Majora Carter Talks About Community Sustainability

At a recent TEDxMidwest presentationMajora Carter (@MajoraCarter) talks about three individual who made a difference in their communities. These three individual who implemented practical solutions to community improverishment issues.

It is time to work together to embrace and repair our land, repair our power systems and repair ourselves. It’s time to stop building the shopping malls, the prisons, the stadiums and other tributes to all of our collective failures. It is time that we start building living monuments to hope and possibility.”

Majora Carter

Charity Does Not Equal Sustainability


Brenda Palms-Farber was hired to help ex-convicts reenter society and keep them from going back into prison. Currently, taxpayers spend about $60,000 per year sending a person to jail. We know that two-thirds of them are going to go back. I find it interesting that, for every one dollar we spend, however, on early childhood education, like Head Start, we save $17 on stuff like incarceration in the future. Or — think about it — that $60,000 is more than what it costs to send one person to Harvard as well . . .

Los Angeles

Water is a big issue for Los Angeles. On most day Los Angeles does not have enough water and too much to handle when it rains. Currently, 20 percent of California’s energy consumption is used to pump water into mostly Southern California. Their spending loads, loads, to channel that rainwater out into the ocean when it rains and floods as well. Now Andy Lipkis is working to help L.A. cut infrastructure costs associated with water management and urban heat island — linking trees, people and technology to create a more livable city. All that green stuff actually naturally absorbs storm water, also helps cool our cities. Because, come to think about it, do you really want air-conditioning, or is it a cooler room that you want? How you get it shouldn’t make that much of a difference . . .

West Virginia

Judy Bonds is a coal miner’s daughter. Her family has eight generations in a town called Whitesville, West Virginia. If anyone should be clinging to the former glory of the coal mining history, and of the town, it should be Judy. But the way coal is mined right now is different from the deep mines that her father and her father’s father would go down into and that employed essentially thousands and thousands of people. Now, two-dozen men can tear down a mountain in several months, and only for about a few years-worth of coal. That kind of technology is called mountaintop removal. It can make a mountain go from this to this in a few short months. Just imagine that the air surrounding these places — it’s filled with the residue of explosives and coal. When we visited, it gave some of the people we were with this strange little cough after being only there for just a few hours or so — not just miners, but everybody . . .

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