Earth Week

This week has been absolutely wonderful with all the Earth Week events happening around Boston. It was such an honor to meet Reverend Mariama White-Hammond at the “Is it Bougie to Be Green” panel. She said that we should realize that we have power, to build relationships, to show up. She gave the example of aligning to the statesman’s interests to help put solar panels on the roof of her church. She said she is tired of only working on environmental issues, as she is passionate about finding communities that are willing to ask tough questions and support those that already live on the margins and gave the example of how the New Orleans flood presented the dilemma of how to evacuate prisoners who were forgotten.

Who has access, agency and free time to care about environmental issues when they need to work? This was also touched upon at the School of Public Health’s panel, and something that keeps bothering me– how to include the voices those who do not have access to information, and how to include them in policy decisions. Mariama, Kaio Thompson, and Alicia Velez Stewart also expressed concern about the commodification of cultures. How sustainable are the solutions that big companies advocate and how can we ask the right questions to help communities that are in need? Kaio mentioned that addressing science illiteracy is important, while Alicia prompted the audience to reflect internally. I have become more interested in the correlation between public health (even mental illness) issues and climate change. I feel optimistic that climate change communication will improve and I hope to understand and help inform people of the impacts that we are already experiencing.

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