Enhancing Community Well-being Through Access to Nature: A Successful Roundtable with the White House CEQ

Enhancing Community Well-being Through Access to Nature: A Successful Roundtable with the White House CEQ

On June 27, we had the honor of convening a significant roundtable discussion at the beautiful Rio Grande Nature Center State Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This event, held in collaboration with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), brought together a diverse group of participants, including Federal, state, and local agencies, Tribal organizations, and community groups. The focus of our discussion was on enhancing community well-being by increasing access to nature, especially for underserved communities.

The Importance of Access to Nature

Access to nature is not just a luxury; it is a vital component of community health and well-being. Parks, green spaces, and blue areas (like rivers and lakes) offer numerous benefits, including physical health improvements, mental health support, and environmental education opportunities. However, many communities, particularly those that are marginalized or overburdened, lack sufficient access to these natural spaces. This roundtable aimed to address these disparities and find ways to bring nature closer to those who need it most.

Key Discussions and Outcomes

The roundtable provided a platform for participants to share their insights and expertise on increasing access to nature. Key discussions included strategies for expanding parks and green spaces, the importance of community involvement in environmental stewardship, and ways to ensure that local efforts align with broader federal initiatives.

In November 2022, the White House CEQ and nine federal agencies signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Promoting Equitable Access to Nature in Nature-Deprived Communities, leading to the formation of the Nature in Communities Committee. This committee's ongoing work supports local leaders in accessing, expanding, stewarding, and conserving parks and green spaces. The Albuquerque roundtable was a critical part of this initiative, reinforcing the administration’s commitment to environmental justice and community engagement.

Special Thanks

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Chair Brenda Mallory of the CEQ for her leadership and vision. We are also grateful for the support and participation of the White House, particularly @POTUS, who has been a strong advocate for environmental justice and sustainability.

Moving Forward

This roundtable is part of the White House Campaign for Environmental Justice, which aims to meet communities where they are and better focus agency resources and attention on the needs of marginalized and overburdened populations. By working together, we can create a future where everyone has access to the healing and transformative power of nature.

We are excited about the progress made during this roundtable and look forward to continuing our efforts to enhance access to nature for all communities. Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to get involved in this vital work.

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