Environmental Justice

As I near the end  of my internship with Palmer I feel as if I am just starting to get in the groove of things. Starting the internship my mental calculus was “this is a two block long internship- I’ll be an old pro halfway through the first block”. I’ve come to find that this isn’t correct. Land trusts, and life in general for that matter, are more nuanced and complicated than anything that can be learned in three and a half weeks. Transitioning from the block plan to a normal work schedule has definitely been an unexpected learning curve. It is both my inclination and habit to accomplish anything assigned to me is as little time as possible, which often means my attention to detail is lacking. The values of a workplace are so different from the classroom ethos- it is ok to take time to research and perfect something. That being said, I’ve been mulling over this post for a while so without further ado…

Something that I started to think about this year while at school is how environmentalism and conservation are seen as predominantly white, wealthy causes. Though this is true (and seen) in the voices who are having conservation-minded conversations, the irony is that changes in weather and the environment will (and do) disproportionately impact low-income people of color. It is difficult to slow down and have conversations about how to involve other members of our community because it’s both unprecedented and an incredibly ingrained societal norm- something that I alone, or any small non-profit can only hope to change.

It feels like the deeper I dig, the less answers I find and the more questions I have. As I mentioned earlier, I do only have 10 weeks with Palmer and that is not nearly enough time to fully understand the organization, let alone make any meaningful change. It is wholly unlikely that between now and my 2020 graduation date I will have any sort of reconciliation around environmental racism and injustice. Sometimes it feels like I am staring at an insurmountable brick wall- and then I remember, just because I can’t answer it in three and a half weeks does not mean that it is not worth pursuing an answer anyway.