As the New England Grassroots Environment Fund celebrated its 21st birthday on April 1st we believe it is the perfect time focus on one of our core values - Environmental Justice (EJ). While we believe every month should represent EJ month, we’re celebrating the founding vision of the organization with a series of events this month to focus on how our communities and our neighbors can connect, share and act together within the context of building a movement toward environmental justice.
In the past decade, the rising costs of health care services, the obesity and chronic disease epidemic and the impact of social determinants on the health status of Americans have inspired a movement among hospitals to become more than walled venues that care for the acutely ill, to organizations that align all their considerable assets and economic power to build robust communities.
As solar farms have begun to spring up throughout Massachusetts, a group of low-income housing providers and people from low-income communities noticed a growing disparity between the growth of solar in the suburbs and the lack of solar opportunities in the city. Determined and filled with a DIY spirit, Worcester Green Low-Income Housing Coalition has taken on the challenge of developing solar and energy efficiency programs and advocacy in New England's second largest city.
SunPoint Farm Sanctuary is an island of rural New Hampshire nestled in suburban Derry, NH: the farm is 24 acres that abuts 128 acres of conservation land. SPFS works with refugees from Manchester NH, and provides space for them to garden and farm. In the ten years of this program, we have welcomed refugees from Bhutan, Congo, Turkey, and Iraq. What has been dawning on us over the years is to actually integrate the knowledge and skill of the traditional farming methodology from the refugees’ home country and adapt it to the particular challenges of farming in New England.
Equity (beyond “diversity” and “inclusion”) is essential to how we define “quality,” “high performance” and “success.” For us, equity is core to what we seek in the world: dignity and well-being for everyone, and ensuring that resources and power are shared in ways for all people to realize our full potential, and contribute to thriving, sustainable communities.
This past December, Mayor Walsh of the City of Boston released the latest report for Climate Ready Boston, the City’s ongoing initiative to prepare Boston for the impacts of climate change. The report shows that Boston can tackle the challenge of climate change, while creating new economic opportunities and improving quality of life in neighborhoods across the city.
Social Emergency Response Centers (SERCs) are temporary, emergent, and creative pop-up spaces co-led by activists and artists around the US. They function as both an artistic gesture and a practical solution. As such they seek to find the balance between the two, answering questions like: “How will we feed people--and their hunger for justice?” “How will we create a shelter--where it's safe to bring your whole damn self?” “What will reconstruction--of civil society--look like?” The space will include opportunities for participants to step into creative action, healing, collective making, performances, and more.