With the stark realities of the Climate Crisis weighing on the planet, we are acutely aware that communities of color have historically and continue to bear the brunt of the negative impacts of climate change – often referred to as Environmental Justice Communities. In fact, with the pending widening of Interstate 26 through the neighborhood, the Burton Street Community has been designated by NCDOT as an environmental justice population.
One of our mottos at HHI is “Focus not on your barriers, but your creative maneuvers around them!” So we’re cultivating and creating pipelines of support and platforms of practice that lift individuals and communities while remaining environmentally aligned and conscious. HHI is building out the CAP Framework by partnering with local universities (UNCA, Warren Wilson, & NC State), local organizations (Mountain True, Asheville Greenworks, AIRE, & Solarize Asheville), and countless individuals to create youth-centered community initiatives, activities and field-trips that deepen our understanding of and lessen our negative impacts on the environment. We’re making restoring the planet a universal sport!
- Smith Mill Creek Greenway – In 2010, the Burton Street Community identified the opportunity to create the Smith Mill Creek Greenway. Located parallel to Patton Avenue in West Asheville, Smith Mill Creek connects the Burton St., Brucemont and Falconhurst neighborhoods. Though not yet constructed, it is currently included in the City of Asheville’s Greenway Masterplan.
- Neighborhood community garden network including Peace Gardens & Market, Martha Jane’s Garden, and The Vine Community Garden.
- Various residents’ homes that have been a part of the Solarize Asheville initiative.
HHI-Under Instruction: a neighborhood youth program based on experiential learning that engages youth in identifying, restoring, and maintaining important community infrastructure, as well as providing hands-on learning and skill building that prepare youth to enter the workforce or launch their own entrepreneurial venture.
- Local: City of Asheville declares a climate emergency (Resolution 20-25) and establishes the Climate Justice Initiative.
- State: NC DOT’S Final Environmental Impact Statement for I-26 Expansion: Chapter 4 designates the Burton Street Community as an Environmental Justice Population.
- National: President Biden issues Executive Order to tackle the climate crisis.
International: Global Strategy on Climate Change issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).