Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx) works to address economic and environmental issues in the South Bronx – and throughout New York City – through a combination of green job training, community greening programs, and social enterprise.
Founded in 2001, Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx) began out of a desire to advocate for parks and green development in the South Bronx and to promote environmental justice in a neighborhood that has borne, and continues to bear, a heavy environmental burden for the rest of the city. Every weekday, 15,000 trucks pass through the neighborhood – and produce toxic air pollution – on their way to and from the Hunts Point Market, one of the world’s largest food distribution centers. Facilities in the South Bronx also handle 100% of the waste produced in the Bronx and 23% of all of the city’s commercial waste. Emissions from four power plants additionally contribute to the local air pollution. SSBx’s earliest efforts played a major role in the development of the South Bronx Greenway, which has significantly increased the recreational space, expanded the waterfront access, and improved transportation safety in the South Bronx. We remain very engaged in the development and stewardship of the Greenway.
SSBx’s work has evolved over the past decade and now reflects the belief that the environmental challenges facing the South Bronx cannot be separated from the neighborhood’s economic and social concerns. Over the past 10 years, SSBx has broadened its focus by linking environmental restoration to the economic needs of low-income New Yorkers who are seeking a fresh start. Today, the mission of SSBx is to address economic and environmental issues in the South Bronx – and throughout New York City – through a combination of green job training, community greening programs, and social enterprise.
We currently have five programs dedicated to improving the environment and the economic prospects of South Bronx residents:
- BEST Academy. Our award-winning green job training program has graduated more than 400 New Yorkers since 2003.
- SmartRoofs. Our social enterprise simultaneously improves the city’s environment and creates opportunities for BEST Academy graduates.
- Bronx Energy Efficiency. This program is dedicated to promoting energy audits and retrofits throughout the borough.
- Policy and Planning. This program includes our work on the South Bronx Greenway as well as our collaborations with other environmental justice organizations.
- Education. In addition to working with South Bronx students on a variety of projects, we will soon launch our new AirCasting program.
The events of the recent past, especially Hurricane Sandy, have highlighted how New York City’s environment and its economic future are linked. As the city rebounds from Sandy and prepares for its future, we at SSBx are excited to continue our current work while also developing new ideas for making the South Bronx — and the entire city — more healthy and more sustainable.