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Greening the Ghetto

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Alicia Mallet

ENGL 1301

Professor Olson

1 April 2018

Greening the Ghetto

        The issue raised by Majora Carter in this TED is an emotional and fantastic talk about “Greening the Ghetto.” It’s detailing her fight for the justice of the environment, and has also touched issues regarding her efforts as the director of the sustainability of the South Bronx, New York area. According to Joanna, Francese, and Passaro, it is worth it to note that the climatic damage has been done by human activities, and this is what impacts the climate to a certain degree; hence affecting all life (21). The presence of floods, droughts as well as extreme conditions of cold and heat are a result of global warming.  Global warming is very closely linked to the emission of gas in greenhouses.  Some countries or regions in the United States are experiencing the disastrous effects of climatic change, while others are still at liberty of experiencing inconvenient moments.  Arguably, this is a clear information that the environment needs to be conserved by all means. Not only would bettering the South Bronx help out its own people, it would do some good to the surrounding areas as well.  

This then means that just as the sustainable development is important to Carter, it should be important to everyone else living in this universe as well.  When the environment is not stable, in that natural calamities are hitting everyone everywhere, people will lead a very poor and unhealthy life.  Perhaps, this was one of the main concerns of Carter. The truth is that the environment is meant to sustain the livelihood of people, but if it is being destructed in a more aggressive way, it will not maintain its productivity as expected (Joanna, Francese, and Passaro 37).  Due to poverty as well as racial issues and factors in the city, Carter was overwhelmed and thus began her fight against this situation.  Considering issues such as: South Bronx being a host for primarily all black citizens, a home for two sewage systems, hosting four electric power plants, and being the dumping site for the borough wastes and New York’s commercial wastes; there was a huge need to fight for its purification. All of these things are crucially hazardous to a community, and Carter saw that things needed to be changed.  A city or town that has parks and gardens can cause all difference in decreasing issues having to do with health. They could also have a positive outcome when it comes to social upheaval.  That is why, in the TED talk, Carter was able to address the importance of creating green spaces in the cities. She argues that this can change the entire community’s lives, as well as improve the city’s standards of living (Carter 1).  That means, from poverty, health issues, and the general safety of individuals, the best way to ensure this is by the route of going green. For those reasons alone is why I believe that Carter’s talk is very much important.

In my opinion, the data provided is very much true.  Based on the outsources, such as Joanna, Francese, and Passaro, it is worth agreeing that green spaces help in controlling the wellbeing and health of the urban spaces (41). Notably, these authors argue that green spaces negate the urban heating, attenuates the storm waters, and also can help in offsetting the greenhouse gases.  If that is not enough facts for you, in Carter’s TED talk, she tells us that at times, green spaces usually have direct health benefits to the residents. This can be done by giving or offering the urban residents physical activities as well as social interaction. These two simple gestures allow for the restoration of psychological standards of the residents (Azapagic and Hamerton 45).

Previously, argues Carter, many have concentrated on the characteristics of the urban green spaces.  They have argued that green spaces are likely to positively influence the accessibility and the use of facilities, as well as the security levels of the city.  Literally, this building a causal relationship between the people and the city. However, in reality, this relationship can be very multifactorial and complex.  The secret here is that the relationship between the city and its dwellers is more of the functionality of the green spaces, which creates a good socio-cultural activity, and not the characters of the cities. This is what translates to reported benefits of a city.  It is true from TED’s speech that there are challenges such as economic considerations, urban planning, as well as market forces.  However, the urban planning in inevitable. This is so because it’s what will match the residents with their needed health benefits, with most their needs, and also with the functionality of the urban green space.  In other words, the data in which Carter gave in her speech is accurate to the extent that it proves that apart from the obvious operational power of a city; at least the green environment should be in place so as to ensure ecological balance. If that is not enough, it is worth noting that many environmental activities, as argued by Pugh, support the green environment issue (71).  They claim that life is supported by the green vegetations; and thus if people want to get healthy, or live a happy life socially, then they ought to ensure that they value the green nature of the environment.  “Everyone wants to live a healthy life, one which is free from diseases,” (Pugh 124). One priority to this is not richness, but a healthy environment. With that being said, it is worth noting that close to all environmentalists’ demands, they support the idea of Carter’s fight for a greener environment.

The TED talk claims that in an environment where the majority of people are poor and are then submerged by those who are more powerful, and against them, it will be automatic that they will easily face problems. According to the illustrations by Carter, the environment is always sustained by people who have an influence, and are determined to work as per the capacities of their powers. For instance, politicians can easily control the environment because they have the powers to influence. For a community like the South Bronx area, people who are of color and poor, from the description of the TED speaker, they become very vulnerable. This is why the area seems to have become nothing more than a dumping site.  As such, they are likely to face problems of a polluted environment because they do not have the funds, or power to control and maintain the environment in the first place.  This being the case, it is agreeable that this environment is vulnerable, and that the predictions can come true just as the speaker affirms.

Solutions to this problem are as simple as investing, planning, stopping pollution, and to stop propelling pollution. There should be the building of a green movement to provide the community with opportunities to be active. This could be done by building green related plants. Training people from the community to understand the need for green could also be a huge factor in helping.  Also, all the stakeholders could come together to give land. The land would be used for the developmental use of solar power to interact with the environment; so as to reward the land. There should also be job sustainability and training. These would all come from investors who are ready to help to fund the green plant project.  South Bronx has more people of color and is neglected so the best way is for the government to start considering them. Too many times people of color are thrown to the side and not given a second thought.  Triple bottom line, the economy has the potential to offer the community, the government, and the developers brighter days.  The locals should benefit from this, which would then make the developers and the government at large benefit as well.  In this regard, the green movement will have helped everyone from governmental level, to the community.  As such, the city should be preserved so as to help maintain the lives of the people living there.   What is needed, according to Carter, is community or city development, since everyone is responsible for the future they create.  

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