GREEN FOR ALL
By Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO, Green For All
Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All, is part of Change.org’s Changemakers network, comprised of leading voices for social change. Her contribution today is part of Blog Action Day 2010, a day for bloggers around the world to raise awareness about a single topic—”water.”
I don’t remember how old I was when I learned that water is not supposed to have a taste. I grew up in a town that was surrounded by oil refineries and heavy industry, basically learning that water that tasted like chemicals and metals was normal. This was my reality, and unfortunately the reality for many young people growing up in low income communities and communities of color. The EPA estimates that more than 870,000 of the 1.9 million housing units for the poor, occupied mostly by Latino and African Americans, sit within approximately a mile of factories that report toxic emissions to the U.S.
Turning on your faucet shouldn’t be a high-risk venture. Parents shouldn’t have to worry whether or not the water in their homes is safe for their children to drink. Cities and towns shouldn’t have to worry that the water lost in leaky pipes will mean ongoing shortages or usage restrictions. But these concerns are already cropping up in communities throughout the country — and they will only become more common as decades of neglect to our water infrastructure begin to catch up with us.
We have a choice: We can either be a country that continues to take shortcuts for the benefit of polluters, or we could be a country that sees opportunity in water. With the proper investment in our infrastructure, we can conserve water, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, upgrade its integrity, generate revenue for cities, create green jobs and new green spaces in low income communities and communities of color.
About Green For All
“Green For All is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through a clean energy economy. We work in collaboration with the business, government, labor, and grassroots communities to create and implement programs that increase quality jobs and opportunities in green industry – all while holding the most vulnerable people at the center of our agenda.”