Diversity

Commentary, Diversity, Environmental Justice / 03.01.2010

It’s hard to believe. The Joy Trip Project just turned over its first full year of production. The podcast, blog and photo stream posted to the Internet one year ago this week. And after 12 solid months of experimentation, hand wringing and soul searching the JTP is slowly emerging as a recognizable voice in the social media mainstream. And as the feed sets out its second lap around the sun the JTP is moving forward with a profound sense of purpose and a worthwhile new mission.
Diversity, Interview, Podcast / 11.12.2009

MajoraCarter_001

An interview with urban

revitalization strategist Majora Carter

JTP: Delegates from about 190 countries are gathering over the next two weeks at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Although this is a landmark event, the largest meeting ever to discuss the environmental future of our planet. I’m a little concerned that we may not be talking about the most important issues. The other night on NPR David Kestenbaum reported on the first day of the conference. In his report on All Things Considered he said everyone pretty much agrees that we have to do something about climate change. But how I see it where the problem lies is that the delegates also seem to share the same disagreements NPR: In fact most of the disagreements, they’re all about money. Developing countries like Bolivia are arguing “Hey The global warming problem? you in the developed world made it. So to solve it you’re going to have to give us money to adapt and to keep our emissions down as we grow. JTP: The industrial growth that caused the climate change crisis in the first place will apparently continue. You see it seems that the Copenhagen delegates are really only arguing about who gets to continue to pollute the atmosphere with carbon gas emissions and how much. The conversation so far seems to be relegated to trading carbon credits for cash so the developing world can continue to build factories and produce consumer goods. But at what cost? What about the environment? And what about millions of disenfranchised people in the U.S. and around the world that will be most directly impacted as our planet’s climate continues to change in the wake of human progress? I won’t be attending the conference in Copenhagen. But a few weeks ago I did attend the Breaking the Color Barrier to the Great Outdoors conference in Atlanta. A few hundred African American Environmentalist gathered to talk among other things about the role people of color can play in protecting the natural world. There I met Majora Carter, the 2005 winner of the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant. She received $500,000 to developed her ideas on creating sustainable urban communities. And while we didn’t talk about Copenhagen in particular Carter has a rather unique perspective how best to curb some of the social effects of Climate Change. Carter: The McArthur Foundation dubbed me an urban revitalization strategist. Which I love, because of the work that I did around pioneering one of the first green jobs training systems in the country, really doing community based, led project development in one of the poorest congressional districts in the country that’s also one of the most environmentally challenged. And the idea was that you can do development that met both the environmental as well as economic needs of a very poor communities and give them the tools they need to enjoy it and be a part of its development. JTP: The environmental issues that our planet faces aren’t limited to carbon emissions. Though green houses gases are indeed the primary cause of global warming it’s the institutions and practices of human behavior that create them. Carter believes that we need to develop community based initiatives that produce green jobs and allow ordinary people take an active part in the cessation carbon emitting industries.     In order to make lasting change in the fight again climate change we have to rethink how we develop and live in our urban centers. And for many communities around world that’s going to mean taking a hard look at issues of social justice, how we treat the urban poor as well as racial and ethnic minorities. I’m James Mills and you’re listening to The Joy Trip Project.
Commentary, Diversity / 26.11.2009

h   This video came across my desk this morning. Here is another wonderful example of modern media that would be hilarious if not for its painfully tragic truth. Blair Underwood does an amazing job of illustrating a social phenomenon that I've experience through much of my personal and professional life. Anyone who spends time recreating outdoors will likely notice the conspicuous absences of minorities, blacks, Latinos, Asians, Pacific Islanders take your pick. People of color are seldom seen hiking, climbing, skiing,  bird watching, whatever. The reasons why are numerous, but...

Diversity, Environmental Justice, National Parks, Outdoor Recreation, Podcast, Yosemite / 26.09.2009

Back in January of 2009 I had the pleasure of speaking to Ken Burns. He sat with me for an interview about his documentary film "The National Parks: America's Best Idea." A program that first aired last year on PBS television stations nation wide this five-part series reveals in stunning detail some amazing historical facts. But what came out of that conversation was an awareness for the role people of color played in the creation of my favorite wild and scenic places.

Commentary, Diversity / 26.09.2009

Pity all National Park Service, Nature Conservancy or US Fish & Wildlife conferences don't conclude with a massive bar tab and a soul train line at one in morning. The new generation of environmental activists is dynamic, diverse and determined to breath fresh energy into the preservation of our wild and scenic places. Who says they can't have a good time while they're at it? Photo by James Edward Mills See the unfolding photostream at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nwsr8th/sets/72157622325056863/...

Commentary, Diversity / 25.09.2009

Carolyn Finney In the middle of the last century, Carolyn Finney grew up on a wooded estate in Manhattan. Though not a child of privilege, this professor of geography at the University of California at Berkeley recalls fond memories exploring the wild places on the property her father managed for a wealthy landowner. As the only African-American family in this affluent community Finney also remembers feeling less than welcome in this setting surrounded by nature. “It was not natural for us to be there,” she said. As the keynote speaker in the second day of programs during the “Breaking the Color Barrier to the Great Outdoors” conference in Atlanta, Finney shared her memories of a life in wilderness tainted by the racially motivated injustices of our past. “Those memories continue today,” she said. “And for a lot of people memory is truth.”