A Word From Our Publisher
The environment is everything, everywhere – seen and unseen — where all things are inextricably connected. Yet we live in a world that thrives on division and disconnection, within a culture that encourages excess and waste. This paradox has led to a growing environmental justice movement.
But what I know is that there is nothing new or different or revelatory about the concept of environmental justice – especially for Black people in America. For us, it’s always just been about Justice, plain and simple. How do we get equal access to information, opportunity and resources?
And when we add on the word “environmental” it just gets wider and deeper: the right to clean air, water and soil; clean communities where fresh food is readily available; housing devoid of mold, lead and other toxins; access to green spaces that are well maintained; job opportunities in the growing Green economy.
Full access to full humanity and dignity.
Bridging the unending quest for true reparatory justice for the Black community with the very real injustices in environmental equality is the work of ecoWURD. This is a powerful extension of the mission that WURD Radio, Pennsylvania’s only Black-owned talk radio station, and ecoWURD’s sister company, has been committed to over the past 15 years. Giving voice to the unique concerns, perspectives and experiences of Philadelphia’s Black community has established WURD Radio as a trusted, credible media outlet that is unafraid to speak truth to power. That same determination and integrity will also define ecoWURD.
We are excited to launch this initiative on a platform, Civil, that seeks to revolutionize how local journalism grows, evolves and is sustained – creating a new media eco-system.We have assembled a powerful team of writers and editors eager to explore the intersection of race, income and the environment in Philadelphia. It is a complex, diverse and ever changing place with the unenviable distinction of being the poorest big city in America. To be specific: Nearly 30 percent of Philadelphia’s population lives in poverty, and close to 13 percent lives in “deep poverty,” according to Pew Research Center estimates. And about 40 percent of Philadelphia’s children under the age of 18 live below the poverty line.
When you marry this with Philly’s old infrastructure (we are, after all, the birthplace of the nation), you have a city struggling with deep, systemic environmental challenges that disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities.
But there are bright spots, too. Philadelphia is home to Fairmount Park, the nation’s largest municipal park made up of over 63 parks and 9,200 acres. So if you seek, you can find abundant green spaces in the heart of this vibrant city. There is also an active social justice movement advocating for disenfranchised communities to be at the center of the growing Green Economy. And over the last 10 years the city has established a vibrant bicycle culture, something I thought unimaginable having grown up navigating the narrow streets of this colonial city
On ecoWURD, we intend to cover it all. But most importantly, we want to highlight the disparities that exist along racial and socioeconomic lines, as seen through the lens of the environment. In the Black community, we know that it’s all connected – disproportionate rates of chronic disease, violence, low literacy. This is because our environment is everything, everywhere – seen and unseen. And if the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the buildings we live in, the schools we learn in, the ground we stand on is contaminated, there can simply be no justice and no peace.