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Innovating Environmental Justice: Tech For Impact In Black Communities

March 6, 2024

Monica Sanders, Forbes.com, February 28, 2024

Society has to confront a multitude of existential challenges all at once: political instability, the digital divide, climate and environmental justice. Historically, Black communities have been left out of the resource race in all of these challenges, particularly when remedying environmental justice and access to technology. That does not mean innovation cannot take place in Black communities. When deployed thoughtfully and not as a hack, technology can play and pivotal role in advancing environmental justice. We can and should showcase innovative solutions led by Black innovators.

Bridging The Digital Communications Divide

The digital divide poses a significant barrier to environmental justice for Black communities. Limited access to high-speed internet, digital devices, and technological literacy hinders participation in environmental decision-making and access to vital information. Despite the challenges posed by the digital divide, Black leaders are harnessing technology to address environmental issues in their communities creatively. For example, platforms like “Black Millennials for Flint” utilize social media and digital tools to raise awareness about environmental injustices and mobilize support for clean water initiatives. Others, like the Black Hive not only organize communicators in areas with access to technology and information to raise awareness of the plight of divested communities, but they work to provide resources to those areas. One role technology and the tech industry more broadly, can help advance environmental justice is by facilitating access and communications tools.

Where Tech Meets Justice

Then there are the more traditional uses of tech, from mobile apps that monitor air quality to community-driven mapping projects, innovative solutions are emerging from Black communities and leaders.

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