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By edward
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Eco Justice is Social Justice

Social justice and activism are embedded into my core. A world full of suffering, strife,and squalor are my motivation to provide the most marginalized communities with resources and support. Throughout my life I’ve used my innate ability to communicate as a tool to help close disparities and empower people who feel disillusioned by living on the periphery of mainstream society. This summer I had the opportunity to intern for Google.org on the clean energy advocacy team which exposed me to the many environmental injustices that have had deleterious effects on the Earth and her inhabitants. Moreover, being a part of team that shapes the message that guides the acts of reaching carbon neutrality, producing renewable energy, and offsetting hazardous emissions has shown me that the world is in dire need of “eco-justice”.

As an American citizen I believe that I have an obligation to help determine the trajectory of this nation through service and policy. But more importantly, as a human being and a denizen of the global community I know that I have an obligation to ensure equality and justice for all.

Since spring quarter of my freshman year, I have worked very closely with Dr. Cathy Cohen, Political Scientist and principal investigator of the Black Youth Project. Her keen insight and analysis on gender, sexuality, race, and politics has inspired the topic of my bachelor’s thesis: Understanding how Black Americans between the ages of 15-25 use social networking sites and blogs as discursive spaces for political deliberation. I want to understand why those of us with higher access to information technology were more inclined to engage in political dialogue. However, the flaw in my research methodology was that I only thought about the overt forms of disenfranchisement like lack of disposable income or unequal access to computers. I did not think on a more microlevel about the issues that go unseen but are just as egregious.

Prior to my internship at Google.org I never once thought about sustainability and eco-justice. In fact, I only used recycling bins when trash cans were not available. I did not know, nor did I care about clean energy advocacy because I couldn’t physically see the effects the toxins and hazardous waste had on people and communities until I started researching the effects of methane for a one-pager for my manager. My research led me to some startling statistics, but more importantly it opened my eyes to the effects that hazardous chemicals have in low-income neighborhoods. As I began to read about neighborhoods where an overwhelming number of kids had learning disabilities because they lived in buildings where they were exposed to lead paint  (Many of these structures were government funded projects)I became livid. After reading this and getting upset I decided that a “Googley” leader wouldn’t just acquiesce in the disgusting face of eco-injustice. I hope to inspire people in both rural and urban America to become more environmentally conscious and fight for their right to live in healthy conditions.
Without this internship I would not have been put in a position to learn about the environment and therefore would still only be fighting against racism, sexism, and homophobia. But thanks to my time with Google.org’s Clean Energy/Advocacy Team I see that social justice is a huge concept!