When I was getting my credibility to become a black environmental leader, I developed a strategy of reading books written by recognized leaders in the environmental movement, and by any means necessary finding ways to attend environmental related conferences, workshops, or gathering. In fact, after attending my first 2 national gatherings, and finding few if any people of color in attendance, I decided to create a person of color (leadership wise) multicultural environmental conference.
It was while designing the conference that Building A Sustainable Earth Community (BSEC) was seen as the perfect name for my company. I have been documenting my steps to build such a community and was going to share what I had done with others, as my way of creating my own sustainable retirement income.
Recently I was asked by one of my national associates to begin sharing my steps in my blog, because so many people are in need of the information I have recorded. So beginning today, I am sharing with you, how I learned to understand sustainability. I hope you will be the beneficiary of my experience.
My first mentor was David Korten, the renowned author of TheGreat Turning, ‘From Empire to Earth Community’. What I learned from David is what has me sitting here today as a person of color environmental leader. It was he who helped shape my environmental consciousness, with his knowledge of peak oil, and the strategies of the ruling empire, to keep the progressive members of society separated, and therefore easy to defeat. He also spoke of how race in this country was the most intractable issue used to keep us separated
The next person, who helped me create an environmental perspective, was John Rensenbrink, Co-Founder and a principal organizer, for United States Green Party, 1984. John spoke at a Green party rally in Kansas City, Missouri during the 2008 primary election. He said the environmental movement was the only movement in America since the Civil Rights movement that had the possibility of actually changing policies. He said he hoped that unlike the Civil Rights movement, the environmental leaders would not let the empire render the movement useless by creating a political agenda.
As he spoke, I knew exactly what he was saying or talking about. During the 60’s & 70’s I was a student of the Civil Rights movement, and learned first hand what politics could do to a movement. Proof of what political reasoning did to the Civil Rights movement, can be seen today, in the lack of economic development within the black communities itself. We ended up with a lot of government programs to supplement other government programs. Now that the economy is faltering, so goes those government programs, and so goes the black community.
Recently the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan wrote an article on the “Disappearing Black Community”. He asked, “How can we get it back”?
I truly feel if we don’t heed John Rensenbrink’s warning, one day we might hear a leading conservationist say, “Schools must revamp how they teach about the environment to prevent ecological collapse”.
Wait a minute; conservationist Charles Saylan, and UCLA life scientist Daniel T. Blumstein have already said that in “TheFailure of Environmental Education (And How We Can Fix It)”, a recent book published in May 2011, by the University of California Press.
Now I am sure (just as it is with the Farrakhan statement on the Disappearing Black Community), there will be people who take issue with what is being said. Yet as John Rensenbrink warned, the environmental movement has already become a political issue.
So my blog will be designed to give you a step-by-step rendition of how I have kept hope alive in a disenfranchised low-income community, by pushing sustainability as a way of life: Independent Sustainability. What you will discover is that the people in my community, city, & state are way more environmentally literate than any of our political systems. We are simply continuing to develop our own literacy, while we are waiting for the politicians to catch up.
Regardless of how we may feel, we still need each other to make sustainability work.