Friday, January 05, 2007

Nostalgia for Youth & The Environment

When Betty was small, she had a book called "50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth". This was her favorite book of all time! It was easy to read and to understand, provided meaningful frameworks (water, trees, oil, animals, oceans), and instilled in Betty habits she will keep for life, like turning off the sink when brushing teeth, recycling everything, and striving to become a conscious and low-maintenence consumer.

In recent years, Betty's head has been turned towards the environmental justice movement, which is different from the environmental movement. The EJ movement came our of low-income communities fighting environmental injustices (toxic sites, close proximity to highway emissions, scarcity of doctors, public transporation, clean water and green spaces, inefficiently heated or cooled housing) perpetrated against them by city and state governments. Like the paralell struggle for economic justice in this country, the environmental justice movement seeks to address these problems locally through political/electoral means. Two of the best environmental justice groups Betty knows are SCOPE/AGENDA in South L.A. and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth in Appalachia. In New York City, Urban Agenda and the NYC Apollo Alliance are on the cutting edge.

While Betty understands how absolutely critical the environmental justice movement is to healing this country and the world (including her own neighborhood - can you believe we breathe this air?), she also believes that individual actions make a difference - her young reading and re-reading of "50 Simple Things" convinced her. That's why she wants to publicize here the coming up of the Lower East Side Ecology Center's Electronic Waste drop-off in Union Square this Sunday, January 7, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (you can drop electronics off at their office on 7th & C anytime, but this will be a fun scene). If you don't live in New York, look here to learn where you can stick that old cell phone.

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