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Pushing any legislation through the U.S. Congress is more difficult than most people realize. Pushing environmental legislation, specifically, is a Sisyphean task. Roughly 16,500 environmental protection bills have been introduced in Congress since 1973, yet only 1,200 bills have been signed and enacted. This got me thinking: there must be some pattern or insight behind what bills make it through the system.

Let’s take a step back to 8th grade social studies. Laws are introduced in the House of Representatives, where a Representative sponsors a bill. Senators can also collaborate with Representatives and sponsor legislation so that nearly identical bills…


Photo by Mockaroon on Unsplash

If you type “food deserts” into Medium’s image search, you’ll find pages of pictures like the one above. Looks delicious, but very different. Food deserts are actually quite hard to define. They refer to areas with limited access to grocery stores, supermarkets, or other sources of healthy and affordable food. Low access is often measured by distance to the nearest supermarket, paired with other indicators such as vehicle access and household income. They’re one of many indicators of socioeconomic injustice.

The purpose of this data product is to identify what metric(s) exactly define a food desert, examine how low access…

Janani Kalyan

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