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In this lesson, we explore the inequity that exists in environmental health and nature because of changes we, humans, have made in our environment. Typically, people who have access to nature are generally healthier and have reduced incidences of respiratory illnesses (e.g., asthma), decreased blood pressure, and decreased chance of depression. Unfortunately, highly urbanized areas have higher impervious surfaces and less greenspace leading to higher temperatures and reduced opportunities for outdoor health benefits often affecting minority and low-income communities. These communities are also impacted by redlining which is the systematic denial of various goods or services (typically financial) to residents of certain areas based on their race or ethnicity. Redlined zones, historically, were areas that were outlined ranging from letters A being “better” to D being “worse” and were generally associated with specific socio-economic groups. The module’s main activity focuses on redlining and environmental health, which is meant to emphasize the differences in access to nature based upon where people live. The students utilized a map with information on redlined zones in various U.S. cities. The map also shows percentage of tree cover, race, poverty level, and land surface temperature within the zones. Using this map, each student group will analyze their assigned city to see how these factors influence a person’s access to nature (i.e., green spaces such as green belts, parks, etc.) and to determine emerging patterns related to greenspaces, tree cover, minority population, median house value, and impervious surface. Students will witness the historical practice of redlining and its lingering effects of environmental (in)justice that affects our minority communities through mapping, predictions, reading, and discussion.

This resource was developed with support from the National Science Foundation.
Associated files
Resource Group LD-FMN
Resource Group Link
Primary or BEN resource type
Secondary resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
General Biology Competencies
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords environmental justice, redlining, environmental health
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Category
Pedagogical Use Description For use in a general education course focusing on the environment and human impacts. Students include biology majors and non-majors at different levels.
Aggregation Level
Full Name of Primary Author Janel L. Ortiz
Primary Author Affiliation Center for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Primary Author email
Added By Id
  • janelortiz
Rights None
Review type
Drought and Water Ecosystem Services Collection Off
Conservation Targets Under Global Change Collection Off
Big Data Collection Off
Editors Choice No
Resource Status
Date Of Record Submission 0000-00-00
I Agree to EcoEdDL's Copyright Policy & Terms of Use No
Date Of Record Release 2022-10-24 13:29:59
Last Modified By Id
  • tmourad
Date Last Modified 2023-10-13 10:54:09
Release Flag Published

Resource Comments

Subject: Comment On: Redlining and Environmental Justice
Posted By: burtonrs
Date Posted: 2023-02-06 11:42:17
I'm excited to try this. Some notes: It would be helpful if the student instructions could be separated from the instructor materials. The file can't be edited, so maybe they could be separate files. Some of the course-specific info could be removed from the PPTS (week 8, Canvas, etc.)