Years of structural racism and the economic and governance policies from that have resulted in large urban areas characterized by no economic development, substandard schools, high unemployment and crime, food deserts, few parks and public gathering places, and contaminated air, land and water. Economic, political and environmental injustices have created these toxic neighborhoods.
Some are trying to respond with efforts like community gardens, aquaponics systems, and community building discussions and events in these difficult circumstances.
Those who have benefited from these economic and environmental policies need to work to correct these injustices.
Global changes are occurring that will force dramatic changes in all our lives. Although knowing for many years that curtailing burning fossil fuels was the right thing to do, that was ignored. The only reason that is changing now is because fossil fuel sources are being used up.
But we are going to be increasingly affected by the consequences of burning all that fossil fuel in such a short period of time. Increasing air and ocean temperatures and concentrations of carbon dioxide will result in more extreme weather and changing precipitation patterns, with more drought and flooding. That is decreasing food production. The acidification of the oceans is destroying fish and other marine life. Food and water supplies for cities will become an increasing problem.
The political system that once worked fairly well at least for the upper and middle classes has been corrupted by the influence of money. So our system of government is no longer an effective way to try to address these problems. The mainstream media is controlled by the wealthy, so these problems are covered up there. Law enforcement has become increasingly aggressive at protecting wealth and property by squashing dissent. Mass incarceration is used to control disaffected populations.
Large concentrations of people in cities, dependent on transportation and farms for food, will be increasingly fragile. People will migrate to smaller towns and communities to be closer to available sources of food and water, and where communities are of a size that can work for those living in them.
Now is the time for us to both prepare for the future and begin to correct these injustices.
People living in these toxic neighborhoods deserve a better physical, political and social environment. Instead of trying to create gardens in areas of contaminated soil, water and air, people could be doing that in rural areas or small communities outside cities.
A first step could be the development of agricultural apprenticeships. Several people from the city could live and work on a farm to learn farming practices. These people would then be able to begin to farm their own small plots of land for food, and be the leaders for more people who come from the city.
There is a relatively new term now called regenerative agriculture, which refers to agricultural practices that increase CO2 absorption, which is to basically grow more plants (which absorb CO2). All of these new, small gardens and fields will contribute that this.