Greening the Ghetto with Majora Carter

People often tell me that ecojustice is difficult to strive for--even when they recognize its importance--because it is hard to imagine.

We're used to keeping racism, classism, and ecology in pretty separate silos--especially that last one.  And who can blame them?  Funding structures, mission statements, and media have all kep these in separate categories.

However, these are not  separate silos for the lungs of a Latino family living next to a factory because they can't afford to live anywhere else.  These are not separate silos for the black family that can afford to eat healthily because they keep up their granddaddy's farm.

No matter how difficult it is for you to imagine ecojustice, I hope you find this video as refreshing as I did. it is a breath of fresh air to come across a voice like Majora Carter's.  Her vision of a green roofing company that employs people transitioning out of the justice system is literally genius (thus, her winning the McArthur Genius Fellowship).  

Check out the TED Talk below to hear a story of urban plight turned to social renewal.


A couple of things to note:

This has everything to do with faith. Carter does not mention God or Jesus in her talk, but as people of faith we can nonetheless celebrate this work. 

The biblical vision for "salvation" is not strictly in a "spiritual" sense.  In other words, economic oppression still grieves the heart of God even if everyone is praying and worshiping day-in, day-out (though that would most certainly be a good thing).

Thus, we can still celebrate the life that Carter's projects make possible (dare we say resurrection?), because it heals God's children .  And that is something to celebrate!


Also, This is not a full-fledged endorsement of Carter. Years after this TED Talk, Carter stirred up some controversy by accepting funding from this or that organization. Rather than maintain impossible expectations of missional purity, I find it more constructive to simply celebrate a good idea when it comes around. Carter, and all change-makers, should be held accountable to their ideals--but that can't distract us from the life-saving mission of greening the ghetto!


Tyler Sit1 Comment