On the surface I’m supposed to be enjoying the view from my stay at the Westin overlooking the Mississippi River. As I eat my breakfast and prepare for the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice HBCU Climate Change Conference. The first thoughts that pop up in my mind were the tens of thousands of slaves who passed through on this very same passage of the Mississippi River in New Orleans.
Smart Cities around the world are finding innovative ways to improve the quality of life of their citizens by the use of technology, analytics and efficiency of operations. One challenge in American cities is the issue of “food deserts”. The USDA defines food deserts as areas that don’t have ready access to fresh healthy food, specifically residents who live more than a mile away from fresh produce. In New York City 75% of its population are able to walk within 5 minutes and have access fresh food. In Atlanta, Ga only 15% of the population is within a 5 minute walking distance of fresh produce.
“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” – Peter Druker
America what is going to be our 50 Year Energy Plan? Environmentalists have a plan, the Renewables sector has a plan, and utility companies have a plan juxtaposed with what the citizens want. We have to come together and make a plan; I don’t believe we can allow one constituency to unilaterally make a plan for everybody to abide by. Who should have the most input in the plan? Well the Millennial generation is the stakeholders who have the most to gain or lose by what ever plan we decide on. I believe it would be a grave mistake for the government; utilities and even the green movement to make a plan without considering what everyone wants and how every stakeholder will be affected from the least to the greatest. Since the millennial generation will be driving the ship soon let us consider what they want:
#BlackHistory Do you realize when they arrest a persons from the city (urban areas) they often after sentencing shipped to a rural prison (most are private prisons) in mostly white areas. Studies have shown African Americans are disproportionately arrested for crimes, get harsher penalties and serve longer prison terms. Now WATCH WHAT HAPPENS, that prisoner cannot vote BUT he now counts towards the voting block of that mostly white rural area because he is counted as part of the population according to the Census Bureau.
The nonviolent resister must often express his protest through noncooperation or boycotts, but noncooperation and boycotts are not ends themselves; they are merely means to awaken a sense of moral shame in the opponent. The end is redemption and reconciliation. The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness. —Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957
When you mention the word “Green” the first thought that may come to mind is money or the color. Yet more than ever “green” references a whole industry of renewable energy technologies, products and non-profits capitalizing on our need “to save the planet”. Climate change has everybody from the White House to local municipalities trying to better manage energy use. “Green” is synonymous with recycling, restoration and redeeming things that have gone to waste. Except in many instances “Green” does not mean necessarily restoring ravaged black communities. We can recycle bottles but not neighborhoods. We will let urban neighborhoods lay up and rot like nuclear waste in a dessert (food dessert). In a lot of ways the “Green” movement is like Christopher Columbus coming to America, there seems to be no regard for the people and environment who are already living in the land. The EPA gets “props” for attempting to roll out a new Clean Power Plan but black communities have been “catching hell and the high water (Hurricane Katrina)” for decades, with very little reciprocity from the EPA.
The four pillars of building community sustainability are economic, ecological, environmental and social justice. You cannot build a long term resilient sustainable community unless you address these areas holistically. What if you have clean air and still #iCantBreathe , today we are witnessing a lot of civil unrest in communities across America because of social injustices, specifically in regards to police brutality.