Posts tagged environmentalism
Posts tagged environmentalism
How is re:loom weaving a better life?
re:loom is a program of Initiative for Affordable Housing (IAH), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in Decatur, Georgia. Founded in 1990 with one home and one homeless family, IAH’s mission is to provide permanent, affordable housing to homeless and low-income families in metro Atlanta. Our rigorous, holistic social services program empowers individuals to reach personal goals and achieve independence.
re:loom grew naturally from our work with adults who struggled to secure and maintain jobs. We help individuals address obstacles to employment through paid on-site job training and leadership opportunities. Weavers design and produce handmade products and lead a team of weavehouse volunteers. With a stable salary, 100% healthcare coverage, and opportunities to engage in the operation of the weavehouse, employees gain a financial foundation, leadership skills, and a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
With your help, re:loom will continue to support the IAH team in growing our positive impact on homelessness in Atlanta
(thinking about: houseless people’s rights, affordable housing, environmental justice, environmentalism, upcycle, recycle, woven arts, art as therapy, weaving as metaphor, i love weaving, weaving is an ancient art form, expression, people of color, creating, atl)
Querida amiga, primahermana de nuestra Madre Tierra, te invito a ser ecofeminista.
El término “ecofeminismo” es una nueva palabra para una sabiduría muy antigua; una sabiduría que duerme dentro de nuestros huesos. Se trata de un pausado pero seguro redescubrimiento de que no somos “dueños del universo” sino parte de un tejido cósmico igual que el cóndor o la abeja o el copihue. Todas hemos venido de la Madre Tierra y regresaremos a ella; formamos parte de un solo cuerpo viviente. Tenemos que despertar esta sabiduría, porque estamos dándonos cuenta de un creciente y generalizado dolor que viene tanto de nuestras células como de nuestra subconciencia gritándonos que estamos muy enfermos como especie. Algo está muy mal; no estamos sanos; nuestros suelos, nuestros ríos, nuestro aire, tampoco están sanos. La intuición de las ecofeministas es que este malestar es el resultado de que hemos olvidado nuestro parentensco con la Madre Tierra; hemos olvidado que somos parte de- y no algo ajeno a- la evolución cósmica. Estamos atrapadas en un sistema patriarcal que tiene como objetivo el dominio de todo- “el poder sobre”- sobre la naturaleza, la mujer, la gente de color, las otras especies. Pero hoy estamos despertando y dándonos cuenta de que esta sistema no sólo oprime a la mujer y daña al medio ambiente, sino que está trayendo consigo el ecocidio y nuestro suicidio como especie.”
Achieving Environmental Justice by
Building Healthy Communities Since 1988
West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WE ACT for Environmental Justice) is a Northern Manhattan community-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by assuring that people of color and/or low-income participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT is working to achieve this mission by accomplishing a set of clear Goals linked to our 8 indicators of a healthy community:
Elimination of ambient air pollutants emitted from transportation, housing, and other facilities, including small business sources.
Affordable, Equitable Transit
Access by residents to affordable, safe, clean, and reliable forms of public and alternative transportation regardless of age and ability.
Waste, Pests & Pesticides Reduction
The appropriate management of solid waste, pests and pesticides.
Toxic Free Products
Access to and use of consumer products that do not contain chemicals at levels harmful to human health.
Good Food in Schools
Safe, fresh, and nutritious school meals that are prepared in schools in a quality environment, that kids eat and parents support, to contribute to the reduction of childhood obesity.
Sustainable Land Use
Promoting land use planning and zoning policies that support community health and wellness.
Open & Green Space
The creation and use of unenclosed areas connecting the built and natural environments and providing opportunities for recreation, reflection and interactions with nature.
Healthy Indoor Environments
Reduced exposure to indoor pollutants in residences, workplaces and schools.
i have a lot of memories of being indoors and outdoors. i remember climbing trees in harare and planting maize for the summer. i remember sitting as a teenager on sidewalks and playing in the sprinklers of inwood park in nyc to keep cool in the sticky heat. i remember my grandfather telling me stories of the kkk and taking over the farm my great grannie had been sharecropping in virignia since the days our people were fighting enslavement. visiting my father’s family in rural kenya for the first time since he was exiled and eating small sweet bananas and sleeping under mosquito nets, unlike all my cousins who new how to live in their home without them. hearing story of ovens dug into the ground by friends’ relatives in méxico. spritzing at plants in harlem apartments. there are many many reasons why us Afro folk have had a tenuous relationship with the land: being taken away from our homeland on this continent or that; being forced to work on the land, land stolen from Brown folk, to benefit the whites; being commodified just as land was within oppressive capitalist sytems; being denied the fruit of our labours on the land, or time to walk leisurely; fleeing and fearing our footprints in the soil; and also dreaming of flying home; singing in the fields; sharing ancient afroknowledges of cultivating rice, being part of growth; learning from Brown folk of the berries and moons. understanding the problematic connections made by the euroworldview- we are not more natural or animal. this is us exploring that Black people overstand ancient and deep meaning, both metaphysical and material, within the earth. the toxic worldview constructs lies of dichotomies and divisions: human/nature, white/Black, man/woman, intelligence/animal brutishness, beauty/ugliness, to maintain toxicity and domination. in Brown and Black worldviews there is the radical to-the-root-to-the-stars understanding of the interconnectedness of all beings and elements-creating new spaces in which the non human such as plants, air, stars, and all humans are valued and important.
This book is the first extensive survey of African-American gardening traditions in the rural South.
Richard Westmacott has recovered valuable data for those interested in African-American material culture and the history of vernacular gardens…
Magdalena Cerda, the Tijuana representative for the Environmental Health Coalition, helped push the local government to place signs that prohibits trailers that serve the maquiladora industry from driving through residential areas in colonias Chilpancingo and Murúa in Tijuana. The semi-trucks often take a shortcut through residential communities to reach the industrial park. Diesel exhaust is associated with serious health risks, such as asthma, cancer and heart disease. Exposure to fine particles is associated with increased frequency of childhood illnesses and can also reduce lung function in children, according to the EPA. Tijuana, Jan. 12, 2012.
and i’m tired of how it is conveniently ignored that when the europeans came to the continents of now-called latin america, africa, asia, polynesia, wherever there were Black and Brown folk, they cried out that our ways of living, building, eating, dancing, were primitive, backwards and to continue to live in those traditional ways meant punishment, even by death. large family homes made of mud and cow dung, or those out of reeds and banana leaves, were all labeled inferior by the european worldview whose discourse relied on a nature (read Black and unhuman)/culture (read white and therefore human) dichotomy. And so trees were felled and wooden single family homes where built. (This is a vast understatement). Plant-based meals supplemented by an occasional animal kill was looked down upon by glutenous european lifestyle and industrial livestock farming introduced to feed the workers of the slave system-fed industrial revolution. seeing the world as a fabric of life, full of plants and animals as members with as much of a right to life as humans, was scoffed at. treating resources like water, the sun and the earth as beautiful in their own right and essential to human well-being was systematically suppressed. these ways of living and loving on this planet were silenced and oppressed and deemed primitive. ANNNND NOWWW white environmentalism celebrates people (and only those certain people who ‘choose’, that is have the privilege to not choose, but then do) who are knocking down their wooden houses and building adobe houses, using earth ovens, talking about deep ecology and the connectedness and inherent worth of all creatures and elements, as rach says “like it’s some new shit”. and they are “enlightened”!! green imperialism……
how is whiteness normalized in some of my classes? the unquestioned use of “we” plays a big role. an unspecified “we” is often procalimed in the conversations about the environmental perils with which all members of the planet are faced, and who and what to blame for them. i have always felt angered by this discourse and it is obvious to me that i feel so because this is a creative rendition of the colonial projects of our past and present: the negating of the African to create and reinforce the european perspective… which then becomes the unchallenged given aka hegemony. daily I hear whatever variation of: “we have gotten ourselves into this mess because of our laziness and consumptive behaviors. we need to change the way we are living to save the earth.” although these comments seem innocent and even inspirational to some of my peers (and professors?), they are far from it. putting the european capitalist people and system at center is an erasure of any and all ways of living that are not european. many life-ways have existed and many continue to, are being born, are being [re]claimed! not all people are living in earth-damaging ways!! it is important to specify who is “we”, because the hegemonic we is just not the universal given (i hate this neoliberal idea), it is racist, classist, sexist, euro-centric, etc to assume so. not only are the Black and Brown people who are living in their own ancestrally-informed ways ignored, they are then categroized by whiteness through the savior/saved dichotomy. who are the so-called primitive people who need saving along with the planet? and who will do the saving? hmm. the perils of the white man’s burden mentality is old news to many of us, yet so-called radical (white) environmentalists fail to analyze this form of thinking as such. the european colonialist worldview is pervasive and normalized. and that i can’t have a decent critically analytical conversation about it in my classes makes me ANGRY. and i remember audre lorde, and breathe.
the white capitalist industrial system is the dominant model for ‘development’. and its group members manage to further this exploitative agenda with their ‘green revolution’. can someone in my class please note that not all people in ‘developed’ nations such as the united states of amerikkka are partaking in the super exploitation of humans and non-human nature? are there groups that live mainly using public transportation, buying little, making and creating a lot, reusing almost all, living in dense close-knit communities and sharing resources? are they celebrated for it? why/who are they? it is necessary to specify which groups are causing the most damage and being honest would not allow for the continued denial that it is overwhelmingly the monied white groups “that have gotten us into this mess”. there would also be an acknowledgement that the burden of this mess is disproportionately carried by people of color, people living in poverty, and particularly women of these communities. yes i will say it is true that eurocentric capitalist folk need to change their ways of living and stop imposing them on people of color, in order to stop destroying the earth.
it would be fabulous to have mainstream environmentalism realize that people of color, people who have immigrated from another country, people living in poverty are actually those populations that use most public transportation and bicycles and walk, and for that reason among others, are living the most ‘eco-friendly lifestyle’.