NRDC seeks to foster a more just and sustainable future—a future driven by social change that improves people’s lives, with clean air, clean water, and healthy communities for all. Through our new Environment, Equity & Justice Center, we are pursuing an integrated approach to addressing persistent and connected threats of environmental inequality, racial injustice, and socioeconomic insecurity. Our work is rooted in partnerships with frontline groups to advance community-driven solutions, to help build power in communities most harmed by inequities, and to push for long-lasting change. Ultimately, we believe this approach will foster a stronger, more diverse environmental movement and a safer, more just world.

Alexandra Bowman for NRDC

The center’s work hinges on three priorities:

  • Capacity-Building: Enhance NRDC’s understanding of equity and justice, and support the organization’s work with frontline partners to deepen relationships with communities; provide legal, policy, and scientific assistance; and build community power.
  • Partnerships: Advance community-driven solutions in partnership with frontline communities.
  • Policy: Integrate equity into our policy work by collaborating with domestic and international partners to create policies that address environmental, economic, and social inequities—and help address both the environmental justice and climate crises.



NRDC’s first chief equity and justice officer, Melissa Lin Perrella, believes the way to strengthen advocacy work is to prioritize community partners who are closest to the problem—and often closest to the solution.

NRDC At Work

We are working hard to put our values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice into practice—and we are committed. Here’s how we’re getting started.

In Conversation

Energy efficiency and social safety net advocate Khalil Shahyd explains why supporting affordable housing is intrinsic to the climate fight.


Cheryl Johnson and Peggy Salazar have been speaking out against pollution and environmental injustice for decades, but the city of Chicago sees their South Side neighborhoods as sacrifice zones. They are demanding change.


For close to a decade, the STAND-L.A. coalition has been calling on the city to stop extracting oil near homes and schools. Victory, at long last, is within reach.

Blog Post

Four community experts share their insights on how systemic racism has deprived low-income communities of color of access to parks and nature—and what they're doing to change that.

NRDC in Action

Khalil Shahyd had a hand in helping his hometown recover from Katrina, and now he advocates for climate resiliency on behalf of vulnerable communities nationwide.


The Renewable Rikers plan to reimagine the site of New York City’s notorious jail complex could bring green jobs, cleaner air, and community investment to the neighborhoods most harmed by mass incarceration.

Blog Post

A delegation from the Campaign for Healthier Solutions attended a Dollar General shareholder meeting to insist the company phase out toxic chemicals from its consumer products, source local produce, and better protect the health of communities.

Blog Post

Farmworkers have long dealt with unsafe working and living conditions, low wages and lack of job security, disparate levels of food insecurity, and vulnerable immigration statuses. But as they have done for decades, farmworkers are designing their own solutions.


An investigation by NRDC and our partners at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reveals repeated drinking water and wastewater violations at the notorious Parchman prison in Mississippi.

Blog Post

This marks a major step forward in dismantling the environmental racism that has plagued the neighborhood for decades.


The burden of air pollution in Houston, Texas is not evenly distributed, with glaring disparities along racial/ethnic and socioeconomic lines.