Today marks the 9th anniversary of the tragedy that is Hurricane Katrina which devastated the lower 9th ward area. The picture above is a view from the exact area where the levee broke which flooded the lower 9th ward. I went there as a part of a consortium of HBCUs, hosted by Dillard University’s Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and Texas Southern University Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs. The conference serves as a call-to-action for students and faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to become engaged in the conversation around climate change and environmental justice. What we were shown was how Hurricane Katrina was a man-made disaster in the making by years of disregard for the environment as well as the ecological systems in the area.
When we look at the photo of the protesters in Ferguson, Missouri with the military grade gas masks on. We might think they are in some post-apocalyptic world where the air quality is completely toxic. On the surface when we look at the situation in Ferguson, we may only see the police brutality and the vestiges of age old racism. Yet when we think about environmental justice in the framework of social justice, ecological justice and economic justice as well, we should see the citizens of Ferguson like most urban communities are facing attacks from all sides. In order to deal with the value of life in black and brown communities we must look at the issues holistically.
“Polluted sludge, contaminated water on rise”, As much as we are optimistic about the promise of “Clean Energy” from solar power, it is disconcerting to realize the manufacturing process of solar energy is producing pollutants. The EPA has to check into this as they push for a a new clean power plan. We cannot just be concerned about carbon emissions, we have to look at the entire manufacturing process. Our water supply already has enough challenges, we just had a very recent water security issue in Toledo Ohio. If the government is subsidizing the solar movement boom we must insure the whole process is clean from toxic waste and its subsequent dumping.
This past week we the EPA held hearings from across the country in Denver, Colorado, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and Atlanta, Georgia. After participating in the hearings in Atlanta, my thoughts on the EPA Clean Power Plan made me reflect on Genesis 2:15: “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”