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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
From PBS Frontline
Introducing, "War Crimes Watch Ukraine"
From PBS KCET's Website
SoCal Artists show
their support for Ukraine
New York Times, March 2, 2022
War Abroad and Politics at Home
Push U.S. Climate Action Aside
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.
Environmental Film Festival
April 24 -29, 2022
(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