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NASA Capacity Building Program Opens Environmental Justice Dialogue in Chicago
by Sydney Neugebauer
As we continue our Women’s History Month celebration, we would like to highlight Sr. Project Planner, Sydney Neugebauer, and her efforts on some of the NASA environmental justice activities she coordinated for the American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference this past December. The following is an article written by Sydney about her efforts!
The return of in-person conferences and meetings opens the door on new partnerships, providing the opportunity to connect over science and the communities impacted by our science. At the 2022 AGU Fall Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, members of NASA’s Capacity Building Program took this opportunity to engage with the scientific community and environmental justice practitioners in Chicago throughout the week.
NASA’s Equity and Environmental Justice (EJ) program kicked off in 2022, so the AGU fall meeting was an early opportunity to share the team’s work, get feedback from other scientists, and connect with local EJ leaders in Chicago. As the Coordination & Analysis Lead for the Capacity Building Program, I presented on NASA’s EJ work during a technical session entitled Geospatial Data Applications for Environmental Justice and organized a town hall to convene members of the scientific EJ community at AGU.
Later in the week, we had the opportunity to connect with EJ leaders in Chicago at Discovery Partners Institute, where we were hosted by one of the Equity and Environmental Justice PIs, Dr. Ashish Sharma. The meeting convened representatives from EPA Region 5, local mayors associations such as the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, local non-profits such as the Friends of the Chicago River and the Walder Foundation, the City of Chicago Health Department and local mayors, in addition the representatives from the scientific project team and NASA.
Over the next two years, the project team will develop a scalable, GIS-based urban toolkit on the web for EJ leaders in the region to co-identify extreme heat and air quality threats to health, equity, and crime to improve inputs into urban decision-making.