05/30/2008 10:32 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Saving the World (Starting With the South Bronx)

When people ask me what I do for a living, my short answer is, "I'm working to save the world, starting in the South Bronx."

Yes, the South Bronx is a poor Latino and Black community in New York City. At first glance, we don't have much in common with families living in Appalachian coal country, or wealthy women in the suburbs. But when you realize that all of us have suffered from environmental toxins invading our lives, whether it was the deliberate act of regulators allowing toxic facilities in a poor communities because it was the path of least resistance, or that our energy needs must be met at any cost, or that cancer clusters that crop up, you begin to see just how small the world is.

My work in the South Bronx is about transforming its physical landscape to improve our environmental, economic and social quality of life and serve as a symbol of transformation for all people. Because if you can do it there, it can happen anywhere.

People around the world are victims of intentionally bad environmental planning and policies, sometimes people just didn't know any better. But now we do, and I am a part of a community that changes things. And by community, I don't mean people in a geographic area or an online group. I mean that community is an activity, the responsibility that you use to make the world safer and happier for all. You should join us.