Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins is the chief executive officer of Green For All.

Keep It Fresh: On the Campus Consciousness Tour with Wiz Khalifa

While you were brushing your teeth this morning, did you ever, for a moment, think that the water coming out of your faucet would make you nauseous or damage your kidneys? Probably not. But, unfortunately, not everyone has that luxury. One in three people lack access to quality water. At least fourteen states are currently experiencing crisis-level water shortages and contamination. And, the nation’s water infrastructure is outdated and crumbling, putting our fresh water supply at risk. Clearly, there is a need for action; every child deserves to grow up with access to clean water. That’s why, on this World …

The Men Who Cried Wolf

If a fire broke out in your office right now, would you know what to do? Would you know where to go? You likely would, thanks in large part to codes requiring fire exits and fire drills. Today, we accept these basic standards without even pausing; they are plain common sense rules government has developed to benefit and protect the public. But, as crazy as it sounds, there was a time when fire codes were considered burdensome regulations by businesses — employees had to risk their lives just to go to work. A century ago this month, for example, near …

In defense of progress: pushing back the ideologues

Progress is a slog. It always is: occasionally pushed forward by a burst of energy; often knocked backward by opposition. In politics, it’s an evolutionary process that depends on gradual re-alignment and re-consideration of views. Consider pollution. At the beginning of the 20th century, the new factories driving the Industrial Revolution emitted a constant stream of smoke and soot, turning the skies over and surfaces of many cities black and hazardous. Consider employment. In that same time period, children worked 14-hour days to bring home a pittance to perennially impoverished parents. The advent of unions that could provide a voice …

Set the Alarm Clock: Don’t Sleep Through the Green Revolution

Originally posted on The Great Energy Challenge “There is nothing more tragic than to sleep through a revolution.” The revolution Dr. King spoke of in his speech at the National Cathedral in 1968 was one of the most transformative of the 20th Century – the painful transition from a racially divided America to an America stitched together, however roughly. But the sentiment holds true for every revolution. Today, there’s another revolution underway – a revolution that is restructuring America’s energy future. It’s changing the way we work and live. In this time of rapid change, all those caught sleeping, or …

On your 40th anniversary, thank you EPA

Forty years ago today, the Environmental Protection Agency was created. It’s fitting that the anniversary falls just one week after Thanksgiving, because every American from every state should be grateful for the Agency’s work. Consider that by 1990, the EPA’s actions had prevented 205,000 premature American deaths, 189,000 cardiovascular hospitalizations and 18 million child respiratory illnesses. The EPA has reduced 60% of dangerous air pollutants in the air we breathe. They have transformed 67% of contaminated Superfund Brownfield sites nationwide into livable neighborhoods and active business centers. In the four decades of its existence, millions of lives have been impacted …

all along the watertower

When I learned that water isn't supposed to have a taste

Turning on your faucet shouldn't be a high-risk venture. Cities and towns shouldn't have to worry that the water lost in leaky pipes will mean ongoing shortages or usage restrictions. But these concerns are already cropping up in communities throughout the country -- and they will only become more common as decades of neglect to our water infrastructure begin to catch up with us.

Prop 23: Green Jobs vs. Dirty Energy

In our moments of hope, we look to and count on our elected officials to make the right decision. In our moments of cynicism, we fear that they will instead make wrong decisions in order to make nebulously defined “special interests” happy. So when our elected officials take bold action on critical issues, it’s important to stand behind them. And when that bold leadership comes under threat from actual, powerful, wealthy interests, it is imperative that we come to our representatives’ defense. On November 2, Californians will have a chance to do just that. Proposition 23 is a ballot measure …

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins: Five Years After Katrina, the Gulf Is Showing All of Us the Way Forward

As August draws to a close, we face a somber, sobering anniversary. Five years ago, on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. The storm — and the horrifying ineptitude of the relief efforts before, during, and after — left the region devastated. Most of those who died or were abandoned to “sink or swim” were poor people, people of color, or both. Since that day, the Gulf Region has spent five years showing us where America is falling short. Starting with Katrina — and continuing with Hurricanes Rita, Ike, and Gustav — we …

how crude

BP's Gulf oil waste being dumped on communities of color

We now know where the oil removed from the Gulf waters went. And a disproportionate amount is being dumped in communities of color.

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