Roslyn Smith of Black Women’s Agenda on Educating Girls About Environmental Issues


Traynham: CLIMATE CHANGE
IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST THREATS IN OUR SOCIETY TODAY. AS WEATHER PATTERNS CHANGE, THE DELICATE BALANCE
OF CLIMATE EVENTS IS DISRUPTED. WORLD LEADERS FROM
THE GOVERNMENT, THE BUSINESS SECTOR, AND EVEN
GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS ARE TAKING STEPS TO ACT NOW
TO SLOW AND EVENTUALLY REVERSE CLIMATE CHANGE. HELLO, EVERYONE, AND WELCOME
TO “COMCAST NEWSMAKERS”. I’M ROBERT TRAYNHAM, AND JOINING
TO ME TODAY IS ROSLYN SMITH, A MEMBER
OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE BLACK WOMEN’S AGENDA. ROSLYN, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM. Smith:
GOOD MORNING, AND THANK YOU. Traynham:
IT’S GOOD TO SEE YOU, AS ALWAYS. LET’S TALK ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE. OBVIOUSLY, IT IS SOMETHING
THAT AFFECTS EVERYONE. I ALWAYS SAY THAT NO MATTER
WHETHER YOU’RE RICH OR YOU’RE POOR, YOU’RE BLACK
OR WHITE OR ASIAN OR LATINA, THE WEATHER AFFECTS EVERYONE
THE SAME EXACT WAY. Smith: EXACTLY. Traynham: I THINK WE KNOW
THAT THE WORLD IS CHANGING, AND WE KNOW THAT
THE CLIMATE IS CHANGING. NOW, OBVIOUSLY, THERE ARE
A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE DEBATE. SOME SAY THAT IT’S MANMADE, SOME SAY THAT THIS IS JUST
AN EVOLUTION OF WEATHER PATTERNS IN GENERAL. I KNOW AT THE BLACK WOMEN’S
AGENDA, YOU HAVE, SPECIFICALLY, AN AGENDA AS IT RELATES
TO INFORM AND INSPIRE. TELL US ABOUT THAT. Smith: IT’S A WONDERFUL PROGRAM
THAT WE HAVE IMPLEMENTED AND WE’RE WORKING THROUGH, AND WE’RE LOOKING AT INFORMING
AND WORKING WITH YOUNG LADIES, PARTICULARLY
MIDDLE-SCHOOL-AGED YOUNG LADIES. WE BRING THEM IN
AND DR. MAMIE PARKER, WHO IS RETIRED FROM THE U.S. FEDERATION
OF WILDLIFE PRESERVES AND EVERYTHING. SHE HAS DONE A FANTASTIC JOB
OF PUTTING A CURRICULUM TOGETHER AND BRINGING IN A LOT
OF OTHER YOUNG WOMEN WHO ARE LEADERS IN THIS FIELD, AND WE’VE PUT ON
A VERY, VERY INFORMATIVE AND INSPIRING WORKSHOP THAT’S
TRAVELING AROUND THE COUNTRY. IT WAS IN LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS,
IN APRIL, AND BALTIMORE JUST THIS MONTH —
THE FIRST PART OF THE MONTH, AND IT’S MOVING ON
TO CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, AND OAKLAND AND PHILADELPHIA. SO WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD
TO SPREAD THE WORD AROUND THE WORLD AS WE CAN. WE GET INTO POLLINATE, YOU KNOW, THEY TALK ABOUT
THE MONARCH BUTTERFLIES, AND I EVEN LEARN SOMETHING AT
THESE WORKSHOPS WHEN I’M THERE OF HOW THE POLLINATION EFFECTS
AND HELPS SPREAD THINGS AROUND SO THAT NATURE IS TAKING
MORE CONTROL OF WHAT’S GOING ON. THEY LOOK AT THE HONEY BEES. YOU KNOW, WE HAD A VERY
DISASTROUS AREA WITH HONEY BEES. THE POPULATION
IS JUST DYING OFF. AND THEY HELP POLLINATE
A LOT OF THINGS IN THIS WORLD, SO THAT’S WHAT WE’RE LOOKING AT
AND TEACHING THESE YOUNG LADIES HOW ALL OF THIS IS AFFECTED,
AND HOW THEY CAN BE A PART OF INSPIRING AND DOING THINGS
IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. Traynham:
YOU KNOW WHAT’S INTERESTING, ROS, YOU MENTIONED
THE YOUNG LADIES IN FOURTH GRADE AND SO FORTH, BECAUSE YOU KNOW
STUDY AFTER STUDY HAS PROVEN THAT THE EARLIER
THAT YOU TALK TO YOUNG PEOPLE ABOUT THE WORLD AROUND THEM, THE MORE EMPOWERED THEY FEEL
AS THEY GET OLDER AND MATRICULATE THROUGH
THEIR EDUCATIONAL CAREER. YOU KNOW, ROS,
BACK IN SEPTEMBER OF 2014, THE PRESIDENT WAS IN NEW YORK, AND HE ADDRESSED THE COUNTRY AND
THE WORLD AT THE UNITED NATIONS, AND HE SAID, “WE CANNOT PRETEND THAT WE DO NOT HEAR
THE ALARM BELLS RINGING.” THE ALARM BELLS ARE RINGING
AS IT RELATES TO CLIMATE CHANGE. WHY DO YOU THINK WE AS A SOCIETY
HAVE BEEN MOVING VERY SLOWLY AS IT RELATES TO THIS? Smith: I THINK WE’VE TAKEN A LOT
FOR GRANTED, THAT WE JUST ASSUME
THAT THINGS ARE GONNA BE THE WAY THEY’VE BEEN. WE’VE BEEN A VERY RICH
AND PLENTIFUL COUNTRY. Traynham: ARE WE IN DENIAL? Smith:
I THINK THAT’S WHAT IT IS, BUT I THINK IT’S SLOWLY
COMING ABOUT. I MEAN, WE LOOK AT THE STORMS
THAT ARE RAVAGING THROUGH TEXAS RIGHT NOW, WHERE THEY NEVER
HAD STORMS LIKE THIS BEFORE, AND SOME OF THE CLIMATE
THAT WE’RE, YOU KNOW, GETTING, EXPERIENCING AROUND THE WORLD
NOW IN DIFFERENT PARTS, IT’S COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
THAN WHAT IT HAS BEEN BEFORE. Traynham: YOU KNOW, ROS,
WE HAVE ABOUT 45 SECONDS LEFT. I THINK IT’S VERY INTERESTING, AND I’M GOING TO STEREOTYPE HERE
FOR A MOMENT, THAT A LOT OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS
OR PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE NOT PARTICULARLY INTERESTED
IN CLIMATE CHANGE. YOU’RE DEBUNKING THAT MYTH,
CORRECT? Smith: EXACTLY. EXACTLY. WE’RE VERY MUCH INTO IT, BECAUSE
WE ARE ALL AFFECTED BY THIS, AND EVEN
THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY CAN BE MORE DETRIMENTALLY
AFFECTED BY IT IF WE AREN’T CAREFUL. AND ECOLOGY AND RECYCLING —
ALL OF THIS COMES INTO PLAY, BUT THE NATURAL PART OF IT, WE
CAN PLAY A MAJOR PART IN THAT. Traynham: ROSLYN SMITH, THANK
YOU VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US, AND KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK.
Smith: THANK YOU. Traynham: AND, OF COURSE, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US
FOR THIS EDITION OF “COMCAST NEWSMAKERS”. I’M ROBERT TRAYNHAM.
HAVE A GREAT DAY, EVERYBODY. WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME.
BYE-BYE.

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