Thursday August 28, 2008

Stander Keynote: Greening the Bronx

A woman who has fueled urban renewal in New York City's South Bronx and promotes sustainable development and a "green-collar" work force will share her story and her message as the keynote speaker for the 2009 Stander Symposium.

A woman who has fueled urban renewal in New York City's South Bronx and promotes sustainable development and a "green-collar" work force will share her story and her message as the keynote speaker for the 2009 Stander Symposium.

Majora Carter, founder of the nonprofit organization Sustainable South Bronx and a consulting firm supporting green economics and environmental justice, appeared on the green scene in 2000, when she battled New York City administration in the media and in the public consciousness to keep the city from locating a large municipal waste-handling operation in her neighborhood.

She succeeded in 2001. Soon after that, she founded Sustainable South Bronx and promptly landed a $1.25 million federal transportation planning grant for the South Bronx Greenway. Along with recreational space and 11 miles of alternative transportation, the project provided local economic development, low-impact stormwater management and the first new South Bronx waterfront park in more than 60 years.

Then, she began working to attract environmentally conscious investment, emphasizing urban forestation, green roofing and walls, and water-permeable open spaces.

"No community," she said in a CNN interview, "should be saddled with more environmental burdens and less environmental benefits than any other."

In 2003, she launched the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training program, a 10-week "green-collar" job-training course and job placement program serving the underemployed and undereducated. After five years, the program has an employment rate of 85 percent, and 10 percent of its graduates have gone on to college.

Carter's consulting firm, the Majora Carter Group, extends her green economic development work to cities, foundations, universities, businesses, and communities around the world.

Carter has received awards from the National Audubon Society, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the American Institute of Architects. She has received the MacArthur Fellowship of the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and in 2007, Essence magazine named her one of the 25 Most Influential African-Americans. She's also recorded a public radio series called "The Promised Land."

Carter's address takes place in the RecPlex at 9 a.m. Thursday, April 16. Further details will be provided at the Stander Symposium Web site.

The symposium, named for the late Brother Joseph W. Stander, S.M., is an annual showcase of individual and collaborative undergraduate and graduate research, creative endeavors and innovative thinking. Besides the keynote address, the symposium includes a Red Mass; Evening at the Stander: A Celebration of the Arts; and the Stander Cup, an evening of traditional and nontraditional team competitions.