Some of the most important work around environmental justice is the work of rebuilding a relationship with the environment.
For many of us, our relationship with the environment has been decided soley by how we as workers can be strip our environment of resources. Others of us are assumed to not have a relationship with the environment at all because we live in urban areas. Environmental based organizations far too often work to “get back to nature” by taking trips to reserves or parks rather than recognizing that every place we exist as a community, whether it’s in the most urban polluted city in the world or on the internet, has an “environment.”
These pictures reflect the work a small community in Detroit is doing (and that we will continue to document as their work expands and develops!) around the environment and the food that we eat from it. They created a garden that they’ve then been working with community members to maintain. On this particular day, third graders from a local school helped pick weeds, water, and harvest food.
While they worked, many young people shared how they had gardens at home that their grandparents started or how they liked eating the different foods their gardens produced. As an observer, it really hit home for me that the environment is something that a community, not just individuals, must enter into a relationship with. That without community health, individual health is infinitely more difficult to attain.