Addressing Environmental Justice Internally and with Our Clients
By Sherry Witt Science Engineer Program Manager
September 15th, 2021
President Biden’s Administration is actively championing environmental justice – the idea that our laws, policies, civic planning, product development and more all take into account fair access to resources and do not unintentionally cause harm to those who may live or work nearby.
The consequence of this added visibility to the topic is that new and important conversations are taking place across the federal government, within agencies and within organizations, like GDIT, that partner with them to deliver on some of our nation’s most critical missions.
At GDIT, these conversations are changing how we work and how we think about our work. It involves addressing injustice wherever it is and, in some cases, taking a hard look at the internal processes and procedures that may be unintentionally contributing to that injustice. For our part, it means asking how the mission we’re supporting benefits people? Who are they? And who are we overlooking? How do we improve equity and promote justice? That way of thinking impacts everything from design to decision-making and is sparking a new breed of innovation.
“Addressing environmental justice internally and with our clients and having conversations that are changing how we work and how we think about our work”
Science Engineer Program Manager
It’s been said that necessity is the mother of all invention, but can’t awareness contribute too? The environmental justice movement is deeply related and connected to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Just as DE&I conversations have resulted in more inclusivity in the workplace and a wider aperture from which to solve problems, we firmly believe environmental justice can do the same.
That’s why today we are helping our clients lean into their own environmental justice conversations and, in some cases, helping them navigate new terrain. When we improve equity and break down barriers, we promote justice by ensuring our processes are fair, and that our resources are distributed fairly, allowing everyone the opportunity to thrive.
This shift has been particularly encouraging to watch on projects with our U.S. Environmental Protection Agency customer. Of course, the teams there are conditioned to think about the environment and its resources, but the justice component of “environmental justice” is critically important, too. In our support to EPA’s Sustainable and Healthy Communities program, we directly engaged the community to seek input on public investments in the urban environment to promote equity in ecosystem services.
Something else we know: We are stronger together when we tackle solutions of any sort, together. Environmental justice is no exception. Issues like access to resources or injustices caused by the environment deserve our attention and our action. This is why we are continuing our conversation internally at GDIT and helping customers do the same.