Borderlands Digest

Reading, Writing and Photography about

Justice, the Environment, Chaos,

and Cooperation in North America.

March and April, 2022

Craig Rock, editor and photographer,

All images and writings copyrighted by the editor unless otherwise noted.

Use above email for permission to use material for non-commercial use.

What is Borderlands Digest?

Welcome to the online journal Borderlands Digest. This site is designed for teachers, journalists, community organizers, social justice groups and others who are focused on improving the quality of life in their communities. Stories, poems, and photographs center on the environment and people in the culturally diverse communities of North America. With a focus on the environment, criminal justice, and immigration, this digest/journal centers on three failures in modern day U.S.A.:

  • The failure of lawmakers to regulate businesses that pollute our air and water.

  • The failure of lawmakers to control gun violence including killings by governments, criminals, and the mentally ill.

  • the failure of our country to grant citizenship to the 800,000 young people who are temporarily protected from deportation by DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

Use the email that follows to subscribe to this free publication. Articles, poetry and photos are welcome. For consideration or for a free subscription to this newsletter, send me an email at

From the editor

Watching War and Politicians

by Craig Rock, Editor

It's been a difficult month for thinking about anything except the terrible situation in Ukraine put in place by Putin and his attempt to ethnically cleanse the population and obliterate their economy. There is no doubt that the murder of thousands of Ukrainians and the missile attacks on its refugees, schools, and hospitals make Putin a war criminal.

Some Words to Our President

Of course, President Biden we want regime change. I much prefer your first impression of the situation after visiting Poland and stating the obvious, that Putin must either resign or be removed by the Russian people. We should want regime change in any country run by a war criminal. Historically, our country has financially supported and sometimes trained the police and military of many dictators who were war criminals. Maybe that obvious fact escapes some of your staff who advised you to alter your initial comments on the Putin regime. And, there must be some way for our country, with our vast resources, to guarantee the safety of refugees fleeing Ukraine and the first responders who are assisting them.

Other Articles in this Issue

This issue features several articles on the war in Ukraine as well as a preview of the Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival available April 24th and running through April 29th. Other articles and links are included on: water and air quality, climate change, immigration reform, and a collage by Omaha artist Jackie Eihausen on people caught in times of war.


Don't miss Frontline's latest video feature

on Putin's Road to War, click below to view

From the Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2022

"A Russian empire from Dublin to Valdivostok, The roots of Putin's ultranationalism"

A recent LA Times article by Jaweed Kaleem gives us some peek at the inner workings of Putin's thought process and how it is influenced by a small group of advisors including far-right writers, philosophers, and an ethnologist. One has even been dubbed Putin's "Rasputin" a reference to Czar Nicholas II personal advisor in the early 1900s before the Communist revolution.

Read the full article by clicking here


From PBS Frontline

Introducing, "War Crimes Watch Ukraine"

MARCH 25, 2022, by Raney Aronson-Rath, Executive Producer, Frontline

Dear FRONTLINE community,

Over the past month, the images and accounts coming out of Ukraine have been devastating — none more so than those of children and maternity hospitals being bombed, of mothers and newborns becoming victims of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

With each day, the attacks continue, as do the calls for accountability.

That’s why today, FRONTLINE is announcing that we have teamed up with The Associated Press to cover the crisis through the launch of War Crimes Watch Ukraine — a major reporting effort to gather, verify and comprehensively catalog evidence of potential war crimes committed since Russia’s invasion began.

War Crimes Watch Ukraine’s digital tracker documents visual evidence of apparent targeted attacks on civilian buildings and infrastructure, and tracks other possible violations of international humanitarian law. The co-published database is interactive and will allow readers to explore incidents by date, city, type of target, and whether civilians or children were killed in an attack. It is a big, ongoing undertaking across our news organizations, examining a wealth of materials and drawing on AP journalists’ firsthand reporting on the ground in Ukraine. You can read more about our reporting methodology and examine some of the incidents that have already been documented.

This new project is part of a larger editorial collaboration with AP examining the war in Ukraine. Over the next few months, the partnership will include more co-published stories that paint the broader picture of Russia’s action in the region, short-form digital videos, and a documentary slated to air on PBS and begin streaming in fall 2022.

Over the years, we have been fortunate to collaborate with AP journalists whose shared editorial values and mission are essential, as the calls for accountability rise around the world.

Brian Carovillano, AP vice president and head of news investigations, enterprise, grants and partnerships said it well, in describing the value of this project: “By tracking and verifying these incidents in real time as they occur, AP and FRONTLINE are creating a historical record that will help ensure crimes don’t get lost in the fog of war.”

I hope you take time to explore the interactive and follow our ongoing work with the AP on War Crimes Watch Ukraine.

Click here for the War Crimes Watch Digital Tracker

From PBS KCET's Website

SoCal Artists show

their support for Ukraine

As the situation in Ukraine has grown more dire, Southern California-based artists Corie Mattie and Taras Bohonok turn to art to voice their opinion and rally support for Ukraine.

In Santa Ana, Taras Bohonok has been keeping tabs on the events unfolding in Ukraine following Russia's invasion in late February. A painter with work currently on view at Las Laguna Art Gallery in Laguna Beach, Bohonok was born in Ukraine and still has a lot of family in the country. So, he has kept up with news and connected with relatives during this time.

"I felt like this wasn't the time to sit on my hands," says Bohonok by phone. "If I didn't get up and do something to the best of my abilities, I might not have a chance later and I wouldn't be able to live with myself."

Read the full article

New York Times, March 2, 2022

War Abroad and Politics at Home

Push U.S. Climate Action Aside

Climate change, a central part of Biden’s agenda, was barely mentioned in the State of the Union. And Europe is confronting its heavy reliance on Russian gas.

By Somini Sengupta and Lisa Friedman

War and politics are complicating the efforts of the two biggest polluters in history — the United States and Europe — to slow down global warming, just as scientists warn of intensifying hazards.

On Tuesday evening, President Biden barely made a mention of his climate goals in the State of the Union speech despite promises to make climate an issue that drives his presidency. European politicians have their own problem: They are struggling to get out from under one of the Kremlin’s most powerful economic weapons — its fossil fuel exports, which Europe relies on for heat and electricity.

Oil and gas prices are soaring globally. That is a boon to those who extract and sell the very products that drive fatal heat waves, wildfires and sea level rise. And it is leading to new demands for increased drilling in the United States, already one of the world’s biggest producers of oil and gas.

Click here to read full article

From PBS KJZZ's Fronteras Desk

New Alliance hopes to push Congress for Immigration Reform

by Alisa Reznick

March 2, 2022 During his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Joe Biden urged legislation to protect immigrants like DACA recipients and those working in essential jobs. Advocates are trying to get that translated into action.

Like many before him, Biden said the U.S. immigration system needed an overhaul. He said providing a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and essential workers is the right thing to do, and would also help buoy the economy by addressing labor shortages.

Ali Noorani with advocacy group National Immigration Forum says those issues find bipartisan support among voters.

Click here to read more

Press Release Earth Justice, March 11, 2022

New EPA Proposal to reduce asthma, lung disease across United States

"Good Neighbor” plan aims to reduce cross-state ozone pollution

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it will address ground-level ozone—the main component of smog—that persists throughout the United States. The proposed “Good Neighbor” plan requires reductions of air pollution emitted by power plants and industrial sources in twenty-six upwind states that then blows into downwind states. If finalized, the rule will significantly improve air quality and public health, avoiding one thousand premature deaths and more than one million asthma attacks each year. EPA’s new proposal comes in response to a lawsuit Earthjustice filed on behalf of community and environmental organizations.

While ozone is good as a protective layer in the stratosphere, ground-level ozone causes asthma attacks, other respiratory illness and is linked to premature deaths. More than 127 million people live in parts of the country that suffer from unhealthy ozone levels. Ground-level ozone also damages plants and ecosystems, stunts tree and crop growth, and contributes to climate change. Formed by emissions from cars, trucks, power plants and factories, ozone is a greenhouse gas, and curtailing it is a powerful way to help solve the climate crisis.

“Interstate ozone pollution is a dangerous public health and environmental threat that EPA and many states for years failed to address,” said Kathleen Riley, Earthjustice attorney. “We applaud EPA for hearing environmental justice communities and for proposing strong action to protect public health.”

“This is progress,” said John Walke, clean air director for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “Ozone pollution harms millions of people, including the country’s most vulnerable—children, communities of color, low-income communities, and older people. EPA is taking important steps to protect residents of downwind states from unsafe levels of smog pollution, because upwind polluting industries have failed to reduce harmful air pollution. We will urge EPA to take the strongest action that science and the law will support."

“Many of our members living near fossil fuel and petrochemical facilities frequently experience health harms caused by ozone pollution. Today’s announcement helps vindicate these community voices and sends a strong signal to states with unfettered extraction: EPA will rein in your interstate ozone pollution if you will not,” said Aaron Mintzes, Earthworks senior policy counsel. 

In this lawsuit Earthjustice represents Air Alliance Houston, Appalachian Mountain Club, Center for Biological Diversity Downwinders at Risk, Earthworks, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services. Clean Air Task Force represents Clean Wisconsin.


High Country News (HCN), March 24, 2022

Over Half of U.S. Waters

Too Polluted to Swim or Fish

by Theo Whitcomb, HCN

At 50 years, the Clean water Act has had success. But there are key sources of water pollution yet to be addressed.

Back in 1972, U.S. legislators passed the Clean Water Act with a 10-year goal: Make it safe for people to fish and swim in the nation’s waters. Fifty years later, around half of all lakes and rivers across the country that have been studied fail to meet that standard, according to a recent report by the Environmental Integrity Project, a D.C. watchdog and advocacy nonprofit. Instead, they’re classified as “impaired” — meaning that their fish are inedible, their water undrinkable, they’re unsafe for humans to swim in and inhospitable to aquatic life.

The Clean Water Act delivered a major win — it laid the groundwork for essential enforcement on industry — but there were key failures. Most notably, legal loopholes continue to allow fertilizer runoff from farmland and manure runoff from factory farms.

Read the full article

Earth Focus

Environmental Film Festival

April 24 -29, 2022

Available on PCs, Macs, Apple TV, Roku and more

The fourth annual Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival (EFEFF) will take place from April 24-29, 2022. The festival will kick off with a special, invitation only Opening Night in-person screening of the documentary film Zero Gravity at Pasadena’s Carnegie Observatories followed by a panel discussion with filmmaker Thomas Verrette and additional guests/TBA. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. John S. Mulchaey, Science Deputy, Carnegie Institution for Science Crawford H. Greenewalt Chair and Director.

Following the opening night screening, the Festival will transition to virtual screenings for the next five days with Q&A discussions following each screening encouraging a better understanding of and dialogue on environmental issues. The virtual 2022 film festival extends public media’s mission of strengthening communities through education with this year’s mission aiming to inspire positive change and engage viewers of all ages while raising funds to support public media’s future environmental programming.

General admission tickets for the Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival are available. Ticket options include a $45 all-access pass to attend all of the virtual film screenings April 25-29 and post screening discussions taking place on the Eventive platform. Alternatively, $15 individual screenings can be purchased from following link.

Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival

MONDAY, APRIL 25 | 7:00 PM (PDT)


A gripping documentary capturing the horror and heroism of the 2018 raging wildfires that forced the frantic evacuation of thousands of residents from Malibu and Paradise, two very different California communities. Two-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lucy Walker investigates the reasons California has become increasingly dangerous, and what can be done to lessen the staggering death and destruction that wildfires cause.

Immediately following the screening, a pre-recorded conversation with filmmaker Lucy Walker, plus subjects from the film. Moderated by chief film critic for Deadline, and host of the KCET Cinema Series and KCET’s MUST SEE MOVIES, Pete Hammond.

An investigation into our landscape's hidden fire stories and on-the-ground experiences of firefighters and residents struggling through deadly fires.

Tuesday, April 26 | 7:00 PM (PDT)


For millennia, Native Americans have successfully managed their natural resources despite discrimination and forced colonization. This collaborative documentary takes us across deserts, coastlines, forests, mountains, and prairies to witness how various Indigenous communities are restoring their ancient relationships with the Earth. It also reveals that their time-tested practices are increasingly essential in our rapidly and dangerously changing world.

Directed by Costa Boutsikaris and Anna Palmer.

Immediately following the screening, a pre-recorded conversation with the subject of the film, Dr. Michael Kotutwa Johnson of the Hopi Tribe Fund (NAAF), co-director/cinematographer, Costa Boutsikaris, and co-director, Anna Palmer.

Inhabitants: An Indigenous Perspective takes us on a journey through deserts, coastlines, forests, mountains, and prairies to see how various Indigenous communities are restoring their ancient relationships with the land. We visit a Hopi farmer in Arizona growing crops without dependence on rainfall, Blackfeet herders of Montana restoring the lost buffalo herds, the Karnuk people of Northern California who have perfected controlled burnings in their forests, and Hawaiian natives who are reclaiming commercial plantations in exchange for food secure gardens. It soon becomes quite clear that as the climate crisis escalates these time-tested practices of North America’s original inhabitants are becoming increasingly essential in our rapidly changing world.

Wednesday, April 27 | 7:00 PM (PDT)

Two Documentaries | One Feature, One Short | Women Explorers


As the Arctic polar ice cap melts, reaching the North Pole has become increasingly dangerous. But an expedition of eleven women from the Arab World and Europe, led by British explorer Felicity Aston, is determined to succeed against all odds and advice. Award-winning filmmaker Holly Morris and an all-women crew document this daring group during one of the most chaotic polar seasons in history - in what may be the last-ever over-ice expedition to the top of the world. Feature Documentary.

Immediately following the screening, a pre-recorded conversation with filmmaker Holly Morris, and others from the film. Moderated by DC EFF’s Director of Programming, Brad Foder.

Co-presented by the DC Environmental Film Festival


Three intrepid women set sail on a 350-mile expedition through the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska, the largest temperate rainforest remaining intact on the planet. This journey tells the story of this unique and nonrenewable place, the impact clear-cut logging could have on diverse wildlife, the cultures and livelihoods of local communities, and our planet’s climate, and ponders a different conception of value. Directed by Colin Arisman, and produced and narrated by Elsa Sebastian.

Thursday, April 28 | 7:00 PM (PDT)


This documentary, ten years in the making, weaves together the most urgent themes of our times through the story of one farmer. Anita Chitaya has a gift; she can help bring abundant food from dead soil, make men fight for gender equality, and end child hunger in her village in East Africa. Now, to save her home from extreme weather, she faces her greatest challenge: persuading Americans that climate change is real. Traveling from Malawi to California to the White House, Anita will use all her skills and experience to help Americans recognize, and free themselves from, a mindset that is already helping destroy the Earth.

Immediately following the screening, a pre-recorded conversation with the film’s co-directors/co-producers, Raj Patel and Zak Piper.

Anita Chitaya has a gift: she can help bring abundant food from dead soil, she can make men fight for gender equality, and maybe she can end child hunger in her village. Now, to save her home in Malawi from extreme weather, she faces her greatest challenge: persuading Americans that climate change is real. Traveling from Malawi to California to the White House, she meets climate sceptics and despairing farmers. Her journey takes her across all the divisions that shape the USA: from the rural-urban divide, to schisms of race, class and gender, and to the American exceptionalism that remains a part of the culture. It will take all her skill and experience to help Americans recognise, and free themselves from, a logic that is already destroying the Earth.

Friday, April 29 | 7:00 PM (PDT)




In the United States, health and longevity are more often determined by zip code than by genetic code. Following both the patients and doctors of a local community health organization, this episode exposes the socio-environmental determinants of health in the primarily Latino city of South Gate, California.


Discussing mental health has historically been taboo in rural communities where a mythology of pioneering, rugged individualism and self-reliance has prevailed. As climate change pushes farmers, homesteaders and herders to the edge, this film pierces the mental health taboo through personal, poignant stories of struggle, resilience, and hope.


Ukraine is a climate story

Everything is climate story

Sammy Roth's weekly column in the Los Angeles Times, BoilingPoint, March 3, 2022, click link here

"You know that scene in “The Matrix” where Keanu Reeves is offered a choice between ignorance and truth, in the form of a blue pill and a red pill? If he takes the blue pill, he’ll forget the unsettling reality he’s begun to uncover, and go on living his life like everything is fine. But if he takes the red pill, he’ll learn the truth about the world — and he’ll never be able to unlearn it.

Well, paying attention to climate change is like taking the red pill. Once you do, nothing will ever look the same."

“There’s been a lot of concern about dependence on Russian [natural] gas, and whether that inhibits countries’ ability to stand up to Russia,” said Erin Sikorsky, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Climate and Security. “The more that countries can wean themselves off oil and gas and move toward renewables, the more independence they have in terms of action.”

click link here

Also View Earth Justice Report

How Climate Change Is Fueling Extreme Weather

(The following collage was created by Omaha artist Jackie Eihausen. Daffodils are Ukraine's national flower. The faces collaged in the flowers and sky are the work of Bali outsider artist Ni Nyoman Tanjung. The Bali artist built a wall outside her house made of black stones with faces painted on them. Eihausen cut out the faces from a photo appearing in a story by Patrick Blanche in the magazine RAW VISION #59, Summer 2007)

Caught in Times of War