Published since 1959 by Resources for the Future
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Fall 2023  /  Magazine Issues

Issue 213: Centering Equity and Justice in Environmental Policy

A Note from RFF’s President about Resources issue 213:

Researchers, policymakers, and communities may not agree on everything, but the past several years have made clear that our commitment to equity and to inclusive processes is integral to enabling a healthy environment and thriving economy. In this issue of Resources, we feature scholars, leaders, and organizations who all are working to make progress on the enormous opportunities and challenges in this space.

At an organizational level, Resources for the Future (RFF) has been on its own journey to integrate greater attention to equity and more diverse engagement into our research agenda and our organizational operations. Our external impact has a much stronger foundation with internal improvements, and we also recognize that this is hard and ongoing work that requires vigilance in a constantly changing world, as envisioned in RFF’s commitment to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive future.

At the level of national policy, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 targets billions of dollars in support of the goals of the Biden administration’s Justice40 Initiative, which calls for 40 percent of the benefits of certain federal investments to accrue to disadvantaged communities. At RFF, we think and act on these efforts most often in the context of our Environmental Justice Initiative, which aims to inform decisionmaking so that historically underserved and marginalized communities will see equitable environmental benefits.

And we hope to do things right. We’re still in the early stages of these efforts, and we’ll need to do plenty of work to make equity more central in our research and the policy outcomes from that research. We’ll make mistakes along the way, fall short, and feel uncomfortable—all of which we can expect. Without foisting responsibility onto our collaborators to teach us what we don’t know, we’ll plan to stay open to learning from these experiences and from our community colleagues in the process.

Thank you for being our partner on this journey.

Richard G. Newell
President and CEO, Resources for the Future