This the fifth episode of Ashley Ahearn’s new podcast, terrestrial: exploring the choices we make in a world we have changed. You can join our Facebook group and subscribe to the podcast to hear all our full episodes.
The Trump administration has proposed cutting the EPA’s budget by 30 percent. What does that mean for polluted communities in the U.S.?
The effects of pollution and climate change don’t affect us all equally. Those hit hardest often belong to communities of color and are cash poor — what Majora Carter describes as “low status” communities. She’s an urban revitalization strategist who has focused on environmental justice throughout her career. Carter was raised in the South Bronx, a hub of urban blight.
She grew up, went to college and returned to New York for grad school — right as the government was about to turn part of her community into a dumping ground.
“Even though the Bronx handled about 40 percent of the city’s commercial waste and 100 percent of its own waste, we were about to handle possibly another 40 percent of the city’s commercial waste,” she recalled. “It was just like, ‘Are you crazy?’”
She decided to stay and resist.
“I looked at that and thought, wow, this is happening because we happen to be a low income community of color,” she said.
The community came together — and got the city to build a park instead of the waste facility.
But, Carter said, this is happening all over this country, and we as a society aren’t talking about it enough.
“We do need to have white people saying this is a problem because it’s true,” she said. “I’m often the angry black woman, but all I’m literally saying is, like, this doesn’t happen in white neighborhoods.”
In this episode of terrestrial, we’re going to hear a story from Birmingham, Alabama, where another community has struggled with pollution for almost a century.
Birmingham is an old steel manufacturing town, and it’s been struggling with environmental…