Monday, January 26, 2015

Video assignment

Since our meeting was cancelled, Matt assigned these two videos. Please watch them both and write up a paragraph describing something interesting, surprising, or confusing.You can just reply as a comment on this post. Thanks!
Video #1: This video is, in my humble opinion, quite inspiring and brings forth many issues that impoverished, urban communities face. Although it does not delve into too much detail about specific issues, it nonetheless raises concerns that many people face on a daily basis; including right here in New Haven!

Video #2:This video is going to lay out the fundamentals of population growth and how our rising numbers are putting ever-increasing strain on the very ecosystems we so intimately rely on. Virtually all of our modern social and environmental issues stem from this concept and, through watching this video, will help put things into context for you. There are multiple videos on this page so be sure to watch the first one entitled "population" (feel free to watch the others if you wish)


  1. Majora Carter's TED talk was one of the most passionate presentations on the TED talk platform. The revitalization of urban areas with a focus on simultaneously improving the environment was an ingenious idea that Majora Carter was brave enough to push out of a dream and into our reality.

    Revitalizing a community is a complex issue to tackle, the South Bronx is not the only low income urban area that was a victim of hyper development and I think she is yet another example of the success of focusing on what is good for all instead of the good of a few. Her goal in the South Bronx is not only to create more water front parks and make the city of New York appear more green, rather it is about creating blue collar jobs opportunities for members of the South Bronx community.

    Creating jobs for people within their community inspires people to take better care of their home, inside and out. That is not to say that members of the South Bronx never cared before; but caring for your community is a luxury which many overlook and take for granted. Majora Carter's initiative for a greenway along the South Bronx waterfront provides the inspiration but also the financial means to achieve a caring community that can show its support.

    I know of certain areas in New Haven that perhaps could be turned into a revitalized park there are many abandoned factories in New Haven that could be turned into community centers and 'green spaces' for people living in that area to use. It would be cool to see where are the community centers in New Haven and locate places in New Haven that could benefit from one.

    As a side note I appreciated her (Majora Carter's) brutal honesty and strong emotions she revealed during this presentation. Unfortunately I think a lot of times showing emotions is perceived as being 'weak'; passion is not weakness, and it is evident she feels that the work in the South Bronx needs to be replicated across the country in other low income areas. After thinking about the idea of being passionate, I've come to realize that no one who is passionate about a topic and chooses to express it in an emotional way is weak. In fact I question those who believe it that emotions are a weakness, is that opinion shaped because they truly believe passion is a vice or are they fearful of people who are not afraid to show their humanity and the emotions that a human being is capable of?

    -Mairead Brennan

  2. Majora Carter discusses imperative issues about environmental injustices in the South Bronx during her TED talk. She is an activist in her community and created a movement to make low income areas more "green," called "Green the Ghetto."

    She was successful and received a lot of help and support from government officials and local citizens. This shows that if you believe in something and have a plan that it can be successful, like hers.

    I am interested in activism and equality. I would like to know more about environmental activism and local people in New Haven that have the same beliefs as this woman. It would be interesting to have a guest speaker come who is a part of an organization or is an environmental activist. I am constructing my Evolutions exhibit on city planning so I would like to meet more activists in the community.

    It is concerning when she discusses the harmful affects these environmental injustices have on Urban areas and residents health because I am always in New Haven and spend a lot of my time there. I think it is important, like she said that everyone is aware of what the city is planning to do. This is our environment and we have to live here therefore we should have every right to know what is going on and we should have every right to be a part in what happens in our communities.

  3. Majora Carter's Ted talk was one of the most eye opening and inspiring speeches that I have watched. In her Ted Talk she discusses the effort that she made to make her own community, south Bronx, more green. I find the the ling list of all the things that she did for her community extremely inspiring, to do so much to make her community which reminds me so much New Haven so much better.

    I found it shocking when she was talking about Bogota. How this city did so much to make itself better, more green, in a third world country. This city cut down its air pollution by making it better for bikers and bus riders. By by doing this they also made the average person feel like they were being concerned more causing them to come out more and with more people on the streets crime rates doped. Yet in America we can not get any where near this done.
    Something that shocked me even more was that although I have always know that race and class have always played a big roll in how green your community is I never realized that how much of a difference this really makes or how much these differences effect the communities people. Things like when she said that African Americans are five times more likely to live with in walking distance of a chemical facility or power plant or when she discussed that living in ungreen environments give you a greater risk of asthma, obesity, and diabetes.I had never thought about how living in a place with so much air pollution may make people think twice about going for a jog.

  4. I found Majora Carter's TED Talk on the urban issues faced by the average citizen to be very powerful. She spoke about the problems urban residents face with congested streets, sidewalks, and air, and how cities are focusing more on how to cater to the small percentage of car-owning residents rather than the majority of people who either walk, ride bikes, or rely on public transportation. The second set of videos (from highlighted the increasing dangers of topics like overpopulation, pollution, and ocean acidification. I found a connection between the two sources. Carter focused on how cities need to embrace eco-friendly methods of transportation and living instead of favoring the automobile-saturated mentality that neither works for the resident of the city, car owning driver, or the ecosystem.

    The Planet Earth Herald video on overpopulation made it clear that if our world population continues to grow, which it is likely to do so, we cannot afford to maintain the current standard of living without causing serious destruction of our world. This is true, and if we are to increase our population at all in the upcoming years, we must focus on making urban environments more efficient. If our population grows to over 10 billion, suburban houses and comfortable, spacious living will not be a real possibility for everybody on our planet. We must instead focus on creating more environmentally friendly urban environments, where the people can have their space, and let the natural world remain separate. Carter brought up an issue where Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, created new bike lanes, public squares, increased pedestrian walkways, banned parking on public streets, and started one of the most efficient busways of modern times, but he was nearly impeached for doing so. This is not how our society should react to a public official who has the motivation and intelligence to actively better our urban environments. Our working class population who requires these public systems should have the power to dictate how their city is run, the power should not be given to the minority population who can afford cars and live "above the system".

  5. The beautiful woman, Majora Carter, displayed her equally as beautiful spirit and ambition in this TED talk. Her story of growing up in the desolate area of South Bronx and vowing to make an impact on her community was inspiring and amazing, but sad. Why is it that there are more power plants in poor urban communities that already face a multitude of social and environmental problems? Why should such communities be the host of waste facilities? I was disappointed when I came to realize that the many facts and numbers she was giving were not a surprise to me. Though I didn’t know of the specificity of the increase rate a black person has to living new a sewage waste facility, the fact did not take me aback, though I wish it had. Far too often we hear of these cases around America of poor areas traced with illegal activities by minorities, but I admire her efforts and successes in the projects she started to rebuild her community, and in doing so, rebuild the social framework of the community.

    I enjoy this second site and the ease in which they communicate their main points. They split up the large issue of environmental degrade into 10 smaller issues that are easy to identify, and practical in making solutions for. It is no surprise that the root cause for the various problems we see today in environmental health and even other aspects is overpopulation. In my environmental science course at school, we watched a TED talk that had a similar argument, that overpopulation was the source of the problem, and how it led to problems in our environment, particularly in agriculture and the difficulty we’ll experience in trying to find food for everyone on the planet (interestingly this is the same background story to the movie Interstellar which I recommend everyone to see). Then we were asked the question: “Is population control ethical and mandatory if we wish to see improvement?” We can all talk about the many issues we face, such as the other 9 issues detailed on the site, but if overpopulation is the main culprit, then should we try to control our population?

  6. I loved the TED tall by Ms. Majora Carter. She seemed so raw and she delivered the talk in a fast and succinct manor that seemed really unrehearsed when compared to other TED talks that I have seen. Her speech was touching, yet filled with raw date and stats and I preferred it this way- it just makes the speech seem so much more real. Her ideas stemmed from a walk with her dog, I mean how much more unassuming can she be. It was surprising when I read the comments and everyone seemed to be in awe of her speaking style and vulnerability. She didn't have to use big words to amaze the TED Talk audience. She's very unaccusing and gets most of her leverage and attention because all of the information was gained through first person experience. I like how she reminds me that everything that I wish to achieve is attainable. How everything can be solved by setting little goals for myself. Between everything that I do in my daily life, nothing is as important as saving my home (the earth) one little action at a time.

  7. Majora Carter TED talk was extremely inspirational. Like Zariah said, you can tell that she was authentic and raw. Not only did her speech include things about her but it was educational. It encouraged me to want better for my neighborhood and to improve it. I connected the South Bronx to New Haven and issues that we deal with city planning. Many urban communities are the last to be thought of when it comes to rebuilding. Many neighborhoods in New Haven are run down and are falling apart but others are beautiful and thriving. The goal should be to have every area thrive but it takes people like Majora Carter to make it possible. The second site opened up my eyes to many environmental issues facing the world right now. I never realized that over population was such a huge problem. I did not realize that overpopulation has severe chain effects, such as increases in green house gasses, the pop growing more than we can produce food, and higher demand for water.

  8. Majora Carter stated the perception that we, as a community only recognize that green urbanized areas is not feasible. However, she also states that the possible reason we think that is because leaders with power (and money) feel that they aren't in danger. I feel like this is where we are steered in the wrong direction because our sanity lies with the sanity of those in charge. Ms. Carter's TED talk was most inspiring. She delegated that green urban areas can be a thing. Cities do have that option. This makes me really think that as a community we decide what we want our town to look like. What we don't realize is that green urban areas is another way of living; another option to a sustainable life. We just have to want it as badly as we want the newest pairs of sneakers. This is really an eye opener for me because new haven can have a town like this.

    In response to video number two, it sounds inhumane to control the population of the world. That's like when China placed laws for only two children per household. What if you have another child exceeding the law requirement? Is there a fee you must pay? Will you love you child enough to keep him/her? Do you put the child up for adoption? I do agree that population increase is a problem, but it's also a problem when there are more orphan children than there are full families. At a family perspective, it might ruin relationships with many people. This can cause an activist movement against limiting the population. Increasing food production causes major issues like erosion, droughts (like the dust bowl in America) and environmental changes. Morally, it sounds wrong, but the world's carrying capacity can supply 9.5 billion people in 2025. There are ways we can increase food production with new innovations such as hydroponics. This doesn't take up much space. We'd find better ways to dispose of our waste. As any living thing, we evolve. I feel like between the time of now and 2025, our technology and mindset would evolve tremendously to accommodate 9.5 billion people even though our physical characteristics won't as fast.

    ~Anna Khairi

  9. I found the population video very interesting. I never thought of how fast the worlds population is growing and how much that affects the environment. In the video they pointed out that it took thousands of years for the worlds population to hit 1 billion. Then just 123 years after that it hit 2 billion, then only 33 years after that we hit 3 billion. I never thought the Earth’s population grew so rapidly. The video said that every second there is a net growth of 2.4 and if the population continues to grow the way it is then every 13 years the population will grow by 1 billion! That is crazy to me because so many countries are already saying they do not have enough room for all of their citizens.
    I also liked how simply they described how the rapidly growing population will affect the world. They brought up the fact that if the population keeps growing the way it is then by the year 2025 we will need to have be producing double the amount of food we are today just to feed everyone. Then even if we manage to do that it’s going to come with a price. The thing that I liked the most were the simple answers to this huge problem. They gave solutions that anyone can do. Things as simple as better education for women, teaching everyone about contraceptives, etc.