Here at the Environmental Action Lab we strive to reconnect people to their local environment and educate communities on sustainable stewardship. We are a group of college students, professors, scientists, farmers and future leaders in the field of Urban Sustainability. The Environmental Action Lab has programs in both Brooklyn, NY and Puerto Rico, in which we educate students through field work, activism and service learning.
A Brooklyn Pigeon (Bigeon)
In the city, pigeons are referred to as flying rats, but they used to be considered barnyard animals. Pigeons are not indigenous to the Big Apple. They were brought over from Europe during the 1600's. Since their domestication, some 6,000 years ago, pigeons have been supplying humanity with food, fertilizer, entertainment (pigeon racing), and even medicine.
Bigeon and his comrades live in urban centers across the globe. Researchers say there are approximately 4 million pigeons in NYC. These feral birds are descendent of rock doves and messenger pigeons. Bigeon and his unique heritage shows us how to be resilient for climate change. By taking a holistic view of a problem, we at the Environmental Action love our friend Bigeon and all he represents.
The Green New Deal is a congressional resolution that lays out a grand plan for tackling climate change. It was introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts. The goal of the GND is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, while also fixing societal problems like economic inequality and racial injustice.
We need a Green New Deal because people are suffering, friends, family and peers. It is impossible to ignore the dire situation. To ignore is a choice. Will we continue to overlook injustice? For how long? Until it knocks on our own front doors? No. We need to act now. Neighbors are losing their lives to racism, poverty and environmental injustice. The World Health Organization estimates that climate change causes 150,000 deaths annually. A disproportionate majority are low-income people of color.
We at the Environmental Action Lab understand the urgency of now and know we cannot wait around for politicians to save us. That’s why we’re dedicated to creating green infrastructure that is community controlled and run. By giving the community control, we can create a resilient population ready to live through climate change. By utilizing space efficiently in urban areas, we can create food for humans and heal the ecosystem. Community garden beds can be made out of pallets and divert waste from the landfills. Native pollinators are at risk of going extinct due to habitat loss. Installing bat boxes, planting pollinators and making “bee hotels” are great ways for regular people to help bring back a healthy ecosystem. By investing in a green future, countless jobs will be created giving local people meaningful work.
"The Green New Deal is a non-binding resolution that can potentially lead to a sustainable future. The GND reimagines the built environment to benefit marginalized populations that are often forgotten by the sustainability movement. The Green New Deal is not a very detailed piece of legislation. Many believe it is too vague, but I believe that’s a good thing. The Green New Deal paints an overall vision of where we need to go. The lack of details on how we get to that point allows for it to adapt and include the most recent scientific research and findings. As a result the Green Deal can provide a more sustainable future, if it can be passed."
- Gabriela Miranda-Diaz
Environmental Action Lab Co-Founder