It was an honour to speak with Majora Carter last month following her speech at the PowerShift climate change event in Ottawa. Click the audio player above to hear my interview for CKUT radio.
Majora Carter is a visionary voice in city planning who views urban renewal through an environmental lens. The South Bronx native draws a direct connection between ecological, economic and social degradation. Hence her motto: “Green the ghetto!”
In 2001, Majora Carter founded a vanguard non-profit environmental justice solutions corp: Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx); serving as Executive Director until mid 2008. With a focus on goals over ideology, Majora Carter then built one of the nation’s first and most successful urban green-collar job training and placement systems within 2 years of founding the corp. With her inspired ideas and fierce persistence, Carter managed to bring the South Bronx its first open-waterfront park in 60 years, Hunts Point Riverside Park. Then she scored $1.25 million in federal funds for a greenway along the South Bronx waterfront, bringing the neighborhood open space, pedestrian and bike paths, and space for mixed-use economic development. In 2006, Majora was awarded the MacArthur “genius” grant.
Her success is no surprise to anyone who’s seen her speak; Carter exudes confidence, energy and an intensely emotional delivery. Working from the belief that no one should have to move out of their neighborhood to live in a better one, Carter decided in 2008 to broaden her horizons in 2008 by founding the consultancy, The Majora Carter Group LLC – aiming to bring the same values, leadership, and talent to cities, organizations, businesses and regions across the nation.
Truly an inspirational individual, Carter shows how one person can make a significant impact in their community and she gives us a glimpse of what a more socially and environmentally just world could look like.
“We could not fail to be inspired by Majora Carter’s efforts to bring green space for exercise to the South Bronx. We need more ideas like these to bring solutions to minority communities.” Time
I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to talk with ethnobotanist and anthropologist Wade Davis when he was in Montreal recently to deliver the fourth of his five Massey lectures, the most prestigious and anticipated Canadian lecture series of the year. These lectures, which are being broadcast from Nov. 2-6 for the CBC Radio program Ideas, are based on his new book ‘The Wayfinders: Why ancient wisdom matters in the modern world‘.
Over the years, I have followed the writings and various exploits of Wade Davis with considerable interest and some envy. A National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Wade Davis travels the globe to live alongside indigenous people, and document their cultural practices in books, photographs, and film. He has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet, and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.”
Born in Montreal, raised in B.C. and educated at Harvard, Wade Davis is perhaps the most articulate and influential western advocate for the world’s indigenous cultures. His writing evokes a passionate concern over the rate at which cultures and languages are disappearing — 50 percent of the world’s 7,000 languages, he says, are no longer taught to children. He argues that language isn’t just a collection of vocabulary and grammatical rules. In fact, “Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind.”
He is the bestselling author of several books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow, Light at the Edge of the World, and The Clouded Leopard. He is an award-winning anthropologist, ethnobotanist, filmmaker and photographer, and his writing and photographs have been widely published.
In this interview I did for CKUT radio, Wade explains why we should be gravely concerned about the disappearance of indigenous languages and cultures around the world, what we can learn from ancient wisdom and how cultural diversity can provide us with alternative models and solutions in confronting some of the most serious challenges facing humanity today.
CLICK HERE to download the interview (To download, right click and select “save link as…”)