Birmingham for Sustainable Travelers

The power of sustainable travel can trump even the murkiest of reputations. The idea of sustainable travel to Birmingham may seem like some sort of oxymoron to some sustainable travel enthusiasts. Like many other cities with a rather tainted past, Birmingham, Alabama is infamous for being the epicenter of the grueling Civil Rights Movement. In recent times, Birmingham, Alabama has become stigmatized under yet another cloud of negativity. The southern city happens to be home to some of the highest concentrations of obesity in the country. And as if that weren’t enough, the region is also known to have some of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the country. Such a negative image may take down a weaker city, but Birmingham happens to have some of the most progressive minds in the country that truly understand the need for a complete effort to promote and practice sustainability. Learn more about how Birmingham is changing its image and how sustainable travel to the reason can help its metamorphosis gain even more traction.

BUGS Community Gardens is a community effort to create a culture of sustainability around Birmingham, Alabama. Supported by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), BUGS Community Garden has the ambitious yet attainable goal of bringing sustainability to low- income areas of Birmingham. This is a fully loaded mission statement that is automatically clarified through sustainable travel to the area. Unlike other admirable programs, BUGS Community Gardens addresses ideals that serve as a foundation for a true embrace of sustainable living. By teaching students and community members the importance of community, applied math and science, and other important fundamentals, members of Birmingham’s low- income areas realize the value in their natural surroundings. By instilling this feeling of pride and responsibility, principles of sustainability are then applied through the creation of community gardens. About a dozen community gardens have been created and are maintained across Birmingham. Through volunteers willing to make BUGS one of their sustainable travel stops, this program is able to continue to push the boundaries of sustainability.

The image of sustainability is often that of white, affluent individuals who have plenty of disposable income to not only care about themselves, but their environment as well. African Americans or Latinos who barely make enough to pay rent aren’t intuitive personas commonly associated with a sustainable lifestyle. If our society is to fully operate as a sustainable society in the future, every ethnicity and socioeconomic group must be educated about sustainable living, and each group must believe in the value of living in a way that is less detrimental to our health as well as the environment. Sustainable travel plans to Birmingham will prove to be an active step towards achieving this goal.

Photo Credit: kthread