All people deserve to live, work and play in healthy and safe places, and everyone should have a voice in management decisions that affect the future of their coastal communities.
If left to chance, it doesn’t always work that way. Twelve of our 20 coastal counties are losing population, and many communities struggle to secure environmentally compatible economic development, safeguard the health of their residents from pollution and obtain help recovering from natural disasters. The North Carolina Coastal Federation reaches out and tries to engage every person who has a stake in the work that we do to protect and restore the coast, because we’re more effective when a wide variety of people engage in our work. We strive to bring awareness to the environmental health struggles of communities that have been left out of the decision-making process or have little access to resources that help residents understand the issues at hand.
But we can do better, and we must make it a priority to reach communities, especially those that are typically underserved by environmental groups such as the federation. Our staff is responsible for consistently evaluating how to make our work and programs inclusive of all coastal residents and visitors.
Our mission is to work together for a healthy coast — and we can’t do that without engaging with diverse audiences and ensuring everyone has equal opportunities to learn and to be involved.
What is Environmental Justice?
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, environmental justice 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. The federation has this goal for all communities and persons in the coastal area. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn and work.