Publications

LiKEN Publications

Powell, Dana and Julie Maldonado, eds. (2017) Just Environmental and Climate Pathways: Knowledge Exchange Among Community Organizers, Scholar-Activists, Citizen-Scientists and Artists. Workshop report. Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting. 28 March 2017. Santa Fe, New Mexico. Climate-Pathways-Workshop-Report_Santa-Fe_March-2017

 

 

 LiKEN Blog

Rising Voices: Representation and Empowerment

Rising Voices  is a program that facilitates “cross-cultural approaches for adaptation solutions to extreme weather and climate events, climate variability and climate change.” It brings together Indigenous community members and physical scientists, social scientists, and engineers to establish conversations and plans to help communities who are adversely affected by weather and climate impacts. However, RISING…

Read More

Rising Voices: Decolonizing Climate Science and Action

I was invited to attend my first Rising Voices workshop this year as a note-taker and research assistant for the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN). In April 2018, I traveled to Duluth, MN, to participate in Rising Voices 6, Rising Together: Mobilizing and Learning from Local Actions. Bob Gough, Heather Lazrus, and Julie Maldonado established…

Read More

The Rising Voices Impact

It is almost dark. The sky is a dusky blue, and meets the murky waters of Lake Superior at the horizon line. Elongated grey waves approach me, and their foamy resolution echoes sweetly in my ears. The professor guiding my research group bends down to touch the water. He smiles. “You can drink it,” he…

Read More

Banish The Word Struggle, And Celebrate Us!

By Dr. Simona Perry, Director, LiKEN Civic Professionalism Program “There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift, that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river…

Read More

Interns / RA corner

Blueprint for Balance Part Three – Wider Implications

An op-ed by Brooke Moore, LiKEN Research Assistant July 4, 2017 The below critiques delve into various proposals that stood out to me amongst other sections of the Heritage Foundation’s Blueprint for Balance. I specifically selected the first two proposals, as they highlight a desire for US politics to become more isolationist by halting support for…

Read More

Blueprint for Balance Part Two – Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies

An op-ed by Brooke Moore, LiKEN Research Assistant July 4, 2017 In terms of energy pollution, the vast majority of the adult population understands the dire effects that the burning of fossil fuels has on both the environment and human health. When reading through the Energy and Water Development section of the Heritage Foundation’s Blueprint for…

Read More

Blueprint for Balance, Part One – Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, and Related Agencies

An op-ed by Brooke Moore, LiKEN Research Assistant July 4, 2017 Reading the Heritage Foundation’s Blueprint for Balance, which proposed budget guidance for the Trump administration, was like reading a contemporary political thriller novel. There were unanticipated plot twists at every corner and the whole time I was increasingly hopeful someone accidentally placed it in the…

Read More

2017 – A Year For Our Voices To Be Heard

An op-ed by Brooke Moore, LiKEN Research Assistant June 7, 2017 As an environmental studies student perusing recent media headlines, one of the myriad of issues that stands out to me is the contested future of the Environmental Protection Agency. Several newly-elected figures wish to dismantle the EPA, while 60% of Americans believe that the EPA…

Read More

Rewriting the Truth

An op-ed by Brooke Moore, LiKEN Research Assistant June 7, 2017 Historically, the force of change has been social movements starting from the bottom up, advocating for laws and policies that reflect notions of justice, grounded truth, and firmly-held beliefs.  These political and social changes are often fueled by younger generations who strive to create a…

Read More

Conceptualizing “Facts” in the Current Political Landscape

An op-ed by Brooke Moore, LiKEN Research Assistant Over the past century, news media has been in a continuous state of evolution, accelerated in recent years by the introduction of social media. With the public virtually drowning in information from social media, news now has to elicit feelings of excitement akin to those of soap operas…

Read More

Section 1504- The Wall Between Corruption and Transparency

An op-ed by Brooke Moore, LiKEN Research Assistant Anti-Fracking Protest – Photo by Julie Maldonado, Cape Town, South Africa, October 2012.     While the expediting of the Dakota and Keystone Pipelines by President Trump made global headlines, many other important actions have gone by undetected. One important example is Representative Bill Huizenga’s bill to abolish…

Read More

Environmental Progress or Regress?

An op-ed by Brooke Moore, LiKEN Research Assistant In the past eight years, global society has made great strides towards a more environmentally conscious international community. Just recently in 2016, 131 countries of diverging ideologies and backgrounds came together to sign the Paris Agreement to combat climate change and adapt to its effects. Yet, as President…

Read More

The global generation

An op-ed by Brooke Moore, LiKEN Research Assistant Having grown up in a generation where global society is accessible through the click of a button, I am concerned about recent political shifts towards isolation. Our modern lives are inescapably influenced by the interconnectedness most commonly referred to as globalization. To many, globalization is deemed a negative…

Read More

 

Staff Publications

Mary Hufford

 

“Curating Time’s Body: Elders as Stewards of Historical Sensibility,” in The Expressive Lives of Elders: Folklore, Art, and Aging, ed. Jon Kay. Indiana University Press. Published in October 2018, explores the role of elders in tracking multi-generational stories and shaping these into enduring worlds, bridging to common ground across modern spatial, temporal, and technological divides.

 

Forthcoming. Deep Commoning: Public Folklore and Environmental Policy on a Resource Frontier. International Journal of Heritage Studies

 

2014. “Groundtruthing the public trust: ethnography, mountaintop retention, and the reclamation of NEPA”. 36 (4): 52-54. Fall.

 

2013 “Edgework and Boundary Crossings: Assessing Foundations for Public Ecology in the Appalachian Region” (co-authored with Mary Hufford) Proceedings of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration in “Environmental Considerations in Energy Production”. Pp. 99-110.

 

2012. Who Knows? Who Tells? Creating a Knowledge Commons by Anita Puckett, Elizabeth Fine, Mary Hufford, Ann Kingsolver, and Betsy Taylor Published in (Eds) Steve Fisher and Barbara Ellen Smith, Transforming places: lessons in movement-building from Appalachia. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, pp. 239-251

 

2008. “From West Africa to West Philadelphia: Storytelling Traditions of Philadelphia’s Liberian Elders. A Collaborative Project of The Center for Folklore and Ethnography, University of Pennsylvania and The Agape African Senior Citizens Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

2007. “Ethnographic overview and assessment:  New River Gorge and Gauley River National Recreation Area”, Report published by The Center for Folklore and Ethnography, University of Pennsylvania & the Northeast Region Ethnography Program, National Park Service.  Boston, MA.  September 2007

 

2007.  “Piecing together the fragments: an ethnography of leadership for shared prosperity in north central Philadelphia 2004-2005”, report by Mary Hufford and Rosina Miller Center for Folklore and Ethnography University of Pennsylvania

 


Julie Maldonado

Maldonado, Julie, Betsy Taylor, and Mary Hufford. 2016. “The Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network: Grow Where You Are.” Practicing Anthropology, Special Issue: Activism, Agency and Engagement with Extraction, J Simonelli and S Fiske, co-editors. 38(3).

 

Books

Maldonado, JK. 2018. Seeking Justice in an Energy Sacrifice Zone: Standing on Vanishing Land in Coastal Louisiana. London/New York: Routledge Press.

 

Cernea, M and JK Maldonado. 2018. Challenging the Prevailing Displacement and Resettlement Paradigm: Risks, Impoverishment, Legacies, and Solutions. London/New York Routledge Press.

 

Maldonado, JK, R Pandya, and B Colombi, eds. 2014. Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples in the United States: Impacts, Experiences and Actions. Cham, Switzerland, Springer Publishing International. Reprinting of Maldonado, JK, R Pandya, and B Colombi, eds. 2013. Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples in the United States: Impacts, Experiences and Actions. Climatic Change 120(3).

 

Journal Articles (peer-reviewed)

Maldonado, JK. 2016. Considering Culture in Disaster Practice. Annals of Anthropological Practice. AJ Faas, editor, Special Issue.

 

Maldonado, JK, B Taylor, and M Hufford. 2016. The Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network: Grow Where You Are. Practicing Anthropology, Special Issue: Activism, Agency and Engagement with Extraction, J Simonelli and S Fiske, co-editors. 38(3).

 

Maldonado, JK, TMB Bennett, K Chief, P Cochran, K Cozzetto, B Gough, MH Redsteer, K Lynn, N Maynard, G Voggesser. 2016. Engagement With Indigenous Peoples and Honoring Traditional Knowledge Systems. Climatic Change 135: 111-126.

 

Maldonado, JK. 2014. A Multiple Knowledge Approach for Adaptation to Environmental Change: Lessons Learned from Coastal Louisiana’s Tribal Communities. Journal of Political Ecology 21: 61-82.

 

Maldonado, JK, C Shearer, R Bronen, K Peterson and H Lazrus. 2013. The Impact of Climate Change on Tribal Communities in the US: Displacement, Relocation, and Human Rights. Climatic Change 120(3): 601-614.

 

Maldonado, JK. 2012. A New Path Forward: Researching and Reflecting on Forced Displacement and Resettlement. Report on the International Resettlement Conference: Economics, Social Justice, and Ethics in Development-Caused Involuntary Migration, The Hague, 4-8 October 2010. Journal of Refugee Studies 25(2): 193-220.

 

Book Chapters (peer-reviewed)

Hiza Redsteer, M, I Krupnik, and JK Maldonado. Forthcoming. Native American Communities and Climate Change. In Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 1 – Introduction. Igor Krupnik, ed. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press.

 

Faas, AJ, R Barrios, E Marino, and J Maldonado. Forthcoming. Disaster and Climate Change-related Displacements and Resettlements: Cultural and Political Ecologies of Space, Power, and Practice. In The Angry Earth, second edition. A Oliver-Smith and S Hoffman, eds. Informa UK, Limited.

 

Maldonado, JK and K Peterson. 2018. A Community-based Model for Resettlement: Lessons from Coastal Louisiana. In The Routledge Handbook of Environmental Displacement and Migration. R McLeman and F Gemenne, eds. Routledge Press.

 

Bronen, R, JK Maldonado, E Marino, and P Hardison. 2018. Climate Change and Displacement: Challenges and Needs to Address an Imminent Reality. In Challenging the Prevailing Displacement and Resettlement Paradigm: Risks, Impoverishment, Legacies, and Solutions. M Cernea and JK Maldonado, eds. London/New York Routledge Press.

 

Cernea, M and JK Maldonado. Forthcoming. Social Science Knowledge and Normative Systems in Involuntary Population Resettlement. In Challenging the Prevailing Displacement and Resettlement Paradigm: Risks, Impoverishment, Legacies, and Solutions. M Cernea and JK Maldonado, eds. London/New York Routledge Press.

 

Maldonado, JK. 2017. Corexit to Forget It: The Transformation of Coastal Louisiana into an Energy Sacrifice Zone. In ExtrACTION: Impacts, Engagements and Alternative Futures. K Jalbert, A Willow, S Paladino, and D Casagrande, eds. London/New York: Routledge Press.

 

Maldonado, JK. 2016. The Practical and Policy Relevance of Social Network Analysis for Disaster Response, Recovery and Adaptation. In Social Network Analysis in Disaster Response, Recovery, and Adaptation. E Jones and AJ Faas, eds. Pp. 255-268. Elsevier.

 

Maldonado, JK, H Lazrus, B Gough, SK Bennett, K Chief, C Dhillon, L Kruger, J Morisette, S Petrovic, K Whyte. 2016. The Story of Rising Voices: Facilitating Collaboration between Indigenous and Western Ways of Knowing. In Responses to Disasters and Climate Change: Understanding Vulnerability and Fostering Resilience. MCompanion and M Chaiken, eds. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

 

Peterson, KJ and JK Maldonado. 2016. When Adaptation is Not Enough: Between Now and Then of Community-led Resettlement. In Anthropology and Climate Change, 2nd edition. S Crate and M Nuttall, eds. London/New York: Routledge Press.

 

Maldonado, JK, AP Naquin, T Dardar, S Parfait-Dardar and B Bagwell. 2015. Above the Rising Tide: Coastal Louisiana’s Tribal Communities Apply Local Strategies and Knowledge to Adapt to Rapid Environmental Change. In Disasters’ Impact on Livelihood and Cultural Survival: Losses, Opportunities, and Mitigation. M Companion, ed. Pp. 239-253. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

 

Reports

Gonzalez, P, G Garfin, D Breshears, K Brooks, H Brown, E Elias, A Gunasekara, N Huntly, J Maldonado, N Mantua, H Margolis, S McAfee, and BR Middleton (forthcoming, 2018) Chapter 25 “Southwest.” In Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States. US Global Change Research Program.

 

Maldonado, J and K Cozzetto. 2018. Gila River Indian Community Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Project: Workshop Series Summary Report.

 

Maldonado, J, N Cooley, and K Cozzetto. 2018. Navajo Nation Climate Change Adaptation Planning Workshop: Establishing Natural Resource Priorities. Summary Report.

 

Cozzetto K, J Maldonado, S Fluharty, J Hostler, C Cosby. 2018. Yurok Tribe Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Water and Aquatic Resources. 1 Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP), Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ. 2 Yurok Tribe Department of Environmental Quality (YTEP), Klamath, CA.

 

Powell, D and J Maldonado, eds. 2017. Just Environmental and Climate Pathways: Knowledge Exchange Among Community Organizers, Scholar-Activists, Citizen-Scientists and Artists. Workshop report. Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting. 28 March 2017. Santa Fe, New Mexico. http://likenknowledge.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Climate-Pathways-Workshop-Report_Santa-Fe_March-2017_Final.pdf

 

Bennett, TM B, NG Maynard, P Cochran, R Gough, K Lynn, J Maldonado, G Voggesser, S Wotkyns, and K Cozzetto. 2014. Ch. 12: Indigenous Peoples, Lands, and Resources. In Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. JM Melillo, TC Richmond, and GW Yohe, eds. Pp. 297-317. U.S. Global Change Research Program. http://nca2014.globalchange.gov

 

 


Betsy Taylor

2017 (Lead author, Lyndsay Tarus, with co-author, Mary Hufford).  “A Green New Deal for Appalachia: Economic Transition, Coal Reclamation Costs, Bottom-Up Policymaking (Part 2)”, Journal of Appalachian Studies, 23(2):151-169. Fall.

 

2017 (co-authored with Kendall Bilbrey, Mary Hufford).  “A Green New Deal for Appalachia: Economic Transition, Coal Reclamation Costs, Bottom-Up Policymaking (Part 1)”, Journal of Appalachian Studies, 23(1):8-28. Spring.

 

2014 Economic Transition in Central Appalachia: Knowledge/Power Mapping for Bottom-Up Policy (co-authored with Dan Taylor, Bill Price, Andrew Munn) for special issue on Appalachia, in special issue on “Appalachia and “the Commons”: An Introduction”, Practicing Anthropology 36 (4): 13-18

 

2014 “A Journalistic Selfie: An urban reporter’s cure for rural poverty tells us more about her own bias than it does about what might work for distressed communities suffering from the ‘resource curse’”, op-ed in The Daily Yonder . July 8.

 

2013 “Should the U.S. Join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative?”, Huffington Post, Impact Section, May 29

 

2012 “Social Theory, Appalachian Studies, and the Challenge of Global Regions: The UK Rockefeller Fellowship Project, 2001-2005.”, (co-authored with Ana Isla & Lynne Faltraco), in Academics and Activists: Confronting Ecological and Community Crisis in Appalachia, Stephanie McSpirit, Lynne Faltraco and Conner Bailey (Eds.), Lexington:  University Press of Kentucky, pp. 217-233

 

2012 “Best practices in ethical planning of professional meetings News: a Publication of the Society for Applied Anthropology. 23(4): 26-28

 

2009 “‘Place’ as pre-political grounds of democracy: an Appalachian case study in class conflict, forest politics and civic networks, American Behavioral Scientist, in special issue on “Democracy in an Age of Networked Governance: Charting the Currents of Change” (edited by Joyce Rothschild and Max Stephenson, Jr.). 52(6): 826–45

 

Section 1504- The Wall Between Corruption and Transparency

An op-ed by Brooke Moore, LiKEN Research Assistant

Anti-Fracking Protest – Photo by Julie Maldonado, Cape Town, South Africa, October 2012.

 

 

While the expediting of the Dakota and Keystone Pipelines by President Trump made global headlines, many other important actions have gone by undetected. One important example is Representative Bill Huizenga’s bill to abolish “Section 1504” of Dodd-Frank – more commonly known as the anti-corruption rule (Grossman-Cohen 2017). Section 1504 requires that oil, gas and mining companies publish statements of their payments towards foreign governments (Grossman-Cohen 2017). The purpose of this was to decrease corruption by making governments accountable for any money given to them, as information about the acquisition of such money would then be accessible by the public. Such an anti-corruption law safeguards civilians of under-developed nations by ensuring this money goes to necessities, such as education, health care and infrastructure. The capital obtained from these “extractives operations” are in many cases “the only significant source of government revenue in underdeveloped countries” (Sibley 2017). Because of this, these operations have the ability to either aid and modernize a county, or further increase the wealth disparity between civilians and unethical elites. When looking to understand the importance of section 1504, it is necessary to see the scope of corruption and the extent to which it can be taken.

An infamous case of corruption that was investigated was the dealing between ExxonMobil and the Nigerian Government. ExxonMobil was working with the Nigerian Government to renew their oil licenses at a price of $1.5 billion (Global Witness 2016). After this renewal, however, the Nigerian Government not only may have valued these licenses at $2.55 billion, but also possibly sold them at a much higher cost (Global Witness 2016). The reason they were able to do this was because no payments had been published originally (Global Witness 2016).

Many big oil and mining companies have spoken out against section 1504 for several reasons. Some say they believe it will divulge sensitive information while others say it threatens their competitive edge (Morgan 2015). In actuality, these allegations are false. Some companies have even noted, “transparency makes good business sense, and is not costly or damaging to their operations in any way” (Morgan 2015). In reality, companies who want section 1504 dismissed are those that fear immoral governments will no longer want business without discretion, furthering corruption.

Section 1504, and the civilians it protects, is essential. In order to defend under-developed communities from the grasp of corruption – and the poverty it brings – governments must be held accountable for their actions. The first step towards this is transparency and making government dealings and actions public knowledge. For this reason, eliminating section 1504 will only worsen the situation within developing countries meaning that we as a developed nation have the responsibility to stand up and defend section 1504.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Witness. “Global Witness Report Sheds Light On Exxonmobil’s Questionable Dealings In Nigeria.” Global Witness, 24 June 2016, www.globalwitness.org/en/press-releases/probe-murky-exxonmobil-deal-shows-need-tough-oil-transparency-rules/.

 

 

Grossman-Cohen, Ben. “Is Representative Bill Huizenga pro-corruption?” Oxfam, 24 Jan. 2017, politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2017/01/is-rep-bill-huizenga-pro-corruption/.

 

Morgan, Jana. “The foundation is shaking beneath Big Oil’s House of Cards.” Publish What You Pay Us, 18 Aug. 2015, www.pwypusa.org/the-foundation-is-shaking-beneath-big-oils-house-of-cards/.

 

Sibley, Nate. “Fueling Kleptocracy: Transparency in the Extractives Industry.” Kleptocracy Initiative, 24 Jan. 2017, kleptocracyinitiative.org/2017/01/fueling-kleptocracy-transparency-in-the-extractives-industry/.

Environmental Progress or Regress?

An op-ed by Brooke Moore, LiKEN Research Assistant

Women’s March, Washington, DC. January 22, 2017. Photo by Julie Maldonado.

In the past eight years, global society has made great strides towards a more environmentally conscious international community. Just recently in 2016, 131 countries of diverging ideologies and backgrounds came together to sign the Paris Agreement to combat climate change and adapt to its effects. Yet, as President Donald Trump’s positions have been introduced over the past several weeks, the environmental progress the Paris Agreement represents seems threatened at best. Highlighting Trump’s direction for environmental policy, two particular Trump cabinet selections have ignited a spark of panic: Myron Ebell and Scott Pruitt.

Myron Ebell was chosen as an environmental advisor to Trump and is part of the transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The concern is that Myron Ebell – a man who questions the validity of climate change – has an imperatively influential role on what path the EPA will now take. Ebell hopes to utilize his power in the EPA in order to “undo…regs that are very harmful to our economy” showing no concern for the environmental degradation our current economy creates (Fountain 2016). Instead, Ebell plans to use the EPA as a way to protect fossil-fuel industries, which makes sense as his organization is partially financed by the coal industry (Fountain 2016).

Analogously, Scott Pruitt has been nominated to run the EPA, but seems to lack an understanding of the reality of climate change. Before being elected to run the EPA, Pruitt had sued the EPA a myriad of times for its ‘harsh’ regulations for pollutions, such as smog (Dennis 2017). With an influential role in the EPA, Pruitt plans to alleviate the pressure and regulations President Obama had applied to fossil-fuel companies amongst many other things (Dennis 2017).

With Ebell and Pruitt both holding the key to environmental progress – or regression – it seems as if we are leaving the foxes to guard the henhouse. If Trump’s presidency has demonstrated anything thus far, it is that anything can happen. Predictions are all we are currently able to do. In the name of extrapolating, however, there is a dire future we could potentially move towards if trends continue in the current direction.

Paris – COP21, Photo by Emily Williams.

Trump’s decision to expedite both the Keystone and Dakota pipelines cast aside eight years of struggle by environmental justice movements. These pipelines, amongst many other decisions of Trump, will lead to an increased reliance upon coal and oil, and the avoidance of renewable energies. Nevertheless, as the interests of big oil and coal companies (and all who profit with them) are put before our ecosystem, health and wellbeing, increased pollution is but one of many problems we face.

If this trend towards a government uninterested in environmental issues continues, we risk the chance of fostering a younger generation uneducated and uneducated and unconcerned about the environment. On a grander scale, we jeopardize our role as one of the world’s leading superpowers. By going back on the Paris Agreement, alliances could be torn and threatened, creating a global society riddled with strife. Furthermore, as a world leader we should be acting as a role model. Instead we are going back on our word and possibly encouraging other countries to follow suit and to abandon collective action on this urgent global danger. In doing so, our environment will effectively continue to be destroyed until our resources are depleted and our ecosystems are run dry.

On the other hand, the selection of Ebell, Pruitt and others might galvanize individuals to take progress into their own hands. Since the election of Donald Trump, protests and marches have erupted globally. When there are this many people fighting for the future of our planet and ourselves, it seems as if, although not ideal, this situation is not unbeatable. Until the future of our environmental movement is clear, however, it is important we strive to make change at an individual and community level.

 

Works Cited:

Dennis, Brady. “Scott Pruitt, longtime adversary of EPA, confirmed to lead the agency.” The Washington Post, Feb. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/02/17/scott-pruitt-long-time-adversary-of-epa-confirmed-to-lead-the-agency/?utm_term=.5674cb1b165d.

Fountain, Henry. “Trump’s Climate Contrarian: Myron Ebell Takes On the E.P.A.” The New York Times, 11 Nov. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/11/12/science/myron-ebell-trump-epa.html.

The global generation

An op-ed by Brooke Moore, LiKEN Research Assistant

Outside the Paris Agreement COP 21. Paris, France. Photo by Emily Williams.

Having grown up in a generation where global society is accessible through the click of a button, I am concerned about recent political shifts towards isolation. Our modern lives are inescapably influenced by the interconnectedness most commonly referred to as globalization. To many, globalization is deemed a negative force supportive of only the neo-liberal leaders who fostered the economic movement to begin with. Now backlash against these partnerships that benefit a global elite at the expense of local economies and environments have emerged globally – from Brexit, to the election of Donald Trump to Italy’s referendum. Nations previously at the forefront of globalization are now experiencing contemporary nationalistic movements, striving to reconstruct the barriers global institutions fought to remove and promoting traditional borders that protect the individual from the outside. We are in danger of a political polarization between those who espouse such anti-globalization sentiments and those who fear that the new nationalisms will perpetuate bad oppositions of “us vs. them”. Many who are worried about anti-globalization nationalism, favor a kind of international interconnectedness that fosters a notion of global citizenship where all are supported. Although to many globalization is this sense of global citizenship and support, the aforementioned isolationist movements deem globalization a negative force tempered by negligent institutional governance, utilizing the middle-class as a necessary consequence. But are they wrong? How can we bridge the gap between these opposing viewpoints?

As our millennial generation begins to enter the workforce, we are left at a crossroad. Do I strive to devote my career to returning a sense of promise and hope to globalization, or do I foster this growing aversion towards it? These anti-globalization movements have erupted globally for a reason and it is imperative for our generation to understand why.

Over the past two decades, proponents of economic globalization have argued that it would increase prosperity and remedy divergences and stratification, especially in developing nations. However, under globalization, inequality has increased throughout the globe. Should we therefore abandon globalization, or should we restructure it? There may be no definitive answer to these questions, but we now have the opportunity and responsibility to decide globalization’s role in our future.

Movements fighting for issues such as sexual, racial and social equality greatly benefited from globalization as interconnectedness. Climate Change activists have analogously benefited from globalization, as explicated by the 2016 Paris Agreement where governments of divergent cultures came together to cooperate for the greater good. Taking ostrich-like approaches and distancing ourselves from global cooperation will slow – if not halt – progress on many of these necessary pursuits of justice. What should we do in a time where governments question their role in global society? We must highlight how globalization has not only fueled success up to now, but how it can further provide our society with greater progress. Why are we suddenly fueled by a desire to protect those within our border, but not those who neighbor it? Now is the time more than ever for individuals to label themselves as global citizens rather than perpetuate the distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Catastrophes, such as global climate change, do not just affect one of us, but rather they affect everyone.

Paris Agreement COP21. Paris, France. Photo by Emily Williams

So, what does this mean for us, the younger generation transitioning from school to the work force?

It means we should try to redefine globalization, effectively eliminating its negative aspects and enhancing its positive influence on our futures. The growing apprehension over the globalized economy does not need to push us towards total isolation from global society. Our generation can still utilize the interconnectedness of today to propagate a communal attitude towards progress. Starting campus organizations, attending conferences or simply educating ourselves on international news are invaluable first steps. Knowing the dangers of globalization should only empower us to create a more effective system that can successfully bridge the gap between the equal, just and profitable society we need, and the society we have. “…the fate of nations is intertwined, and…exclusion hurts those who are excluding as much as those who are excluded” (Solomon 2016). Opposition to interconnectedness will only hurt the societal victories modern civilization is fighting for.

Works Cited

Solomon, Andrew. “A Perilous Nationalism at Brexit.” The New Yorker, 28 June 2016, www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/a-perilous-nationalism-at-brexit.

What Does Appalachia Mean to You?

 By Madeleine Isabella Hall and Savannah Dummer

November 23, 2016

The authors are Appalachian State University students, who are serving as LiKEN Research Assistants in the Fall 2016 term as part of their Anthropology of Environmental Justice class.  In this blog, they describe their experiences as participants in the September 30 meeting of a new working group to study ownership of land, coal, oil, gas, and other minerals in Appalachia.  Co-hosted by LiKEN, this meeting took place in Lexington KY. For more on this new Appalachian Land Study, please go to http://www.appalachianlandstudy.com/

 

“For decades, Appalachians have been told what we want and need. And I am fed up with that.  So we need to hear from you! What do you want to see? What do you want?” – Landra  Lewis

 

Community members began by introducing themselves by name along with why they loved Appalachia, starting with a letter from the alphabet. Bill Price kicked it off with,  “We all love Appalachia because it’s awesome, with an A, get it?”, expressing, as did many others, how beautiful, picturesque, and inspiring this region is.to the people gathered for the first Appalachia Ownership Land Study meeting on Sept 30 in Lexington KY.

 

Many participants gave more intimate responses that offered a peek into how Appalachia is more than just an escape from the city or a part of the backwoods stereotype.

 

“Its shared its secrets with me”, Mary Cerillo.

“It’s just”, Mary Hufford.

“It’s righteous”, Shanna Scott.

“It’s youth”, Ashlee Lane.

 

 

 

Understand, Support, Empower, and Inform

Each and every community member, researcher, activist, grassroots member, and organizer who has a stake in this land study inspired the artwork displayed here. Painted in the center, are the Appalachian mountains with the main components of the new land study written in the peaks to show their importance in the community taking back this region. The hands symbolize the community members, as a whole, with academics (tassel) and the legal system (scales) all working together. Some groups, including labor unions, economic development groups, and the deep-southern states are written along the hands to better represent their involvement. Each member in a community should have an equal part and say in this process.

The tassel wrapped around one of the fingers in a nod to the original Appalachian Land Ownership Study of 1979, because we are building upon it. In between the hands, is a pine tree that symbolizes grassroots organizations that are making a real comeback in this collective collaboration. As Carol Judy puts it, “…this is a time for grassroots academia and grassroots strategists”. Marie Cirillo discussed successful grassroots efforts where land trusts were created in rural towns, and suggested that research into the question of “why can’t community land trusts work?” should materialize. She also added that she felt like “…we don’t have a place in planning anymore”.

 

An important step in the new land study is to establish agency for every single individual and a platform on which they can act together. The tree also symbolizes growth in the community to work together on issues (each tree branch) that were caused by the coal industry in this region. Such issues include deforestation, poverty, relocation, erosion, pollution, and exploitation of the community. Carol Judy brought up the importance of the temperate rain forest and watersheds and asked, “When does government have responsibility in broader based commons?” Davie Ransdell discussed generational leases where people may be leasing land from coal companies, but do not own the land or the mineral rights. She added that this would make records not easily available, if they even exist. Joe Childers chimed in to describe how permits can even overlap. Davie voiced her concerns over the issue of property being passed down through the generations to multiple heirs, resulting in unclear ownership and decision-making left out of the hands of landowners.

 

Above the mountains, is a pair of eyes that shed tears not of sadness but of joy. They were inspired by the reaction of a member who attended the first Appalachia Ownership Land Study meeting in Lexington, KY; Deborah Bahr.  Carol Judy turned to her to say, “…realizing the pearls of the moment” as Deborah had tears of relief from the sprouts of communal action unfolding.  This is a sign of healing. This meeting is giving hope for the future and that’s what this painting is all about–healing in Appalachia and in what this beautiful region means to its people. It’s about every single Appalachian dweller taking back their home by being informed, empowered, and supported by one another. These tears are no longer tears of sadness but joy and relief that a very promising new land study is already underway and participants are growing in number. Our vision is to make data and knowledge, in general, more accessible to everyone through digitizing it in a language everyone can understand.

 

Art is a powerful tool for advocacy and sharing knowledge. It’s also a testament to the fact that there are many routes that can be taken to spread information, to speak to the hearts of every stakeholder. One member voiced that visual and descriptive models for change are needed to accompany quantitative data. Every person has a different set of skills and background that can be valuable and open up the door to more resources that can used for this land study. This is not a process that is reserved for just professionals and academics. All walks of life and all forms of expertise are vital.

Planning and Action: The Appalachian Land Study 2016

 By Madeleine Isabella Hall and Savannah Dummer

November 23, 2016

The authors are Appalachian State University students, who are serving as LiKEN Research Assistants in the Fall 2016 term as part of their Anthropology of Environmental Justice class.  In this blog, they describe their experiences as participants in the September 30 meeting of a new working group to study ownership of land, coal, oil, gas, and other minerals in Appalachia.  Co-hosted by LiKEN, this meeting took place in Lexington KY. For more on this new Appalachian Land Study, please go to http://www.appalachianlandstudy.com/

 

Scoping out the room at the Hunter Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, every single participant’s expression and tone of conversation rang to their passion to bring environmental justice to their community and to Appalachia. We were overwhelmed by the sense of community in this room.  All sorts of people were attending, including but not limited to, lawyers, herbalists, professors, college students, and anthropologists, all of which comprised a coalition of activists collaborating at the first planning meeting for the new Appalachian Land Ownership study. Over 65 individuals from Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, and Canada gathered in discussion about a collaborative design process for carrying on the original land study in the midst of new comparative data and knowledge sharing technologies.

 

In this September 30th meeting, we began the effort to revitalize a monumental grassroots meets scholarship movement. The meeting was on a limited time frame, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm to be specific. Therefore, around 65 incredibly intelligent, concerned and passionate citizen activists had the task of solidifying these 6 deeply complex questions:

  1. What is the mission?
  2. What the goals/vision of the new land study are?
  3. Why is this land study important?
  4. Who is/should be participating?
  5. How can people get involved?
  6. Immediate next steps?

 

With this report we highlight the origins of the land study, the present social and political context in the region that could influence the outcome of the project, and most of all, the imperative for transparency between the state, the academy, and the people.

 

In 1979, the first Appalachia Ownership Land study was a collaboration of activists, scholars, and Appalachians to determine who owns Appalachia. Discourses of activism, community organizing, and academic research ensued with different goals and definitions in regards to land ownership and use in a post-coal transition. With that in mind, in the September 30th meeting, these three dynamics were brought together to discuss the first steps to creating a community-based participatory movement.

 

The original land study’s findings emphasized taxation, especially of mining corporations owning mineral rights. One issue was that corporations and absentee owners were paying low tax rates for both land and minerals. This reflects the lack of information available to citizens in affected areas. Important information about the land is not publicly accessible, if it even exists at all.

 

In 2008 Shaunna Scott, one of the attendees at the meeting, published an article in the Journal of Appalachian Studies, “The Appalachian Land Ownership Study Revisited”. Her article brought to light what this meeting finally can accomplish, almost 10 years later.  Scott quotes Charles Winfrey a Highlander staffer,  “We didn’t want another study to get put on a shelf that gets pulled down by some PhD who wants to cite it. We want it to be disseminated to the region to be used as a catalyst to organize and make some changes.”

 

Top Priorities (as expressed by meeting members):

  • Extraction of knowledge
  • Environmental protection
  • Economic transition/development (What does this imply? Why would this be a controversial subject?)
  • Civil rights (right to land and local resource control)
  • Enabling low income families to own land
  • More transparent land ownership
    • Big Data and creating a database that is accessible to all is important in this process

 

Why is this new land study important?

In the post-coal realm, updating the Appalachian Ownership Land Study is vital for answering “who owns Appalachia?” in order to regain the land lost economically and environmentally to the coal industry. The coal industry has left a legacy of pollution, health risks, and liabilities. They need to be held accountable so that they are in the public eye for their wrongdoings. Fragmentation of land, absentee landownership, questionable land ownership/boundaries, and unincorporated towns, among many other issues call for the need to collect data on land ownership as well as making that data accessible to all. Participants were asked to share the information they believed needed to be collected and what should be done with that knowledge.

Several subjects that came up involved the difficulties of mapping land ownership due to discrepancies in land surveys, such as the acreage not being measured accurately, and bankrupt land still being owned by the corporation.

The new study is paving the way for restoration and transparency. Dr. William Schumann, a graduate professor in Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University, brought up an interesting point.

 

“Mobilize this to plug into policy discussions. Make it comparable and connect it to other resource extraction issues” says Dr. Schumann, in regards to project design and outreach. This hints that there should a clear stance in the top priorities, like reinserting local voices, but also framing the work in a way that speaks to bureaucrats, and also speaks to the state with human stories.

 

The last group discussion was about who and what was under-represented at this meeting and in the study. In the spirit of collective activism, and the current social movements taking place, being able to connect the environmental justice fights happening across the nation and the world seemed extremely vital to the legitimacy of this project as well. Karen Rignall, a Cultural Anthropologist and professor at University of Kentucky, explained her work in Morocco regarding land ownership, saying that there are “…commonalities of land struggles all around the world”. This study is not only a fight for Appalachia and the deep South in a post coal transition, but, is in the forefront of a groundbreaking, nationwide, revolution to take back the land.

 

Overall, from reflecting back on interviews and photos, after this quick but foundational meeting, there seemed to be a fire lit in each and every participant. All members were ready to take back what they learned and ignite a fire in their communities.

 

After the meeting, a few key categories addressing immediate action and further information on getting involved were identified:

Stakeholders- who was at the meeting and who should participate

  1. Concerned Citizens
    • Any and all community members including but not limited to: artists, farmers, entrepreneurs, landowners, citizens not involved in grassroots groups, communities with land trusts, healers (health impacts/land restoration), peoples of unincorporated localities

  2. Government/Legal/Professionals
    • Including but not limited to: local government officials, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), policy makers, state agencies, tax collectors/assessors, lawyers, and professional organizations

  3. Non-Profit Organizations
    • Including but not limited to: ecotourism organizations, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN), watershed/groups and organizations, Stay Together Appalachian Youth (STAY), and KY Student Environmental Coalition (KSEC)

  4. Academics
    • Including but not limited to: local universities represented across the region, researchers (i.e., West Virginia Land Study researchers), community and technical colleges/schools

  5. Donors
    •  Including but not limited to: funders, donor networks, land conservation groups, local media

 

Examples of Stakeholders Needing More Representation:

  • Labor (unions/workers): UMWA, boiler-workers, AFL-CIO > state level engagement
  • Deep Southern Appalachian states
  • Educators (reformists)
  • Cooperatives (living wage economics)
  • Economic development organizations
  • Indigenous and tribal groups/nations
  • Hispanic & Latino/a groups
  • Anti-poverty groups

 

What are some of the things the community can do?

  1. Organize local planning committees
  2. Attend meetings/focus groups
  3. Media coverage
  4. Use access to help get grants
  5. Mapping
  6. Web development
  7. Research
  8. Training

 

What is the immediate call to action?

  1. Assembling the data already out there, already accessible in each region.
  2. Analyze that data, cross reference (if possible)
  3. Establish what is missing?
  4. Go find and digitize what is missing.
  5. Digitize it all.

 

What did the meeting’s participants want the land study to accomplish?

Including but not limited to:

  • Understanding land ownership
  • Supporting land reform
  • Supporting accountability for pollution
  • Empowering communities
  • Informing economic development strategy

 

If you want to be involved, go to the Land Study website:

http://www.appalachianlandstudy.com/

 

Or,  contact your community organizer:

 

Caravanning for Justice: Movement Building Across Communities and Regions

By Julie Maldonado

August 30, 2016

 

In July 2016, over 10,000 citizens took to the streets of Philadelphia, PA to participate in the March for a Clean Energy Revolution, where one of the demands was for the Protect Our Public Lands Act  (POPLA). If passed by the U.S. Congress, this Act will stop all hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on U.S. public lands. POPLA arises during a time when the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that U.S. natural gas production – in large part a result of the use of fracking and horizontal drilling to access previously inaccessible gas formations – will increase by 55 percent by 2040. A report recently released by Oil Change International confirms that this will lock in enough carbon emissions to bust through agreed climate goals, signed by 178 nations in the Paris Agreement.

 

At the same time, July 2016 was the hottest month in recorded history, the 10th record hot month in a row, according to NASA. Communities around the globe are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate and more extreme weather events, from loss of fishing and water resources, to observed changes in the timing of seasons, to, in some extreme circumstances where places are becoming unviable to maintain livelihoods and settlements as the land disappears underneath due to sea level rise, coastal erosion, and melting permafrost, being forced to relocate.

 

Indigenous, frontline communities are among those observing and experiencing these impacts first and foremost. According to the U.S. National Climate Assessment, “[t]he consequences of observed and projected climate change have and will undermine indigenous ways of life that have persisted for thousands of years.” Many of these communities are the same ones that have already been – and continue to be – sacrificed by the extractive industry.

 

In this context, the idea for the Protect Our Public Lands Tour: For a Just and Renewable Energy Future arose out of a partnership between colleagues and friends from the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN), Food and Water Watch, Paper Rocket Productions, the Native American Producers Alliance, the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, and the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on the Human Rights Impacts of Fracking.

 

Twenty-four Indigenous and non-Indigenous advocates, activists, and community workers of all ages – from youth to elders – and diverse tribal and community affiliations, caravanned across the United States on the tour. It was envisioned to bring Indigenous community members to Philadelphia to speak at the Summit for a Clean Energy Revolution, for experts and activists to come together to create solutions to stopping fracking and dirty energy processes, and to participate in the March to build the Clean Energy Revolution. More than about a single destination, the journey was also intended to learn from the stories of frontline community members working hard to transition from toxic energy industries to a just and renewable energy future.

 

Stemming from LiKEN’s vision, a link-tank for connecting, mentoring, and empowering citizens, policy makers, scholars, and scientists working to establish sustainable post-carbon livelihoods and communities, the impacts evolving out of this tour include, but are not limited to:

  • A creative process to build public will, coalitions, and empowerment for people working at the grassroots level to communicate their work, vision, and process through story-telling, film and social media, by translating their work and the issues they have been battling from their places on-site to people from other communities and cultures.
  • Strengthening and igniting networks and communication pathways between: Native American activists across tribal nations and regions; Native and non-Native advocates and workers across other frontline communities and regions (e.g., Appalachia); frontline environmental justice communities and mainstream environmental justice activists.
  • Helping to inform the transition movement from fossil fuels to clean energy and renewables about the need for a just transition, which includes past injuries from the fossil fuel industry and other historic traumas and injustices, so that history does not repeat itself and the same communities who have been the fossil fuel sacrifice zones are guiding the effort to understand what is needed to create ajust transition.

 

POPLA Tour caravanners at the site of the proposed and blocked Desert Rock coal-fired power plant. July 19, 2016. Photo by Julie Maldonado

Paper Rocket Productions, a Navajo/Hopi film crew who mostly grew up in communities affected by fossil fuel extraction and raised by families fighting for justice, filmed the tour, as we traveled together to experientially learn from each other, from the site where Navajo activists showed us where they stood their ground against the development of a the Desert Rock coal-fired power plant in their community, a Nation that is already home to the health and livelihood impacts caused by dozens of coal and uranium mines and thousands of oil and gas wells; to being gathered outside the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management office in Santa Fe, as Kendra Pinto, a strong, young Navajo woman on the tour, asked, “how are our lives not important?”, depicting the witnessed devastation to her community the prior week when an explosion at a fracking site near her home caused six new and 30 temporary storage tanks to catch fire and forced dozens of families to evacuate, leaving them with only 30 minutes to gather whatever they could.

 

We stood together at Lake Thunderbird in Oklahoma, where Absentee-Shawnee community workers and activists who were part of the tour showed us where they are resisting yet another pipeline – Plains American Red River II Pipeline being laid across their sacred land. This was the same place where their ancestors’ remains were dug up and dumped into a mass grave after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flooded the land in the 1950s to create a lake reservoir, with tribal residents’ houses washed away and entire families forced to move. We traveled to Ponca Nation in Oklahoma where Casey Camp Horinek, a long-time Native rights activist and cultural practitioner, and her son Mekasi informed us about the contamination flowing into their community by the fossil fuel industry in all directions.

 

This strategy – of journeying, witnessing, and experiencing together to create platforms and support frontline community members tell their stories of historic trauma and current injustice – is working to build both local and national awareness and demonstrate the needs for embedding justice into the transition to a clean energy economy. It is not an isolated practice. For example, while the POPLA Tour crossed the country to Philadelphia, Lakota youth from Standing Rock in North Dakota ran 1,500 miles to Washington, DC to protest in front of the White House against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which would carry half a million barrels of Bakken crude from North Dakota to Illinois, threatening their water sources, land, and health.

 

Challenges to this type of movement building abound – from bringing people together from many different cultural backgrounds, beliefs and practices, to traveling far distances in limited time with limited funds and capacity, to systemic and overt racism, such as someone during the March telling some of the participating Indigenous activists to chant in English because “this is America.” The emotions of re-telling (and in a sense, re-living) experiences of death, displacement, cancer rates plaguing their families and communities, of continuing to be sacrificed by colonizers cloaked in the form of fossil fuel corporations. But these challenges were met with resolve and determination. As a Navajo elder who was part of the caravan, shared with her family and fellow caravanners along the way, “I want to help protect our public lands. I’m very tired of living in the midst of the coal mine…It is now late at night and still on the road but it’s all worth it.”

 

Ava Hamilton with the POPLA Tour, participating in the March for a Clean Energy Revolution. Philadelphia, PA, July 24, 2016. Photo by Susan Rose.

The work flowing out of this tour raises key questions:

  • How can we work to create and share an open space for frontline communities in sacrifice zones who are deeply suffering from historical trauma and continued atrocities wrought by the fossil fuel industry to have their voices heard and work to ensure that the same injustices are not continued in the post-carbon transition?
  • How could such stories be leveraged to build awareness, knowledge sharing, and solidarity across cultures, communities, regions, and even nations, to infuse environmental justice into the transition to a post-carbon, clean energy economy?

 

We work together across communities and regions to begin to answer these questions and to be able to tell a story of what we are for:

 

empowerment and justice for the present and future – for all generations and relations now and for those to come.

“In Solidarity”: Use of Social Media Across Regions to Inform a Just Transition to a Post-Carbon World

By Julie Maldonado

August 30, 2016

 

A common way to explain something often starts with, “Let me tell you a story.” Storytelling is one of our oldest and most basic forms of communication. It is how we remember, learn, teach, and experience the world.  Stories are often deeply personal, lived realities. So how can coming together to share stories help during this critical time for our earth’s climate system? How can storytelling foster the creation of and inform a just transition to a clean energy economy?

 

Some of the answers were revealed to me in July 2016, as I journeyed along with 23 other Indigenous and non-Indigenous advocates, activists, and community workers – from youth to elders – across the United States on the Protect Our Public Lands Tour: For a Just and Renewable Energy Future, a project launched out of the collaboration between the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN), Food and Water Watch, Paper Rocket Productions, the Native American Producers Alliance, the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, and the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on the Human Rights Impacts of Fracking.

POPLA Tour caravanners and local activists protesting outside the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management Office, Santa Fe. July 20, 2016. Photo by Julie Maldonado

A Navajo/Hopi film crew (Paper Rocket Productions) filmed the tour – from the site where Navajo activists showed us where they stood their ground against the development of the Desert Rock coal-fired power plant; to protesting outside the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management Office in Santa Fe where a young Navajo woman on the tour told her story of witnessing her community’s devastation just the prior week to an explosion at a fracking site causing 36 storage tanks to catch fire and forced dozens of families to evacuate; to Lake Thunderbird in Oklahoma where Absentee-Shawnee tribal members talked about resisting another pipeline, the Plains American Red River II Pipeline being laid across their sacred land, near where their ancestors’ remains were dug up and dumped into a mass grave after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flooded the land in the 1950s to create a lake reservoir, with tribal residents’ houses washed away and entire families forced to move; to participating in a Summit and March in Philadelphia, PA to build a clean energy revolution. For more details about the tour: go to LiKEN blog “Caravanning for Justice: Movement Building Across Communities and Regions.”

 

The film and short clips that will emerge to help inform a just transition to a clean energy economy, will be primarily disseminated through our community, organizational, professional, and scholarly networks, which are a key LiKEN asset. The film can be a tool for partnering organizations to use in their trainings with communities and other organizations, it can be shown in classrooms and at community forums, and help build the scholar–community and science—people iterative process of translation and communication between different knowledge systems.

 

While the stories shared were deeply local, what emerged during and after the tour was how stories could be leveraged through social media to build conversations, share knowledge, and create solidarity across cultures, communities, regions, and even nations.

 

When I returned from the tour, I turned on the computer to check the elusive email pile-up. Too overwhelmed, I did what many of us do to avoid doing something else. I clicked on Facebook. I started seeing posts from people who were not on the tour, but whom we encountered along the way, talking about the tour and sharing information with others about our activities, feeling connected whether or not they were actually on the caravan. For example, after listening to tour participants speak during a panel session at the Summit for a Clean Energy Revolution in Philadelphia, a community activist attending the Summit posted on Facebook,

“I just witnessed on of the most moving and tragic tales of this country and its people I have ever encountered. A caravan of Indigenous people traveled more than 3,000 miles to come to a climate summit in Philadelphia. There was a grandma in her 90s, children and grandchildren. They were about 30 all told from many nations. Each one had stories to tell of how the white corporate structure and all the white consumers who support that structure has effected and affected them personally. They were in tears as they talked. I was in tears. The audience was in tears. And as their stories carried into what should have been the next session, no one moved to stop them, and the audience grew…We’ve walked out on these people too many times, and for me, nothing is more important than hearing and telling their stories.”

Turning to some of the posts my friends shared about our caravan, I was struck in particular by one from a friend who is witnessing her homeland in Alaska sit on the frontlines of climate change,

“There is nothing more attractive to me than Native people devoting their hearts & minds to defend our climate, lands, and a plan for renewable energy. Quyanaq to all the friends involved in “Protect Our Public Lands Tour” and “Clean Energy Summit”. Your work makes all of our work so much more effective and meaningful.”

March for a Clean Energy Revolution, Philadelphia, PA. July 24, 2016. Photo by Julie Maldonado.

I readily saw through my feed that my friends and colleagues had now become Facebook friends with other people who were on the tour, and that they were sharing each other’s posts. That is not particularly spectacular itself. But what is significant is when an Indigenous activist on the tour posted about resistance efforts in North Dakota against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which would carry half a million barrels of Bakken crude from North Dakota to Illinois, threatening Standing Rock Indian Nation’s water sources, land, and health.

 

One of my colleagues, a scholar-activist who works in Appalachia shared this post, and, in turn, an Appalachian activist who is a friend of hers shared the post, commenting in the text box, “in solidarity.” This activist had not been part of this particular struggle before. But the words flashed on my screen, “in solidarity.”

 

In those two words – in solidarity – their stories were tied together, linked across cultures, time zones, histories, and geographic boundaries. They were connected, no longer in isolation. There is no quantified result of this type of journey and collaborative efforts. There is however, knowing that thousands of miles apart we can be present within a common struggle. With a grounded foundation, we can leverage these efforts to build awareness, share knowledge, and stand in solidarity across cultures, communities, regions, and even nations, to infuse environmental justice into the transition to a post-carbon, clean energy economy.