Embracing Equity and Environmental Justice

Across our nation, the health and wealth of Black, Indigenous and other people of color are being impacted by fossil fuel pollution — which is also driving the climate crisis.

Most of these polluting facilities are disproportionately located in communities of color, in lower-income communities and on Indigenous lands. The 2.4 million miles of pipeline crisscrossing our nation travel through Indigenous and farm country, ending up on the Gulf Coast, where vulnerable Americans often have to bear the burdens of toxic exposures.

Listening to Frontline Communities

The COVID-19 crisis has only exacerbated the health and environmental challenges facing frontline communities and communities of color. To elevate and empower the voices of those most at risk, the National Wildlife Federation held a series of environmental justice roundtable conversations with 119 frontline community leaders, elected officials and other key experts. Through these discussions, the Federation heard from on-the-ground advocates and provided a forum for real conversations about the solutions people need and how to get there. The roundtable discussions culminated in a national town hall event in September that delved into the solutions Black, Indigenous and other people of color need now more than ever.

Tribal Partnerships

To help restore wild buffalo, which were nearly exterminated a century ago, the National Wildlife Federation’s Tribal Partnerships program has been working in close partnership with tribal governments for two decades to bring buffalo home to tribal lands. This effort has restored more than 350 bison to those lands in recent years, ensuring tribal connections to bison for generations to come. Bringing bison back revitalizes landscapes, habitat and wildlife diversity while reestablishing Native Americans’ cultural and historic connections to buffalo. To help realize a vision of restoring tens of thousands of bison on millions of acres of tribal lands, the National Wildlife Federation will continue pushing for legislation such as the bipartisan Indian Buffalo Management Act.

Detroit Leadership Program

To support the next generation, the National Wildlife Federation is helping urban youth forge relationships with nature. Through the Great Lakes Regional Center’s Detroit Leadership and Environmental Education Program, the Federation bridges the divide between urban communities and conservation via outdoor environmental curricula to help high school students connect with nature, build a more sustainable community and prepare for future success. By engaging students and their families in outdoor activities and community-based sustainability projects—and connecting youth to job and skills development opportunities—the Federation simultaneously helps foster more-resilient ecological and human communities and supports the next generation of leaders.