Environment & Social Justice

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Can Conservation Easements Give Young Colorado Farmers a Chance?

Dwarfed by five stainless steel grain-storage bins outside the Root Shoot malt house in Loveland, Emily Olander gestures toward the horizon. A two-story cookie-cutter house with a white fence peeks out from the rolling green land. “See that?” 38-year-old Emily asks. “That’s what we don’t want.” The Olanders, who farm nearly 2,200 acres in northern Colorado and run a malt business that regularly supplies 150 breweries in the state, have nothing against the homeowners, of course. It’s the big-picture development they’re wary of—an encroaching sprawl that’s gobbling up farmland along Colorado’s I-25 corridor faster than older farmers can devise ways to affordably retire without selling their fields to the developers behind the ubiquitous mixed-use retail and residential enclaves.

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Conserving the Cline: A community effort to protect a historic ranch

On the horizon, barely visible through the falling snow, you can see them: elk, by the hundreds, silhouetted against the shadowy mountains beyond. Rolling meadows stretch in every direction, and Tarryall Creek, framed by the muted deep-gold of late-fall willows and shrubs, snakes its way through the land. Just off a rutted dirt road, an adobe-style pueblo-revival ranch house, built in 1928, stands hollowly, yet proudly over the landscape it anchors—a reminder of a bygone era, and a beacon of potential.

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Resisting Exploitative Extractive Industries in the Peruvian Amazon through Sustainable Agriculture

Under pressure from extractive industries like logging, mining, and palm-oil harvesting, the indigenous way of life in the Peruvian Amazon hangs in the balance. Families are struggling to sustain livelihoods based on land that is being depleted. Children are fleeing their homes for work in the city, leaving their heritage and culture behind. And natural resources critical to survival are disappearing into the void of foreign corporations with an eye on exports and profits. The biggest burden-bearers? Women—the caretakers of land, harvesters of food, and collectors of water.

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Why Grassroots Organizations Benefit From Approaching Environmental Justice With a Gender Perspective—and Why Funders Should Support these Collaborations

Silvia Perez Yescas of Oaxaca, Mexico, knows what it’s like to have her voice silenced. For an entire year, month after month, she stood outside a room full of men who gathered to discuss land rights and environmental issues that were affecting family and community well-being. For an entire year, she planted herself firmly on the other side of the room’s window—she wasn’t “allowed” to come inside—and raised her hand to participate in the discussion. For an entire year, the men ignored her. Why? Because Yescas is a woman.

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The Green Heart of Central Africa

If you’re like billions of people on the planet, you get up in the morning, go to work to provide for your family, and come home at night with something for dinner. Your picture might be framed a little differently, but the details boil down to the same thing: livelihood. A means of support or subsistence. Now imagine your livelihood just…ends. Imagine that someone with more power and more money than you yanks away your occupation, your property, your food sources, and your access to medicine without asking what you think. Your entire means of survival vanishes. For the indigenous people of central Africa, this scenario isn’t hypothetical.

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South Sudanese Women Find Salvation in Stoves

It sounds like a brutally disturbing nightmare: Alone in a forest miles from home, a teenage girl fights off a man as he tries to rape her. She flees home in terror, hours on foot, afraid for her life. The next day, the scene repeats itself as she is forced to collect firewood again. Facing her attacker in the forest again, as she must day after day. For Susan Ozene and countless women outside the city of Yei in battle-scarred South Sudan, this nightmare is more than a bad dream. It is reality.

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China’s water problem: the grassroots road to accountability

The images are no longer shocking: children swimming in garbage-choked lakes; waterways congested by bloated, poisoned fish rotting at the surface; industrial pipes openly spewing torrents of chemical waste into rivers and reservoirs. The numbers paint as bleak a picture as the imagery. More than 42 percent of China’s rivers and 75 percent of its lakes and reservoirs are too severely polluted for human consumption and fishing, says International Rivers.

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Why Scientists Don't Dig This $2 Million Plan to Save the Oceans

Dutch engineering student Boyan Slat shocked the environmental community when he announced in a 2012 TEDx talk that he had invented a way for the oceans to rid themselves of plastic with minimal human intervention. After all, we’re funneling a jaw-dropping 8 million tons of the stuff into the oceans each year, in addition to the more than five trillion pieces of plastic garbage already swirling in the waters. Could a then-17-year-old really have found a simple solution to this massive problem?

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Beneath the Surface (co-bylined)

The United States holds enough oil and gas to power the country for hundreds of years, and Colorado is at the center of the search for energy resources. Using a controversial process called hydraulic fracturing—better known as fracking—and new drilling techniques, oil and gas companies are able to extract these previously inaccessible fossil fuels. These technologies may be the biggest step yet toward securing our energy independence. But at what cost?

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