It was an honour to speak with Majora Carter in October 2009 following her speech at the PowerShift climate change event in Ottawa. Click the audio player above to hear my interview for CKUT radio and the audio player below to listen to her impassioned presentation at the PowerShift conference.
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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
Majora Carter speech to the PowerShift conference in Ottawa (Oct 2009):