Session: Integrating Climate Justice Into Ecology Education - Elevating the Human Dimensions of ESA’s 4DEE for a Sustainable Future
Underrepresented, underserved, understudied: Gaps and opportunities for advancing environmental justice in disadvantaged communities
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Link To Share This Presentation: https://cdmcd.co/dEyWZp
Jose Pablo Ortiz-Partida, Union of Concerned Scientists, Oakland, CA, Angel S. Fernandez-Bou, Humberto Flores-Landeros and Josue Medellin-Azuara, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Merced, Merced, CA, Kristin B. Dobbin, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, Leigh Bernacchi, Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), University of California, Merced, Merced, CA
Background/Question/Methods A common approach in scientific research and policy is a commitment to develop projects or legislation with the intention to improve problems experienced by communities; however, lack of interaction with community members during the process may produce unsatisfactory impacts. We visited disadvantaged communities in the Central Valley of California and interviewed local stakeholders (community members and leaders, policy advocates, attorneys, and educators). Then we analyzed a corpus related to disadvantaged communities from a pool of California-related publications containing 11,000 state bills, 2.6 million newspaper articles, and 154,000 scientific publications from 2017 to 2020 to estimate the frequency and quality of disadvantaged community representation. Here we present the biases and gaps of knowledge by scientific and newspaper articles with respect to disadvantaged communities in California, and we suggest opportunities for scientists, policymakers, and media communicators to amplify the voices of these stakeholders. Results/Conclusions In all influential texts, disadvantaged communities are underrepresented: about one in four Californians live in disadvantaged communities, but only one in 2000 news and scientific publications cover them. The concerns of disadvantaged communities do not necessarily match with the public perspective depicted by the corpus. Developing effective policies requires addressing nuances and co-occurrence of structural inequities in partnership with local stakeholders. Holistic coverage in newspapers and community-based approaches may increase awareness and understanding of disadvantaged communities, helping tailor policy solutions and building the political leverage needed to implement them.