended to represent specific diseases or conditions related to the environment.
How can members of the community be involved in the CT EJ Screening Tool?
How can I find out my community’s score?
In the GIS-created mapping tool, you can input your address and/or the zip code you reside in. Here, it will then take you to the census tract you currently live in and present the score, the indicators, and any additional information on pollution burdens.
Where can I find out more information about environmental justice in my town/county?
For additional resources, you can look at our resource page. As for the additional support with environmental justice, we recommend utilizing some of the links added below to research more regarding communities and environmental injustice:
Environmental Justice: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Environmental-Justice/Environmental-Justice
DEEP Environmental Justice: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Environmental-Justice/Connecticut-Equity-and-Environmental-Justice-Advisory-Council
Can the EJ screening tool tell me about specific conditions and or diseases?
No. While the CT EJScreen tool is a powerful resource for understanding and addressing environmental justice issues, it’s crucial to note that it is not designed to represent specific diseases or risk conditions related to environmental pollution. Moreover, the decisions regarding the cumulative impact of environmental health risks should incorporate additional sources of information and not rely solely on this tool.
This Mapping Tool DOES NOT: evaluate health risks; predict health outcomes of communities or individuals; explain the cause of health issues or health concerns of individuals; identify a population’s health risk due to a potential source of pollution; release private addresses, information, or names.
What was the methodology for developing the screening tool?
CT EJ Screening Map bases its methodology on Washington State Health Disparity Map, CalEnviroScreen, and EPA EJScreen. When comparing and combining the methodology of different EJScreen tools from different states, it’s important to understand that while the core concept is the same, the specifics may vary based on each State’s unique environmental and demographic considerations. The CT EJ Screening Map methodology is adjusted based on the State’s specific needs.
The basic methodology goes as follows: data collection, indicator selection and calculation, cumulative index calculation, and mapping. To learn more about our methodology, read our report.
How do I interpreted the cumulative indices?
The cumulative indices express the potential impact on the community. Specifically, the pollution burden consists of several measures which evaluate the buildup of environmental exposures and their consequences within communities. These measures symbolize potential sources and exposures to pollution. Evaluating sensitivity involves using socioeconomic measures and health predispositions that contribute to increased vulnerability to heightened pollution exposure. To comprehend the total impact for each census tract, the model calculates and impact score, then assigns percentiles in line with their rank order. The rank order allows users to grasp their position relative to the whole State.
What is the resolution of the CT EJ Screening Tool?
Although the data processed as indicators may have various resolutions, the cumulative index maps are represented in Census Tracts.