The primary goal of the Climate Equity Atlas is to build a platform for the collaborative identification, collection, and dissemination of information about the disproportionate harm of environmental injustice through the co-production of a series of accessible, interactive climate justice maps and graphics. Equity Atlases are a type of opportunity mapping used across the U.S. as data and policy tools for leaders and advocates to advance a more equitable community while helping citizens hold decision-makers accountable.

To build trust and long-term stewardship of the atlas, the tool must be created with the community and be driven by community-expressed needs. This co-production approach distinguishes the Equity Atlas from other data visualization platforms (e.g. CDC’s social vulnerability index) through its engagement of intended users in both the production and dissemination processes, which ensures that local knowledge triangulates technical expertise to create something deeply relevant to community concerns. This work will be used to raise awareness in equitable decision-making and to identify specific opportunities for equitable resilience planning, as disproportionate impact is a critical, yet underutilized, lens through which equitable coastal resilience planning must be understood.

The Climate Equity Atlas on the Eastern Shore is co-produced by the Environmental Resilience Institute, the Equity Center, the Virginia Coast Reserve Long-Term Ecological Research Program, and resident leaders with expertise living and working in the Eastern Shore. This tool will visually explore regional connections between systemic racism, environmental injustice, and the local disparate effects of climate change. The Atlas will serve as a dynamic, public-facing decision support tool for community and researcher exploration of the distribution of environmental hazard, exposure, and equity in the region based on factors identified as important to residents themselves.