Southside environment improves, students sought

When students are asked about saving the environment, visions of unruly environmental rights groups, faraway toxic waste dumps, unkempt beaches and pungent-smelling landfills usually come to mind.

However, one local group is seeking out FAMU students to help save the environment on Tallahassee’s Southside.

The Bond Environment Project attempts to inform residents on environmental hazards and methods to prevent illegal dumping and hopes to involve FAMU students in its efforts.

“The Bond community is so close to the university. It’s practically in your backyard,” said Christic Pugh, a junior political science student at Florida State University.

Pugh visited several classes at FAMU encouraging students to be a part of the project. One of the courses was state and local government taught by William Proctor.

“Environmental racism needs to be lifted up so that this new generation of young, black scholars will be better armed to articulate its presence and mitigate against its impact,” Proctor said.

“I asked Christic to speak to this class to illuminate the importance of environmental injustice. Injustice is more than racial discrimination, housing discrimination, job discrimination, economic discrimination.. It also includes where plants are located, where water run-off is routed, where sewer treatment plants are located, where noisy airports are cited and where poisons from the air and expressways are allowed to pass through,” he said.

The Bond Environmental Project was awarded $15,000 by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Program, but Pugh said more money is needed to fulfill the program’s goals.

“The $15,000 is just a kick-off from the EPA and additional money is going to be attained by soliciting partnerships,” Pugh said.

Throughout the project, three workshops will be provided for residents and interested students to discuss the proper procedures for recycling and disposing solid and hazardous waste.

Three neighborhood block parties and community clean-ups are scheduled as well..

Pugh also discussed the relationship between waste dumping and land value of neighborhoods during her class visits.