The Survey: Yes, We Need Help
As part of the environmental justice needs assessment, HEC partnered with local organizations including the Calumet Project and NAACP to circulate an environmental justice survey to communities in the Region.
Over 300 surveys were collected. The results are summarized in Part III of the report.
The survey results support two general conclusions:
- At present, the Region’s citizens do not have access to environmental justice (defined by the EPA as “fair treatment and meaningful involvement” in environmental matters)
- The Region’s citizens have a clear understanding of the tools they need in order to achieve environmental justice.
The average respondent identified at least three environmental issues in their neighborhood. The top problems included air pollution, sewer overflows, and garbage dumps.
Many were unsure of who to contact or what to do in order to address these problems. Nonetheless, more than two in three had taken some action to try to address environmental problems in their community. But even among those who took such action, only one in five reported having any success at all.
Across the board, respondents highlighted three key barriers in making their voices heard effectively: lack of understanding, lack of trust in the system, and lack of financial resources.
Specifically, respondents felt that their greatest needs were:
1) education on environmental issues,
2) access to information on environmental issues, and
3) access to experts in the legal, technical, health and organizing fields.
See the link below for a ZIP file of our complete data in Excel format.