@MajoraCarter #AASHE2011 keynote

[notes from Majora Carter’s keynote talk at AASHE 2011 10/9/2011 – not a direct transcription, but the interesting bits for me]

Majora wasn’t expecting to be here, as she is a last minute replacement for the late Wangari Maathi. MC is spiritual – believes our ancestors are to guide us – they can inspire us to be better. [she’s very real and authentic – her talk doesn’t feel rehearsed]

“…sustainability will be barely even a word anymore because people just know how to live..” [thanks @Lhurleyes]

South Bronx used to be known as ‘Little Pittsburgh’ because of all the steel mills and heavy industry. After the steel mills closed the environmental impacts were institutionalized through the zoning for industry and Hunts Point became home to garbage transfer stations and other noxious industries.

[Shows ‘We live hear. We’re experts too!’ photo.]

Public health impacts of land use – asthma, diabetes, getting hit by a truck.

Columbia University study established definitive link between exposure to fossil fuel emissions to learning disabilities – so incarceration crisis is caused by pollution.

‘How do we see ourselves?’

Organized to protest solid waste facility catalyst to mobilize community. Show what they want to fight for. Story about dog dragging her to the water  and applied for grant for Bronx river restoration. Seeing the result was transformative how community could view itself. Seed grant became $3m grant from the city [applause line – same as at TED talk].

[Shows wedding photo] just celebrated 5th anniversary got married on the Bronx river at her park.

Got Federal funds to reduce transportation pollution via development of the South Bronx Greenway w/stormwater management and pedestrian infrx. $50m funding including $25m from ARRA Stimulus – under construction right now!

B.E.S.T. Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training – first encountered folks not fully accepting link between environment and economic opportunity.  Overcame generational barriers to employment, multi-generation welfare, ex-convicts, teenage moms, school dropouts. Empower them with personal fulfillment.

Green is more then granola Birkenstock hippies – MC started own businesses installing greenroofs [benefits of greenroofs – yadda yadda – if you are reading Infrascape Design you already know all this] – jobs that can’t be outsourced. Photo of roof of Majora’s house 2005. Her greenroof saved her from Hurricane Irene flooding. Also has greenroof on her HQ. [photo of hank the hawk]

Opportunity for jobs and reduces expensed for water treatment plants – [photo montage of google earth of her roof covering neighborhoods]

Confession – want’s smaller government (like tea party) – by creating jobs for the most expensive citizens (welfare, drug abusers, convicts). Continue reading