Thursday, July 28, 2011

A great definition of Environmental Justice

Guy Williams, our CEO/President, and I went on a field trip with Jessica Yorko (Lansing City Councilmember and Ingham County Environmental Justice Coordinator) and Sandy Svoboda (Metro Times writer) yesterday to do an environmental justice mini-tour and to visit our green jobs training program over at the Wayne County Community College Eastern campus.

I was amazed and happy about a few things:

1. Metro Times is writing a cover story about the NIEHS-EPA joint Environmental Justice conference that's coming to Detroit at the end of August (registration is free and open to the public)

2. Ingham County has an Environmental Justice Coordinator through the Health Department. WOW. The fact that Ingham County placed enough priority on environmental justice to fund such a position is awesome. (hint hint, Detroit)

Anyway, Ms. Yorko sent a followup email of thanks, and has at the bottom a great definition of environmental justice. Great because it's a positive vision of what's desired:

"Environmental justice is equitable access to environmental benefits and protections across different race, income and other forms of difference."

"Environmental justice is the right to a safe, healthy, productive, and sustainable environment, where "environment" is considered in its totality to include the ecological, physical, social, political, aesthetic, and economic environment. Environmental justice addresses the disproportionate environmental risks borne by low-income communities and communities of color resulting from poor housing stock, poor nutrition, lack of access to healthcare, unemployment, underemployment, and employment in the most hazardous jobs." - National Association of County and City Health Officials

I may start adding this to my email signature as well, to spread understanding of this totally sensible (everyone gets it once you explain it) but rather young movement.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Greater Detroit Transit-Oriented Development - Midtown Inc

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Upcoming Conferences

There are two upcoming conferences that might be right up your alley - if you are like us and interested in environmental justice and more vibrant communities.

First, the 2011 Environmental Justice Conference will be held right in our backyard at the Detroit Marriott from August 23rd to 26th. This conference has four tracks: building community and organizational capacity, multimedia, workforce development, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Sound like something you might be interested in? More information can be found HERE.

Second, the 11th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference will be held February 2-4, 2012, in San Diego, CA. Sounds like a good time of year to get into the sun and Smart Growth! This is a great opportunity to hear 100s of speakers share strategies and experiences. Topics will include growth management as well as equity and environmental justice issues. Interested? Find out more HERE.

Friday, July 1, 2011

"Land Ethic"

1. Hornbook Series text on land use law states that Minnesota legislature through its environmental legislation gave the land ethic of conservationist Aldo Leopold the force of law.

"All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. his instincts prompt him to compete for his place in the community, but his ethics prompt him also to cooperate (perhaps in order that there be a place to compete for). 

The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.

In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land community to plain member and a citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow members, and also respect for the community as such."

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac 203 (1949).