TED Talk Video: Majora Carter Fights For Environmental Justice

Majora Carter Fights For Environmental Justice

Alone [Photo by Kerekes János Csongor] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Majora Carter has made it her business to use environmental justice as a social and economic solution to poverty, or as she puts it, to “green the ghetto.”

Majora grew up in the South Bronx in NYC, a neighborhood where joblessness and environmentally borne health problems keep many people fro realizing their potential. She moved back to this neighborhood in the late ’90s in order to afford grad school, and it turned out to be the best move of her life.

After being away for several years she was able to see the area with new eyes, and was able to see how she could improve it. At that time the city and state governments were attempting to concentrate polluting facilities in poor neighborhoods like the South Bronx. Majora helped to organize people and organizations to shift those policies toward positive green economic development, and she later founded Sustainable South Bronx, a nonprofit corporation.

Venezia. Ghetto novo [Photo by Zingaro. I am a gipsy too.] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

TED Talk By Majora Carter on Making the Ghetto Green

A TED Talk by Majora Carter on making the ghetto green details her fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx. It’s often said that a real sustainability policy agenda is not feasible in large, urban areas like New York City. But Carter points out this is because most of the people in the public and private sector with the decision-making power don’t feel the immediate threat from the problems in the ghettos.

In her fight to stop polluting facilities from being located in the South Bronx, she realized that more was needed than just to put a stop to the new construction. The area needed to be revitalized, and so she garnered as much support as possible to make the Hunts Point Riverside Park the first waterfront park in the South Bronx in more than 60 years. Her group leveraged $10,000 in seed grant capital into a three million dollar park.