On Thursday October 29th I and my fellow classmates attended the TEDC talk in the Tishman auditorium on climate citizenship, environmental justice (EJ), and the clean power plan.
One of the major points of the discussion was on environmental justice communities, and the lack of support that lower income communities are receiving in our fight for global sustainability. The main goal of the EJ movement is to not only treat all people regardless of, ethnicity, national origin, or income equally, but to also have provide a platform that promotes equal involvement in either education or materials related to the environment.
A common theme that came up throughout the talks was how many of the lower income neighborhoods in an urban setting are plagued with either waste management or unclean power plants such as coal, trash burning, and other fossil fuel burning plants. As a result of this the occupants of the neighborhood experience health issues. In addition to health issues the fact that the power plant is there it reduces the value of the neighborhood, which in turn holds back its occupants from utilizing the property value in order to improve the area. Several of the speakers including Cecil Corbin-Mark think that because of these set backs a large portion of our society are unable to make a change in their life style.
This concept really bothered me. In a time where we are faced with a fork in the road of whether or not we should continue on the path of fossil fuels, or break off into the world of sustainability I believe that education and availability of materials for all social classes, regardless of race, income or nationality is incredibly important. Without making these tools available to all demographics then there is a huge part of our society that will not have access to the tools and materials to change their ways.
I believe that if we where to put tax payer’s money towards educational programs for the EJ communities across the economic board, and not only provide an education but also give people the skills to improve their lifestyles, and create more jobs such as the production and instillation of solar panels in urban areas. I also believe that is this shift would then create a change in the way that different social economic groups interact in that we there would be a collective goal of saving the planet.
At the end of the talk the panel opened to floor up to questions or comments. There was one audience member that referenced the civil rights movement, and the fact that it took the people to be fed up with the way society is structured and to act against it to make a change. I definitely agree that we need this sort of social revolution to ignite the population and to get them excited and motivated to live a greener life style.