A goal of Healthy People 2020 is to promote health for all through a healthy environment. The HP2020 movement states that “maintaining a healthy environment is central to increasing quality of life and years of healthy life,” and cite data from the World Health Organization that, “globally, nearly 25 percent of all deaths and the total disease burden can be attributed to environmental factors.”
What Do We Mean by Environment?
The term “environment” has different meanings and ideas surrounding it. To some, climate change, pollution, and water quality encompass those issues. To others, the built environment we have created for ourselves fits under this umbrella as well.
At Community Commons, we see both natural and built environment as important parts of the same issue and treat them equally. We support this vision of environmental health as part of the Healthy Communities Movement by sharing environmental data, hosting a channel dedicated to environmental issues, and featuring stories and opinions related environmental causes. Here are five cool things you can do with environmental data on the Commons.
1. Visit the Environment Channel
As one of the six Commons channels, this is the place to quickly find environment data, maps, reports, and content. We encourage you to explore!
2. Dive Into Environment Data
With thousands of data layers from respected sources, Community Commons has one of the most unique public-use data engines available free to anyone. To find data, visit our Map Room to browse or search data or go straight to our data list. Search key words like pollution, water, built, or climate. Or search data sources such as Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Transportation, or Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The National Transportation Atlas Database is an excellent source of both natural and built environment data. We have that data available to you in our interactive map space that lets you add other community data or view multiple areas with the same data layers. We’ve highlighted ways you can use that data to encourage policy change here.
3. Make Environment Maps
The Map Gallery has over 1,800 user maps, but when accessed through the Environment channel, the focus is narrowed to just those tagged or titled with environmental issues. Visit our Environment Map Gallery now or check out a few examples below of what maps are there.
4. Create Environment Reports
Our Community Health Needs Assessment physical environment report gives you data tables and visualizations for one or more counties for every state in the US. It’s as easy as clicking on the drop-down menus.
Not all environmental data can be found in our CHNA reports, but you can access data tables within the data by following these steps.
5. Read Environment Features
Whether you’re interested in how to create better neighborhoods, learn more about watershed protection, ensure equity when it comes to environmental justice issues, or ensure children have a safe place to play, our environment features are carefully curated and full of maps and data that illustrate how to bring data visualization to your change efforts.
Would you like to contribute to the discussion? Start by creating some maps for the Map Gallery and post a few questions with them. Or maybe create and download an environment report for your community. Show it around and get some feedback. Did you learn anything or did it raise new questions? Want to write about it? Contact us for guidelines on how to write a Guest Voice. The Commons is here for everyone. It’s time to get ideas, lessons, and experiences pulled together so we can collaborate with, learn from, and make change alongside each other. You in?