Preparing for the Inevitable

In November 2019, DWEJ and other community leaders partnered with the University of Michigan to create a new online interactive planning tool, called the MI-Environmental Project. Our former CEO, Guy Williams, was a co-author. The goal of this research and mapping tool is “to identify the relative vulnerability of census tracts (a geographic region defined for the purpose of taking a census) within Michigan to cumulative environmental exposures”. The tool visualizes exposures that contribute to heat stress vulnerability from future climate change and defines a measure called the Heat Stress Index. 

This index averages three factors that can contribute to climate change-related heat stress: vulnerabilities among people (children, elderly people, people living with underlying conditions), places (“the built environment”) and projected temperatures. From there, the tool maps and compares the most vulnerable census tracts in Michigan to the least vulnerable ones. In short, the map measures which communities and locations are likely going to be most affected by climate change impacts within the state. 

Research investigator, Dr. Trish Koman (University of Michigan School of Public Health), said: “Heat stress vulnerability is something that we can plan for.”The tool was made to help guide policymakers and community organizations as they tackle the climate change challenge.”    

Hear an interview with Dr. Koman discussing the project.

Explore the tool at MI-Environmental Project

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