Online green mapping fights eco-injustice

Being “green” has finally become a catchphrase in our daily lives. From hybrid cars to organic eating, more people are realizing that environmentalism is the right way to go to make the planet a more sustainable place to live in. However, despite all the green progress, environmental injustices still occur in both industrialized and developing countries. Recently, there has been a spur of online activism through the means of green mapping to bridge the sustainability gap.

Green maps were created in 1995 by the nonprofit Green Maps System to empower online activists around the world to locate areas in their communities that are both good and bad for the environment, such as recycling, traffic hazards, community gardens and toxic sites. The system is used in over 400 communities in 51 countries.

The system is very simple: users can create a map of their region on the website, and place icons indicating environmental impacts. Using the map created for the Banjul area of The Gambia, one can see where such things as solar energy sites, wetlands and horticulture gardens and clean drinking water sites are located. Hazards can also be seen, such as air and water pollution and waste dumps.

Green mapping helps different fractions work together to make the quality of life better for everyone. Many governments and local activists have used their finished maps to proactively address environmental problems in their communities. See the video above produced by Dorst MediaWorks for the Earth Institute at Columbia University about environmental justice activists in New York City.

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