As a city facing rapid gentrification, land ownership is becoming increasingly important in Philadelphia. 2BD is an independent journalist, filmmaker, and creator of the documentary “Free the Land: Philadelphia’s Fight for Land Sovereignty.” He joined POC on ecoWURD to discuss the intricate relationship between land, development and environmental justice, offering a perspective on Philadelphia’s struggle for a greener future.
“Free the Land,” underscores the challenges faced by community gardens and green spaces in Philadelphia. The film captures stories of gardeners and activists who confront persistent obstacles in their quest for land sovereignty.
The documentary reveals the harsh reality that vacant lots, though abundant, continue to be threatened by rapid development. The unjust distribution and usage of land resources disproportionately impact marginalized communities – poor air quality, flooding and countless other consequences affect residents of Black and Brown communities at a greater cost.
“No matter how much money you have or how much money you do not have, we all share this land. We’re all inhabitants of it. And all the effects, all this climate change that happens over time will affect all of us. It won’t affect all of us equally, but it will affect all of us,” explains 2BD.
One of the first places Philadelphians can look to create change is in their own neighborhoods. Observing the vacant lots in their vicinity, understanding the needs of their community, and connecting with existing gardens are crucial steps to advocate for environmental justice, 2BD said.
Despite the formidable challenges ahead, there is still hope. The upcoming political transition with a new mayor and city council members provides an opportunity to address these issues with a fresh approach.
“It can’t just be development, development, development because we’ve been developing as a city for decades,” 2BD said. “There needs to be a change.”
The documentary “Free the Land” and 2BD’s work have the potential to serve as catalysts for a much-needed dialogue and action to create a greener and more just future. To watch “Free the Land: Philadelphia’s Fight for Land Sovereignty,” visit 2BD’s YouTube channel. For more information and to stay updated on their initiatives, visit tobedetermined.com.