9th CEEJH Environmental Justice & Health Disparities: People, Power & Politics

By Rebecca Rehr, Director of Climate Policy and Justice

Last month, the team at the University of Maryland Center for Community Engagement, Environmental Justice, and Health (CEEJH) led by Dr. Sacoby Wilson brought together community advocates, academics, and national and local policymakers for vibrant dialogue and collaboration. Topics included cumulative impacts, the federal Justice 40 initiative, faith based environmental justice leadership, and equitable climate and clean energy policy solutions. 

Maryland LCV participated in three panels:

The Politics of Heat: Heatwave Hell In America  

Speakers: Dr. Renee Salas, Senior author of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change and emergency medicine physician in the Center for Social Justice and Health Equity in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Dr. Luis Ortiz, assistant professor in the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences at GMU; Dr. Lauren Smalls-Mantey, senior environmental systems scientist at the New York Department of Health in the Bureau of Environmental Surveillance and Policy. 

Legislative Efforts to Advance Environmental Justice in MAJC States

Speakers: Senator Arthur Ellis and Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo

Agency Report Back on Justice 40 in the State of Maryland

Speakers: Director of the Maryland Environmental Service, Charles Glass; Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment, Serena McIlwain; Secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Urban Development, Jacob Day; Secretary of the Maryland Department of Planning, Rebecca Flora

Across these panels, the clear theme was the need for urgent action and strong leadership across sectors to move past politics and towards solutions. Maryland has the most ambitious short term climate goals in the nation – 60% emissions reductions by 2031 – and the state must prioritize crafting policy and implementation through an equity lens. You can sign on to comments supporting the state’s plan here

All of the sessions were recorded and are available on the CEEJH YouTube channel.