Majora Carter redefined the field of environmental equality, starting in the South Bronx at the turn of the century. Now she is leading the local economic development movement across the USA.

Why you should listen

Majora Carter is a visionary voice in city planning who views urban renewal through an environmental lens. The South Bronx native draws a direct connection between ecological, economic and social degradation. Hence her motto: "Green the ghetto!"

With her inspired ideas and fierce persistence, Carter managed to bring the South Bronx its first open-waterfront park in 60 years, Hunts Point Riverside Park. Then she scored $1.25 million in federal funds for a greenway along the South Bronx waterfront, bringing the neighborhood open space, pedestrian and bike paths, and space for mixed-use economic development.

Her success is no surprise to anyone who's seen her speak; Carter's confidence, energy and intensely emotional delivery make her talks themselves a force of nature. (The release of her TEDTalk in 2006 prompted Guy Kawasaki to wonder on his blog whether she wasn't "every bit as good as [Apple CEO] Steve Jobs," a legendary presenter.)

Carter, who was awarded a 2005 MacArthur "genius" grant, served as executive director of Sustainable South Bronx for 7 years, where she pushed both for eco-friendly practices (such as green and cool roofs) and, equally important, job training and green-related economic development for her vibrant neighborhood on the rise. Since leaving SSBx in 2008, Carter has formed the economic consulting and planning firm the Majora Carter Group, to bring her pioneering approach to communities far outside the South Bronx. Carter is working within the cities of New Orleans, Detroit and the small coastal towns of Northeastern North Carolina. The Majora Carter Group is putting the green economy and green economic tools to use, unlocking the potential of every place -- from urban cities and rural communities, to universities, government projects, businesses and corporations -- and everywhere else in between.

What others say

“We could not fail to be inspired by Majora Carter's efforts to bring green space for exercise to the South Bronx. We need more ideas like these to bring solutions to minority communities.” — Time

Majora Carter’s TED talks

Majora Carter on the TED Blog
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TEDx

Judy Bonds: Majora Carter remembers

January 6, 2011

This week, Judy Bonds — whose work and life Majora Carter describes movingly in her latest TEDTalk — died after a battle with cancer. Bonds founded Coal River Mountain Watch, which fought coal companies that were strip-mining her home county, and proposed a thrilling alternative: wind power. She won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2003 […]

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Go behind the scenes of a TEDTalk

July 15, 2009

It’s our third anniversary of posting TEDTalks free to the world! We started in June 2006 with our first six talks — including Sir Ken Robinson, Al Gore, Majora Carter … Three years and 486 talks later, we hope you’ll enjoy this mini-documentary, “Behind the TEDTalk.” It stars TED Curator Chris Anderson and the TED […]

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4 great talks for International Women's Day

March 8, 2009

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]

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Quotes from Majora Carter

As a black person in America, I am twice as likely as a white person to live in an area where air pollution poses the greatest risk to my health. I am five times more likely to live within walking distance of a power plant or chemical facility — which I do.
Majora Carter
TED2006 • 1M views Jun 2006
Inspiring, Courageous
Environmental justice [means that] no community should be saddled with more environmental burdens and less environmental benefits than any other.
Majora Carter
TED2006 • 1M views Jun 2006
Inspiring, Courageous
My big brother Lenny fought in Vietnam, only to be gunned down a few blocks from our home [in the South Bronx].
Majora Carter
TED2006 • 1M views Jun 2006
Inspiring, Courageous