Indigenous Resistance to Resource Colonization Worldwide

the fire started, I believe, Tuesday. We got the alert. It was really rapid, within like 15 minutes. There were like four — three or four evacuation notices that came out, just like literally in rapid fire. You would, like, call somebody to check, and then there’d be another street that was being evacuated because of the massive winds that were happening.

The firefighters are doing incredible to try to keep, you know, as many homes safe as possible, but there’s definitely been loss of homes and loss of property and loss of — just a lot of loss. You know, you hear stories about families who had a 1-year-old, and all they could grab on their way out the door was the child, you know, and so they’ve lost everything.

But this community really is incredible and helping everybody get together and stand together in it. On Tuesday, you know, I was out trying to help clear brush from places, especially with elders who had a hard time getting underneath their porches. But yeah, it’s pretty close. It’s moved a little bit further at the moment. But for about two days the sky was just full of smoke.

— source | Apr 22, 2022

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Nebraska ethanol plant turned seeds into toxic waste

Jody Weible keeps a jar on her front porch that she refuses to open, because the smell would make her eyes water and her throat close up. Inside is a goopy mixture of fermented corn seeds that she collected nearly four years ago from a field near her home in Mead, Nebraska, a town of about 600 people. The seeds had been applied to the soil as an “amendment” to boost fertility, but they were actually waste from a nearby ethanol plant, AltEn — waste that contained staggeringly high levels of toxic pesticides.

For nearly a decade, AltEn collected leftover seeds from around the country to use as the base for its ethanol, a corn-based fuel that’s mixed into gasoline. A byproduct was the fermented seed mixture, stored in a pastel-green pile that at one point took up 30 acres of the property. The smell it gave off was “acidic, rotten, dead,” Weible told Grist from her home less than a mile away from the plant. Residents kept their windows closed because of the stench; birds stopped coming to feeders. One woman said her dogs started having neurological problems after eating some of the waste.

The seeds AltEn used were coated with a class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids, or “neonics,” an insecticide that’s been linked to a nationwide pollinator decline and is

— source | Diana Kruzman | Apr 21, 2022

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Rich countries are illegally exporting plastic trash to poor countries

At the beginning of last year, 187 countries took steps to limit the export of plastic trash from wealthy to developing countries. It’s not working as well as they hoped. According to an analysis of global trade data by the nonprofit Basel Action Network, or BAN, violations of a U.N. agreement regulating the international plastic waste trade have been “rampant” over the past year. Since January 1, 2021, when new new rules were supposed to begin clamping down on countries that ship their plastic refuse abroad, the U.S., Canada, and the European Union have offloaded hundreds of millions of tons of plastic to other countries, where much of it may be landfilled, burned, or littered into the environment.

The regulations in question are part of the Basel Convention, a framework designed to control the international movement of waste that is designated “hazardous.” In the years after it was first adopted in 1989, the convention covered substances such as mercury and pesticides. But in 2019, signatories to the convention agreed to add new guidance for

— source | Apr 15, 2022

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Black people are dying from coronavirus — air pollution is one of the main culprits

During the turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re hearing often from our leaders that “we’re all in this together.” While true, some of us are in it more than others; black Americans are dying at a faster rate from the novel coronavirus than other groups. There are many reasons for this disparity, but a big one that’s getting too little notice is one of the many systemic failures endangering black Americans: their exposure to air pollution.

Harvard researchers recently found that even the smallest increase of exposure to a common air pollutant is associated with a 15 percent increase in the death rate from COVID-19 (on top of increased risk of lung cancer and heart problems). Fossil fuel plants are among the top emitters of this particle, along with other pollutants that can cause or worsen asthma and shortness of breath. Partly due to a history of redlining, African Americans live closer to fossil fuel infrastructure than the rest of the population: A 2017 joint report from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Clean Air Task Force found that more than a million African Americans live within a half-mile of an oil and gas facility.

— source | Jared DeWese | 05/24/20

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Air pollution makes it tough for pollinators to stop and smell the flowers

Common air pollutants such as those found in car exhaust fumes react with floral scents, leading to reduced pollination by insects, according to new research. Researchers used a fumigation facility to control levels of pollution over an open field of mustard plants and observed the effects of these pollutants on pollination by local, free-flying insects. The presence of air pollution resulted in up to 90% fewer flower visits and one-third less pollination than in a smog-free field. The largest decrease in pollination came from bees, flies, moths and butterflies.

— source | Liz Kimbrough | 10 Feb 2022

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How a powerful company convinced Georgia to let it bury toxic waste in groundwater

For the past several years, Georgia Power has gone to great lengths to skirt the federal rule requiring coal-fired power plants to safely dispose of massive amounts of toxic waste they produced.

But previously unreported documents obtained by ProPublica show that the company’s efforts were more extensive than publicly known. Thousands of pages of internal government correspondence and corporate filings show how Georgia Power made an elaborate argument as to why it should be allowed to store waste produced before 2020 in a way that wouldn’t fully protect surrounding communities’ water supplies from contamination — and that would save the company potentially billions of dollars in cleanup costs.

In a series of closed-door meetings with state environmental regulators, the powerful utility even went so far as to challenge the definition of the word “infiltration” in relation to how groundwater can seep into disposal sites holding underground coal ash, according to documents obtained through multiple open records requests.

— source | Max Blau | Feb 12, 2022

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Proprietary Software is Pollution

Proprietary waste

It remains mostly unnoticed that proprietary (non-free) technology is an indirect but enormous contributor to planetary pollution through e-waste and inefficiency. If you value the environment, stop buying it.

Electronic waste is wrecking planet Earth. 50 million tons of phones, household appliances, computers and gadgets are disposed of annually. Most of it is illegally shipped to India, China and Africa where it’s shredded and burned by child workers who are poisoned. Large amounts of toxic “forever chemicals”, dioxins, micro-plastics and heavy metals are released into the environment poisoning life all around the planet. (See Dannoritzer 2014 Dannoritzer14)

But we need technology, so what can you do? Well, one cause is that software goes out of

— source | Andy Farnell | 01.24.22

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Clothes dryers are an underappreciated source of airborne microfibers

Although it’s known that washing clothes releases microfibers into wastewater, it’s unclear how drying impacts the environment. Now, a pilot study in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology Letters reports that a single dryer could discharge up to 120 million microfibers annually — considerably more than from washing machines.

Microfibers can come from natural fabrics, such as cotton, or synthetic ones, such as polyester — which are also considered to be microplastics. Releasing microfibers into the environment is a concern because they can adsorb and transport pollutants long distances. And the fibers themselves can be irritants if they are ingested or inhaled. Previous studies have shown that microfibers are released from clothes washers into laundry water, but this waste is treated, removing some or most of the fibers before the water is discharged into rivers or streams. However, there’s very little information about whether dryers, whose air passes through a duct and is vented directly to the outdoors, are an important source of airborne microfibers and microplastic contamination in nature.

— source American Chemical Society | Jan 12, 2022

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Ghosts of Polluters Past

The hot, dry Santa Ana winds that whip through Orange County’s Logan barrio are fierce and temperamental. In the mid-20th century, they’d deliver gusts forceful enough to wreak havoc throughout the Southern California region, destroying orange crops, uprooting trees, downing power lines, and upending lives. But in the Logan neighborhood, one of the city of Santa Ana’s poorest barrios at the time, children like Cecelia Andrade Rodriguez eagerly awaited the wind’s arrival in the fall.

On days when the winds rushed through Logan, Andrade Rodriguez and her friends would race to gather carton barrels discarded by a business in the neighborhood, which at the time was squeezed between a pair of railroad tracks and adjacent to the Interstate 5 freeway. She remembers how she’d drag a barrel to the fence in the Logan Elementary School yard, then crawl into the tube and wait for a gust of wind to blast her across the playground. The children sailed as far as the winds would take them, letting their imaginations carry them to places that they couldn’t go, outside the boundaries of this tiny barrio, home to generations of Mexican Americans who helped build the city.

Logan has been described as the Plymouth Rock of Santa Ana, a predominantly Latino city now home to about 335,000 people, because it’s where the city’s earliest Mexican and

— source | Yvette Cabrera

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