By Charlotte Gibson (’23)
En·vi·ron·men·tal Jus·tice. When you think of environmental justice what comes to your mind? Well, according to EPA, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, environmental justice is “The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies” (Environmental Justice). Wow, that’s a lot! But what does all this mean and why does buildOn care?
As you may know buildOn is a non-profit organization that works towards helping others all around the world. Their goal is “to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education” (buildOn). With the help of the public and an investigation buildOn found a relationship between environmental justice and social justice. Through this investigation, buildOn decided that they wanted to take action and provide biodiversity as well as afforestation in underserved communities. What this means is that buildOn created a plan to rebuild a variety of life and ecosystems through planting trees in areas where the populations are disadvantaged. But the real question is, how does buildOn facilitate this plan and how can you get involved?
BuildOn has partnered with an organisation called ForestNation which helps ensure our future through the planting of trees and focuses on the environmental crisis that is facing the planet. The organisation works with individuals, schools, and companies to help ensure a greener future for the world.
Together buildOn and ForestNation have collaborated creating a program called “You Plant. We Plant.”. BuildOn’s organisation has decided that for every tree kit you plant, they will plant ten, as well as give one to a buildOn U.S. student! As of recently buildOn has planted over 9,000 tree’s to help the world. BuildOn works to both educate and inspire others, and through this idea they have offered both digital toolkits and tree planting kits for everyone to get involved!
The toolkit works to inspire and educate others on topics such as environmental justice, environmental racism and more! It also teaches you how to plant trees in your area and keep them pollinated to generate biodiversity. It also allows you to reflect on what you have learned through the experience.
Through the use of the tree planting kit buildOn and ForestNation supply you with a “100% compostable starter planter with soil and an indigenous tree seed” (buildOn). As well as instructions to help care for your tree properly, pollinator seeds, and a pin that demonstrates that you care for environmental justice!
Throughout this entire process it allows people to see the impact of their actions and allows them to reflect on the CO2 that we are making as a society.
Overall, buildOn’s move towards Environmental Justice is a huge step to a better society and is a great way for anyone to get involved to better the environment and the future. BuildOn creates a way where environmental awareness can be accessible to people of all ages, and is a great step towards a greener future. BuildOn is demonstrating how “citizens from underserved communities are still experiencing disproportionate levels of environmental degradation” and ways that we can get involved to change that (buildOn). Together we can create a future and have an impact in our community and in the world.
If you would like to get involved in the movement towards environmental justice please use this link to get involved!