Environmental Justice


Community Driven Climate Resiliency & Mitigation Action Supported by Local Sustainable Businesses

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About The Project

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines Environmental Justice as “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.”

In 2022, SBR was granted funds from the EPA’s Small Grant Program to conduct work in Buffalo’s West Side, Black Rock and Riverside communities. With support from Erie County’s Department of Environment and Planning and West Side Promise Neighborhood, along with partnership with Black Rock Riverside Alliance, a series of events have been planned, involving the local business associations and owners and the community.

The educational events are intended to bring together the residential and business communities to learn about how the climate impacts their lives.

Our Community Climate Action Plan Showcase marked the conclusion of our year long project. Interested in learning more? Check out our final report!

Youth Art Showcase: The Climate and You

Thank you to all of the middle and high school students who submitted artwork to our Youth Climate Art Showcase. These artworks depict how climate and the environment have impacted their lives, as well as their feelings regarding our changing climate. The artwork was originally displayed at our Climate Action Showcase on March 18th. Check out all of our incredible submissions below and be sure not to miss the Below Zero video playlist!

Events Recap

Business and Community Meetings

In the fall of 2022, SBR coordinated four events inviting Erie County Sustainability Director, Josh Wilson, and Deputy Commissioner, Bonnie Lawrence, to provide a comprehensive review of how the upcoming Community Climate Action Plan (CCAP), and other associated shifts in policy, can impact both people and businesses in the community. Hosted by Black Rock Riverside Alliance, Big Big Table, and PUSH Buffalo, the CCAP overviews lead to meaningful conversations that provided Erie County with a better understanding of concerns and questions that businesses and residents have regarding these shifts in local policy. The events allowed for such concerns to be fully discussed and addressed in a substantial way. Thank you to all who attended and added to the conversations!

Climate Action Service Days

In the Fall of 2022, SBR held two Climate Action Service Days. SBR members joined community members in the beautification of two locations: George Washington Park in Black Rock, and two PUSH Buffalo-owned vacant lots in Buffalo’s West Side. For this project, we worked with PUSH Buffalo’s Blue Team to source locally genetic native plants, meaning these plants were harvested from plants native to this area. Together we were able to put over 150 plantings into the ground. These plants not only beautified these areas, but also supported the local ecosystems and provided a buffer between residential communities and highways.

Business Association Walk & Talk

In the Summer of 2022, we welcomed members and local business owners to two Walk & Talk events, one is Buffalo’s West Side out of 5Loaves Farmhouse, the other in Riverside out of Riverside Place. Talia Rodriguez from West Side Promise Neighborhood, and Maryann Kedron from Black Rock Riverside Alliance, introduced their respective communities and the unique challenges each faces. Topic matter experts were brought in to discuss initiatives to address current issues, including Ron Dixon from the City of Buffalo discussing Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED), and Brendan Seney from GO Buffalo Niagara, which pushed for more bike and pedestrian friendly infrastructure. We ended the walks with the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning introducing the upcoming Community Climate Action Plan and how it might directly and indirectly impact the community. Thank you to all who attended and made for such great events!

Community Climate Action Plan (CCAP) Showcase 

In the Spring of 2023, SBR teamed up with Erie County to promote their upcoming Community Climate Action Plan. A Climate Action Showcase was held at D’Youville DAC on Connecticut Street in Buffalo’s West Side. This event provided the opportunity to learn more about the CCAP, ask questions and voice concerns. It also acted as a wrap up event to SBR’s one year Environmental Justice project. Artwork submitted for our Youth Art Showcase: The Climate and You was also displayed at this event. You can see all of our amazing submissions in the video above.

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