Skip to content

The Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative is a non-profit organization formed in 2015 dedicated to advancing the issue of environmental justice in Virginia. VEJC stands in support of 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 laws, regulations, and policies. In 2020, VEJC helped push for the Virginia Environmental Justice Act in the state legislature.

VEJC currently publishes geographic data central to their mission on their website, giving citizens, stakeholders, and political leaders the ability to visualize environmental justice data relevant to Virginians; to inform about the cumulative impacts of environmental injustices in Virginia; and to strengthen networks of advocacy for the prioritization of resources to affected communities. Data is essential to pinpoint pollution sources, as well as the human chronicle of environmental injustice. Maps expand data analysis and afford partners a state-wide lens towards remedy.

VEJC chose to migrate their geographic data to ArcGIS Online in order to publish their data in more interactive formats, including StoryMaps, stories from the community gathered using Survey123, and Dashboards. Volunteer Clio Marsh-Nikias from Quebec, Canada, helped prepare and migrate VEJC’s data to their new ArcGIS Online organization and built the framework of a new, comprehensive interactive mapping experience relevant to VAEJC’s mission. The new mapping experience is broken down into three parts.

Using data collected from federal, state, NGO, and other open-source locations, Volunteer Clio built a map to visualize the characteristics of the population of Virginia from an environmental justice perspective. By tracking factors like unemployment, heart disease, linguistic isolation, or asthma in the population alongside known environmental risk sources like ozone and diesel pollution, hazardous waste facilities, and Federal Cleanup Sites, VEJC can present a clear picture of who is at risk, from what source, and where that source is located.

VEJC was also interested in gathering community stories and testimonials in order to give their pursuit of environmental justice a more personal touch. Volunteer Clio built an ArcGIS StoryMap to capture these stories and allow users to see sources of environmental injustice in their own communities and learn about their effects on their neighbors. In the above example, users shared a testimony of living in the shadow of a massive shipyard and with the pollution and damage to the environment that it has brought.

Finally, VEJC wanted to gather personal stories from residents of Virginia who have been impacted by environmental injustice. Using a Survey123 form, visitors to VEJC’s website can submit their own testimonials to the StoryMap.

Project complete.

Back To Top