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ARTICLES ON ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE JUSTICE

Earth Day Is Here. Mother Earth Is Pissed. We Need to Get Busy.

by Jess Clarke

It’s tempting to blame Donald Trump for the fact that the US was woefully underprepared for this pandemic, but getting caught up in a manufactured made-for-TV surreality show could kill us. Our most urgent task is to reimagine our social order, our economic policies and our relationship to planet earth.

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Until the Streets of the Hood Flood with Green

By Kelly Curry

This is an excerpt from the book Until the Streets of the Hood Flood with Green co-published by Reimainge! and Freedom Voices.

My father was Horatio Alger… or at least the kind of character made famous by the Horatio Alger, the 19th century writer who chronicled through his fiction the archetype of the poor boy who works his way up from very little to achieve great riches, respect and love from the community. When my dad was a kid, America was still a place where this could happen. America was a place where the ethos and consciousness of many of its citizens understood and valued equal participation.

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Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River Fire — 50 Years Later

By Laife Janovyak

©2018 Lisa Meranti. Yoga at the mouth of the river on lake Erie.50 years ago, the Cuyahoga River suffered its final industrial river fire, and the nation read about it in Time Magazine. Out of this depiction, a deeply negative regional identity was born, one that stubbornly clings to Cleveland regardless of its historical half-truthfulness. Despite the reality that the same thing happens on industrial rivers elsewhere then and now, and that the blaze was nowhere near the first or even the largest fire to burn on the Cuyahoga, Cleveland became known as “the mistake on the lake.”

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The Economics of Climate Change

By Noam Chomsky

Last June, a group of MIT scientists released the results of what they describe as the most comprehensive modeling of how much hotter the Earth’s climate will get in this century. It shows that “without rapid and massive action, the problem will be about twice as severe as previously estimated” a couple of years ago. It could be even worse than that because their model does not fully incorporate positive feedbacks that can occur, such as the melting of permafrost in the Arctic regions caused by the increased temperature. It will release huge amounts of methane, which is worse than carbon dioxide. 

“There’s no way the world can or should take these risks,” says the lead scientist on the project. “The least-cost option to lower the risk is to start now and steadily transform the global energy system over the coming decades to low or zero greenhouse gas-emitting technologies.”

At present there’s very little sign of that happening. Furthermore, while new technologies are essential, the problems go well beyond that. In fact, they go beyond the current technical debates in Congress about how to work out cap-and-trade devices. We have to face something more far-reaching—the need to reverse the huge state-corporate and social engineering projects of the post-Second World War period, which very consciously promoted an energy-wasting and environmentally destructive fossil fuel economy.

Amazon Delivers Low-Paying Jobs and Dirty Air to California

By Jess Clarke

Bloomington residents and environmental advocates gather outside the San Bernardino County Government Center in February 2018 to protest warehouse development plans. ©2018 Anthony Victoria

Amazon, long known for its low pay and bad labor practices at the company’s fulfillment centers, is starting to feel some heat. One of the largest trade unions in the United Kingdom, GMB, is staging ongoing protests, the SEIU has launched a “Warehouse Workers Stand Up” campaign in New Jersey and Sen. Bernie Sanders has introduced the Stop BEZOS Act. The legislation would recapture the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars provided by the US Treasury for health coverage, food stamps and other government payments to Amazon workers.

Solidarity to Solutions: San Bernardino Groups Take on Warehouse Pollution

Graciela Larios ©2018 Anthony Victoria

"These diesel trucks are going to go in our neighborhoods, regardless if you're in Bloomington, Jurupa Valley, Fontana. These warehouses are going everywhere.... The beauty of this environmental justice struggle that we’re all fighting is that we’re not alone.... the beauty of it is getting the people together. We don't got money, but we got that people power." Chela Larios

Transcript

Jess Clarke: Please welcome Chela from the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice from the Inland Empire. Coming at you from San Francisco Sol2Sol convening in the face of Jerry Brown’s West Coast world summit of climate inaction. Chela, what’s your full name?

Fresno Residents Choking on Amazon’s Dust Demand Rights

Leo Macias ©2018 Leadership CounselAn   interview by Jess Clarke with Leo Martinez Macias

As the online retail market continues to expand, massive warehouse and distribution facilities are being plopped down in communities already overburdened by hazardous wastes, industrial and agricultural pollution. In Fresno California the city council recently permitted three million square feet of construction in what the California EPA measures as the most environmentally burdened census tract in California. Neighbors weren’t notified about the project until construction had already begun. Jess Clarke sat down with a local resident, and an attorney advocate who have been battling this new pollution source in their community.

Governor Brown is Not Green

California EJ Communities Bear Brunt of Bad Policies
By Eric K. Arnold

Governor Brown at 2014 press conference on budget allocations. Courtsey of business.ca.gov.At the Paris climate summit, California Governor Jerry Brown played up his reputation as a progressive visionary—one of America’s most experienced politicians on environmental issues. He met with world leaders, did a photo-op with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and gave a speech to graduate students about climate awareness, saying, “we’re talking about a different kind of life, a life not based on oil, and a life not based on so much emphasis on the individual as opposed to the common good.”1

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