So I missed posting anything on Earth Day last week but I wanted to highlight a part of the Q conference that I was blessed to experience. We each had an opportunity to participate in what was called a Learning Journey. These were experiences throughout the city where we can learn how to engage culture. I was fortunate to journey with 50 other leaders to experience Sustainable South Bronx [SSBX], an environmental justice project created by Majora Carter to “Green the Ghetto. They’ve really made an impact in the community and address real needs. They’ve installed about 4 green roofs on buildings which has generated green collar jobs as well as providing a way to reduce the temperature below the roofs for residents which further reduce air condition needs. SSBX is one of the leaders of the green collar revolution.
When we arrived at Hunts Point we hiked up many flights of stairs to a roof that had been greened. Our guide explained how SSBX gave him a chance when no one else would because of his record. Now he loves horticulture and being green. He’s found a purpose for his life.
Apart from the green roofs the real impact has been Majora’s initial project, Hunts Point Riverside Park, the area’s first new park in 60 years. She was able get over $3 million in contributions and once where there was landfill is now two acres of green space for local residents to stroll, play and kayak on the water. The park is an amazing third place for the community.
What I find most exciting about SSBX is their ability to do something many others fail to do which is change culture and the way a community thinks. I was there with my friend Samuel Chez. We both grew up in Brooklyn in a different era (as if we were that old) and we were reminiscing about what it was like for us to grow up in the city. The thought of kids growing up in the ghetto having access to a park like this where they can learn to canoe left us both agreeing this is the real deal.
• Fermi Project / Q co-founder Jeff Shinabarger shares his experience
WALK THE GREEN LINE
MAJORA CARTER: 5 QUESTIONS
• Charles Lee also was with us in this learning journey shares his thoughts.
• Sustainable South Bronx [SSBX] official site
• Watch Majora Carter’s TED Presentation