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From 2001 to 2008 Majora Carter was Executive Director of the non-profit she founded, Sustainable South Bronx. There she pioneered green-collar job training and placement systems in one of the[…]

It’s as simple as reusing things, Carter says.

Topic: Majora Carter on Individual Responsibility and the Environment

Majora Carter: Really, really, basic, honesty. This is so stupid, but it’s hard for people to do, I realize. Reusing things.

I remember growing up. I grew up in a really poor family. And everything had three uses before it got thrown away. It’s just mind boggling to me how disposable things are right now. That’s one way of one thing of looking at it.

We do need to really demand in our work places that our carters do recycle. Many of them don’t, which is atrocious, if you ask me.

Everybody just wants to switch out their light bulbs. But you ask people, do they? The answer would be no. So why don’t you switch out your light bulbs, for the love of God?

The biggest thing--and this is, actually, more macro--is understanding that in doing what you can, in whatever capacity you have, to understand, especially if you’re living a more privileged lifestyle, that there are more communities out there that aren’t. So when you flush your toilet, when you throw something away, it doesn’t just go away. It really does impact somebody else’s community.

If we thought about that when we did that, and if we use an opportunity to talk about policies and what that means for folks that are on the other end of that pipeline. I think that’s also really helpful and talking about the fact that all of our decisions have an impact on somebody else. And usually, they’re poor people, or poor people of color.

Recorded on: April 28, 2008