Environmental Justice

An illustration of diverse hands reaching out to support the Earth.The impacts of climate change are not distributed equally. 

Minority, disabled, elderly, youth, and low-income populations are more at risk. Extreme weather events have the largest impact on those who are least prepared for disasters. Minority, disabled, elderly, youth, and low-income populations in the County are more susceptible to heat-related stress and illness and less likely to be able to recover from property damage, interruptions to employment or school, and the costs of relocation. Minority and low-income communities are often more exposed to climate hazards in general, such as living in areas with less vegetation and more impervious surfaces, which can contribute to flooding, and less tree cover, which has been linked to higher average temperatures. Though all climate hazards pose risks, extreme heat is especially important to monitor because it is more deadly than any other hazard, including flooding, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

Changes in our climate will not affect everyone in the same way. In Frederick County, an estimated 10.5% of the population is living with a disability, 14.8% is over the age of 65 years, and 5.7% lives below the poverty line.

Frederick County Government is cognizant of these challenges. As we work to address the impacts of climate change, we strive to ensure that the needs of all segments of our community are considered. From programs to help businesses adapt, to partnerships that improve access to our programs, to improvements in County infrastructure and operations, our goal is to build an inclusive and resilient community.  Sustainability is for everyone.

Environmental justice is 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 environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

To learn more about environmental justice and related issues, we encourage you to utilize the following online resources: