Photo Display from Banff National Park. Many U.S. and Canadian national parks are closed because of the Coronavirus. 
See pages 1 and 3 (Eco Links) for environmental news.

B o r d e r l a n d s    D i g e s t
Exploring the border between chaos and cooperation:
Reading and Writing about Justice Issues
an independent monthly journal with a focus on
 the environment, immigration and criminal justice

April 2020  

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Just When They’re Needed Most, 
Clinics for the Poor Face Drastic Cutbacks
New York Times, April 4, click here
Clinics that treat the poor and uninsured are facing hard times just when they are most needed. The coronavirus pandemic has depleted their revenues.

Utah’s most popular park, Zion,
finally closes after state intervenes
Other National Parks and boat ramps on Lake Powell close
Salt Lake Tribune, April 4, click here

A Conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci
from a New York Times Article, April 2, 2020,

“I think it will be remembered of really showing what a great country we are. We have been through, as I’ve said, if you look at the history of our country, some extraordinary ordeals. I mean, world wars and diseases and depressions,” he said. “And we’ve gotten through it. I have a great deal of faith in the spirit of the American people. We’re resilient. We’re going to get over this. And this is going to end.” Dr Fauci

Trump weakens fuel economy standards, rolling back key U.S. effort against climate changeLA Times, March 31, click here

Related press release from Earth Justice

Washington, D.C. — 

The Trump administration today finalized rules around greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for new cars and light trucks. This comes despite opposition from automakers, 18 states and the District of Columbia, and a coalition of cities and counties across the country. Earthjustice has challenged a separate attempt by the Trump administration to revoke California’s authority to set stricter vehicle emissions standards. 

The following is a statement from Earthjustice attorney Paul Cort, who is the lead attorney for Earthjustice on the clean cars litigation:

“In the midst of a public health crisis, the Trump administration is once again putting oil industry profits ahead of the American people. Weakening clean car standards will dramatically increase air pollution and harm public health. Transportation is the largest source of carbon pollution in the country, and this move undercuts one of our most important tools to solve the climate crisis. We’ll see the Trump administration in court.”

The clean car standards, announced by the Obama administration in 2012, set out to cut carbon pollution from new vehicles in half by 2025. They were slated to create approximately 650,000 jobs, save consumers about $50 billion in 2030, and reduce climate pollution by 280 million metric tons in 2030.

YouTube Video


Key medical supplies were shipped from U.S. manufacturers To foreign buyers, The Intercept, April 1, Click here

WHO says following Taiwan virus response closely, after complaints, Reuters, March 27, click here (WHO- World Health Organization)

What the Coronavirus means for climate change
New York Times, March 27, click here
"Lockdowns and distancing won’t save the world from warming.
 But amid this crisis, we have a chance to build a better future."

Italy's new coronavirus cases are slowing. How soon until normal life returns? Washington Post, March 26, click here

For a capsule picture of the coronavirus 
from other countries click here
the Guardian, March 26

Trump administration urged to free migrants 
as virus surges, Washington Post, March 25, click here

Coronavirus Capitalism — and How to Beat It
8 Minute Video with Naomi Klein
from Common Dreams.org

YouTube Video


‘This Is the Wild West Out Here’

Public lands are threatened throughout the United States especially in the West where privatization efforts by the Trump administration benefit mining companies. Photo by Craig Rock

How Washington is bending over backward for mining companies in Nevada at the expense of environmental rules.  Investigation by Politico, Feb 9, click here

Other Breaking News

'Flood the Streets': ICE targets sanctuary cities with Increased surveillance, New York Times, March 5, click here
ICE has force-fed asylum seeker in El Paso for almost 3 months, Tucson Sentinel, March 4, click here

Judge: Border Patrol's detention conditions in Arizona 'violate the Constitution'   Tucson Sentinel, February 19, click here

Compromised encryption machines gave CIA window into major human rights abuses in South America Click here to read the full story in the Washington Post, Feb 17.

Greyhound could say no to Border Patrol if it wanted, memo shows, Los Angeles Times, Feb 14, click here

Border Patrol will deploy elite tactical units to sanctuary cities -Agents from a special tactical team that normally confronts smugglers on the border are being sent to sanctuary cities across the country. New York Times, Feb 14, click here

Greta Thunberg at the United Nations

 "How dare you! You have stolen my dreams,
 and my childhood, with your empty words..."

YouTube Video

See the United Nations press release on the Eco Links page

From the Sierra Club Borderlands

Sign the Petition! Stop the Wall, Prevent the Spread!

Please sign the petition below from the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) demanding that the federal government stop condemning private land and building walls with large crews that could be infecting border communities with COVID-19. Border walls harm our communities and the environment, and building them now is likely spreading the deadly new coronavirus.

Sign and share the petition: bit.ly/cancelthewall

You can also share TCRP’s Facebook post about their letter signed by more than 100 organizations demanding an immediate end to wall construction. And they have a tweet you can share right now!

We have teamed up with the ACLU and Southern Border Communities Coalition to sue to stop the new border walls that are being funded by an end run around Congress. We are working to add the new walls mentioned above to our lawsuit, so we can hopefully stop them, too. We had a hearing at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on March 10, but as we await that decision and the appeals process to the Supreme Court, illegal border wall construction continues unabated. In a separate lawsuit, a small portion of wall funding was blocked in a Washington court, specifically related to submarine base funding in that state that was plundered for use on the wall.

Bonus: Hilarious Video About the Heartbreaking Wall

YouTube Video

Fighting for Real Justice
a report by Earth Justice

"This report, “Fighting for Real Justice,” examines actions of the Trump administration and Congress that threaten people’s ability to have their day in court. These dangerous policies, being pursued at the behest of powerful corporate and ideological interests, seek to diminish the role of the courts in securing important public protections for individuals, workers, families, communities, and the environment, with particularly profound implications for already marginalized groups."  Click here to read the full report

Let there be hope in this month of April
by Craig Rock, editor

There is nothing to joke about on this April Fools Day.  Yes, President Trump didn't react fast enough on several fronts, obviously costing many lives.  Yes, we should never again have such a selfish and psychologically unfit person as president. But we probably will, someday, hopefully hundreds of years into the future. Right now though, we have to work together to bring this Covid-19 to an end.

Six feet apart or six feet under

Can we do something as simple as keeping six feet apart? Will citizens, private industry and government realize that we have to work together as partners not customers and clients for increased sales opportunities. Will we help provide and protect medical staff, equipment, and supplies to deal with this and future world-wide emergencies.  And this is a virus. 

What about the way we treat our planet, our air, our water, and our people?  For example, Trump continues to use his power during this crisis by attempting to roll back fuel economy standards for new auto production (see links and info in the column to the left). What will we do when our air is so deadly that masks aren't sufficient, that we have to wear oxygen rebreathers to make our air acceptable. I'm sure the latest model of rebreather will be very stylish and compact for those who can afford it.  And a new model will come out every year! Or will the wealthy simply be self-quarantined to higher elevations with even more restricted neighborhoods than we have now.

Am I being an alarmist about air and water quality? Would we even have guessed that this Covid-19 virus would be anything but a plot in a fictional movie or TV series. Can we even afford a president who determines his actions and measures his effectiveness by his news shows ratings? Or by his cronies who so easily choose the health of the economy (actually their personal fortunes) over the health and welfare of our people! Or lawmakers with "insider" information about when to sell or buy certain stocks! 

Just maybe we can learn from this disaster, and the sick will get well, the unemployed will go back to work, and those who illegally tried to take advantage of this tragedy will go to prison for a very long time.

Related Articles

Pelosi announces new select committee to oversee coronavirus response, setting up clash with Trump over $2 trillion law, Move comes after Trump sought to limit powers of new inspector general, Washington Post, April 2, click here

Read a recent NY Times Article on how the EPA is using the Coronavirus pandemic to relax many environmental laws by "allowing power plants, factories and other facilities to determine for themselves if they are able to meet legal requirements on reporting air and water pollution."  Click here

Journal Contents 
Editor Craig Rock, duniterock@gmail.com, send in your stories, poems and photos by the 24th of the month. Click on most images to enlarge.
(Pages are accessible from links at the top and bottom of each page.)

Page 1 - Recent news links; updated stories.

Page 2 -  Art and its connections to justice issues through non-fiction, fiction, poetry, photography, history, exhibits and other formats.

Page 3 - Older News Links and press releases including Keeping an Eye on Big Brother;  Some Ways to Help Migrant Children; Dangers of Keeping Asylum Seekers in Mexico; Amnesty International's report on Humanitarian Aid; More Food for thought.

 Page 4 Eco Links (Environment - Links and Reports) -
More Press Releases from Environmental Groups and the United Nations. Links to Interesting Websites.

Press Release KINO BORDER INITIATIVE  March 18, 2020

KBI Denounces Expedited Returns To Mexico

The Kino Border Initiative denounces the Trump administration’s announcement that it will send asylum-seekers and people in migration to Mexico without any due process.

It is our collective responsibility to promote and protect all people’s safety and health in these unprecedented times. However, ceasing access to asylum for those arriving at ports of entry and sending all migrants quickly back to Mexico—whose officials were not informed of the plan—does not honor the interests of public health, border security, or international obligations. Migrants and asylum-seekers subject to this policy are coming from places where rates of infection from the virus are far lower than they are in the United States; they are placing themselves in greater danger by attempting to migrate. This speaks to the gravity of the situations they are fleeing.

We must continue to act with decency at this time and expand on our obligation to respect human rights and due process. The administration’s plan effectively eliminates asylum and due process. It leaves thousands of people in legal and humanitarian limbo in Mexico and disregards how this will affect communities south of the border. Above all, it will not make our interconnected communities safer from the virus. We call on the administration to reconsider their plan and to act with decency, honor international obligations, and keep everyone safe.

The administration has been continually focused on ways to stoke fear of migrants, eliminate access to long-held protections, and dramatically reduce due process. The latest announcement uses the pandemic as a pretext to advance its dangerous goals. This is a moment to come together, recognize the ways in which we are connected, and care for one another. In the words of our partners at the Jesuit Migration Network, “Solidarity is the most effective of protocols.”

For more information on the Kino Border Initiative, click here

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Press Release April 2, 2020

Pakistan court overturns murder convictions 
in Daniel Pearl case
Washington, D.C., April 2, 2020--In response to the decision of the Sindh High Court in Pakistan to overturn the murder convictions of four men accused in the 2002 killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:

“The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply disappointed to see justice in the murder case of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl denied by a Pakistani court today,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “We urge prosecutors to appeal the decision, which found Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh guilty only of kidnapping Pearl in a crime that led directly to his murder.”

Sheikh, who had previously faced a death sentence, had his sentence reduced to seven years for the crime of kidnapping, which could lead to his release shortly since he has been in prison since 2002. The court also overturned the convictions of three others in the case.

More April Alerts from the CPJ, click here for more info on:

Iraqi regulator suspends Reuters’ license for 3 months over COVID-19 report

(India) Uttar Pradesh starts criminal probe into The Wire editor for alleged 'discord' during COVID-19 lockdown

Hamas security forces repeatedly detain Palestinian cartoonist Ismael el-Bozom

Myanmar orders dozens of news websites blocked in crackdown on ‘fake news’

Press Release News Literacy Project

The News Literacy Project produces a free guide for developing news literacy education programs

Washington, Feb. 26, 2019 — A free, comprehensive guide to developing news literacy education programs is now available worldwide. The News Literacy Project, a U.S.-based nonpartisan education nonprofit, has produced Give Facts a Fighting Chance: A Global Playbook for Teaching News Literacy to help organizations begin or expand news literacy programs to help counter the relentless spread of misinformation and disinformation. This guide was created with funding from the Facebook Journalism Project.

“We believe that news literacy education is the most effective approach to stemming the global pandemic of misinformation,” says Alan C. Miller, founder and CEO of the News Literacy Project. “The Global Playbook distills what the News Literacy Project has learned in a decade in news literacy education into a practical resource for developing programs that will succeed.”

“Making news literacy education accessible around the world is critical to combating the spread of misinformation,” says Julia Bain of Facebook’s News Partnerships division. “The Global Playbook is a valuable new asset to the news literacy ecosystem and will help support an informed community.”

The Global Playbook provides a road map for developing a news literacy education curriculum, including advice on the logistics of establishing a program, ideas for building engaging and culturally relevant lessons, and the importance of assessing results.

It offers a brief history of misinformation, disinformation and “fake news,” using real-world examples, and discusses the standards of quality journalism and the vital role of the press in a free society. It also includes a collection of best practices in news literacy education, along with a listing of geographically relevant news literacy resources.

About the News Literacy Project

The News Literacy Project, a U.S.-based nonpartisan education nonprofit, empowers educators to teach students the skills they need to become smart, active consumers of news and other information and engaged, informed participants in civic life. Its signature offering is the Checkology®virtual classroom, an enhanced e-learning platform where students in middle school and high school learn the critical-thinking skills they need to assess the torrent of information that they encounter every day. Since it launched in 2016, more than 17,000 educatorsin all 50 states, the District of Columbia, three U.S. territories and more than 100 other countries have registered to use Checkology. In 2018, support from the Facebook Journalism Project enabled the News Literacy Project to significantly expand and enhance the Checkology platform.

An Earth Justice report, FEBRUARY 27, 2020,


Bill developed through years-long process led by communities on the front lines of environmental degradation

Washington, D.C. — House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) introduced the Environmental Justice for All Act, landmark legislation to combat environmental racism and disparate impacts affecting frontline communities nationwide.

The following is a statement from Martin Hayden, Vice President of Policy and Legislation at Earthjustice:

“We cannot confront the legacy of environmental racism in the United States unless we listen to the voices of the people most harmed by it. If we do, however, we can ensure that everyone has the right to drink clean water, breathe clean air, and live without fear of the poisonous effects of toxic chemicals.

“We commend Chairman Grijalva and Representative McEachin for the proposal they released today and the landmark process they used to create it. It represents a bold and necessary shift in the way we create federal environmental policy — it is the result of a serious and years-long effort to put the expertise and concerns of the people experiencing the worst of pollution and climate change first. Earthjustice commends all of the environmental justice advocates who contributed to this legislation and looks forward to similar efforts in the future.”

The Environmental Justice for All Act creates a Federal Energy Transition Economic Development Assistance Fund — paid for by new fees on oil, gas and coal companies — to support communities and workers as they transition away from greenhouse gas-dependent economies. The bill expands legal rights for underserved communities and creates new federal grants and program authority to address environmental racism and disparate impacts nationwide.

Environmental Justice Convening (House Natural Resources Committee)


Update on "Remain in Mexico" Refugee Policy, New York Times, March 11,2020

Supreme Court Revives ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy for Asylum Seekers

A federal appeals court had found that the policy, which was put in place early last year, violated federal and international law. Click here to read the full article.