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Category Archives: Mississippi

A small community in coastal Mississippi that was founded by freed slaves in 1866 was about to be paved over- that is until it was saved on a wing and a prayer… and another wing.  Since the birth of Turkey Creek, the founders and their descendants, have suffered through natural and manmade disasters, the most recent being the burden of toxic waste and Hurricane Katrina. Now Turkey Creek faces the threat of being buried under expansion from developments and the nearby Biloxi airport. The town has already lost heritage sites to developers; the cemetery where the town’s founders lie is now a row of condos. But help is flocking to this town from an unlikely source: The Audubon society. By turning the town into a bird sanctuary, the residents are getting a new lease on their land.
The effectiveness of the Audobon society to halt the erasure of Turkey Creek on behalf of birds over the efforts of local black activists on behalf of humans left The Daily Show's Wyatt Cenac puzzled.  Watch below as he lampoons the environmental movement’s value of wildlife over humanlife.
His segment highlights the classic tension between social justice and environmentalism and hints at the debates within the respective movements. When the Audubon society gathered volunteers to build thousands of bird houses for birds affected by Katrina, that effort can be criticized as insensitive to human victims.  But Rev. Al Sharpton is misdirecting blame when he accuses the Audubon society of putting animals before people when they actually championed and advanced the preservation of Turkey Creek.
It’s a million dollar question; do the two movements need to be at odds? How do we reconcile the efforts of naturalists with the efforts of social justice workers? How can environmental justice inform both camps?


If you want the non-ironic story on Turkey Creek, check out Turkey Creek Community Initiatives.

Here is a recap from the Florida A&M University Environmental Law and Justice Symposium Nov. 11-12 at the FAMU Law School in Orlando.

Listen to Region 4 Director Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming speak during the first day of the conference.

EPA Press Release : EPA Announces Regional Administrator for Region 4!OpenDocument