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  • Afterglow: B2H-Natural Disasters Driving Resiliency in Environmental Justice Communities

    Friday, December 13, 11:45 am - 12:45 pm
    403 B
    Panel Discussions
    Track 1: Sustainability, Livability, Resiliency
    The impact of natural disasters on low-income and minority populations is exacerbated by decades of environmental and social injustice. Response, recovery and preparedness present unique opportunities to advance sustainability initiatives and build greater resiliency in environmental justice communities. The afterglow of Hurricane Harvey provoked a search for innovative solutions for site cleanup and redevelopment which mitigate flooding, keep contaminated floodwaters out of environmental justice communities and connect them to essential services. In response, EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice launched Disaster Brownfields to Healthfields (B2H) in Houston as an environmental justice strategy for equitable disaster recovery and preparedness to protect environment and health in effected communities. In collaboration with community nonprofits, municipal brownfields programs, and government agencies, B2H partners conducted environmental and health education, identified flood prone parcels, engaged health and faith-based organizations, and connected community leaders to Federal agencies for place-based projects. B2H was launched in 2018 to assist environmental justice communities in the aftermath of Hurricanes Florence and Michael. This session will describe Disaster B2H’s architecture, giving participants promising practices for engaging impacted populations, incorporating health considerations into disaster recovery and brownfields redevelopment, and hazard mitigation.
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