Anti-Fracking Activist Sandra Steingraber's Pursuit of a Healthy Environment
Sandra Steingraber PhD, the acclaimed author and ecologist, is determined to stop natural gas companies from ever conducting hydraulic fracturing in her upstate New York community. She was raised in a family whose members did not close their eyes to the horrors around them.
Steingraber, who was adopted as an infant, said part of the game plan of those who carry out atrocities is to make them seem unstoppable and inevitable. In her role as a public health biologist, she is witnessing atrocities being committed against air, food and water by the natural gas industry and other industrial sectors. “It seems to me that we are in the middle of an ecological holocaust, to speak really bluntly,” Steingraber said in an interview.
Steingraber’s adoptive father had to go off and fight Adolf Hitler as an 18-year-old. During much of World War II, the German Wehrmacht seemed unstoppable. But ultimately Nazi Germany was defeated. Steingraber’s father and the millions of others battling Hitler’s military machine remained steadfast in part because they believed they were fighting a good fight.
The vast majority of Germans either participated in or overlooked the atrocities of Nazi Germany and later denied personal moral responsibility for what occurred around them. After the war, the rest of the world did not judge these people kindly. Because of the syndrome known as the “Good Germans,” the evil of Nazism was allowed to spread widely, Steingraber said.
Growing up in Illinois, the lesson she was taught by her parents and extended family was never act like a Good German. “You don’t judge the probability of success when you do the right thing,” she said. “You just do the right thing. And you do it with your whole heart.”
Today, Steingraber is inspired by the commitment of the individuals and grassroots groups who are working against the use of hydraulic fracturing, an industrial practice used for the extraction of natural gas. “I believe fracking in New York is stoppable,” she said. “It has to be stopped and therefore we can stop it.”
Steingraber is not an armchair activist. On April 17, a New York judge sentenced Sandra Steingraber, Melissa Chipman and Michael Dineen to 15 days in jail for their resistance to the heavy industrialization of their community in upstate New York.
A month earlier, Steingraber and 10 fellow residents of the Seneca Lake region, in a peaceful act of civil disobedience, blockaded the gate of a gas compressor station run by Missouri-based Inergy LLP. They were protesting their opposition to Inergy’s planned heavy industrialization of the Finger Lakes region.
While resistance to the natural gas industry is growing, not everyone is on board. As with the Good Germans of the 1930s and 1940s, there are many Americans living in fracking zones who are pretending that everything is normal and fine. Steingraber finds this type of mindset extremely troubling, especially among residents in New York where state officials are still considering whether to allow fracking.
“The biggest obstacle in our way, not to diminish the power of the oil and gas industry, which I fully acknowledge is the wealthiest and most powerful industry on the planet, but it’s really the advanced resignation of the people that they are about to run over that is my biggest problem right now,” Steingraber said.
Too many people believe it is not realistic to fight for the abolition of fracking. They opt instead to lobby lawmakers for stricter regulations. “That’s really a form of fatalism that’s treacherous,” Steingraber said. “There’s no science that shows regulations are actually protective. If we go the regulatory route, we are laying time bombs underneath New York.”
Resistance Is Never Futile
In her latest book, Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis, Steingraber cites a newspaper article in which an energy company official is quoted as saying, “The shale army has arrived. Resistance is futile.”
The U.S. natural gas industry indeed views the places where it sets up operations as a battlefield, especially in areas of the country where the industry has held little influence and lacked visibility. When it explores and drills for natural gas in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, there is relatively little public opposition to its activities. But as advances were made in hydraulic fracturing technology and extracting natural gas from shale rock became more economical, gas companies jumped at the opportunity to move into new areas where local politicians had yet to be paid off by the industry.
Legislators and regulators in the states situated above the Marcellus Shale, though, were easy targets. Public officials in Pennsylvania, for example, rolled over without any hesitation when the gas industry dangled large amounts of money before their eyes. The shale gas army moved into the state, known affectionately by drilling enthusiasts as the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas,” with the full blessing of state and local officials, even though studies had not been conducted to ensure gas drilling and its associated activities would not have adverse effects on local communities.
Unlike the paid-off politicians, many Pennsylvania residents viewed the gas industry with suspicion. The previous extractive industry to invade Pennsylvania—coal—also promised riches for everyone. But what the coal barons ultimately oversaw was the permanent scarring of a state, leaving behind destroyed ecosystems and countless cases of black lung. Recognizing a higher level of distrust than it faced in friendlier regions of the U.S., the gas industry knew it had a public relations battle on its hands.
The industry started pouring millions of dollars into advertising campaigns and building highly disciplined PR operations. Gas companies believed they were fighting an insurgency. As a result, they hired former U.S. military psychological operations, or psy-ops, experts comfortable in dealing with localized issues and local governments. “Having that understanding of psy-ops in the Army and in the Middle East has applied very helpfully here for us in Pennsylvania,” a gas company official said about his company’s decision to hire former military psy-ops experts.
In Raising Elijah, Steingraber acknowledges the shale gas army has arrived in the Marcellus Shale and has set its sights on her community in New York. But when the health of children and the future of the planet are at stake, resistance is never futile—“unless you believe sitting at a segregated lunch counter or standing before a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square is just a waste of time,” she writes in the book.
“If everyone who had quiet anxiety and concerns about fracking acted upon their values, we could stop it,” Steingraber said in an interview. “But it’s this advanced fatalism that I find most frustrating. It’s harder for me to deal with than the arguments of the oil and gas industry. I’m happy to debate the oil and gas industry anytime, anywhere. And if we’re having a fair and honest debate on the evidence, I always feel like I’ve won the argument.”
Working to Get Everyone on Board
Steingraber is particularly troubled by the so-called realism when it is practiced by the big environmental groups who then provide political cover for the natural gas industry. For example, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune revealed in a February 2012 interview with Time magazine that from 2007 to 2010 the Sierra Club had accepted $26 million from Chesapeake Energy Chairman and CEO Aubrey McClendon and other people associated with the natural gas producer.
Steingraber wrote a letter denouncing the Sierra Club for its decision to accept millions of dollars from the gas industry. In the letter, posted on the Orion Magazine website on March 23, 2012, Steingraber said she would be removing the Sierra Club’s endorsement—the group in 1999 called her “the new Rachel Carson”—from her website.
The Sierra Club’s response to her letter failed to placate Steingraber. “There has been no acknowledgement that in the years in which they were doing the bidding of the oil and gas industry that they provided political cover, including hoodwinking people like me,” she said in an interview.
Steingraber lives in Tompkins County, New York, where 40 percent of the land has been leased to natural gas drillers. She is angry at how the leasing was conducted in a hush-hush manner at a time when the big green groups were actively endorsing natural gas production. “How did I not know that?” she asks about the leasing activity. “To get to all the people who own 40 percent of the land and to get them to sign contracts, all kinds of house visits and phone calls had to happen when the Sierra Club was on the payroll.”
The messaging that people were hearing from the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense Fund was that natural gas is cleaner-burning than coal and would serve as the perfect bridge fuel to a sustainable energy future. At the time, when landmen were working overtime buying up leases across New York, the Sierra Club and the other big green groups failed to warn people about the dangers of the extraction process and the related activities that go along with natural gas drilling.
After Brune told Time magazine about the payments from the natural gas industry, Steingraber said she wanted to wait and see how the organization would react to the disclosure. Would they clean house and reorganize? After six weeks of waiting, she realized the organization would not be making any substantive changes. That’s when she decided to write her letter blasting the group.
“Any board member who had anything to do with it should resign,” Steingraber said. “Then there are reparations that need to happen. The Sierra Club helped to put the wheels of fracking in motion. And now people are hurt. People have poisoned water.”
Given the gas industry’s toxic track record and the fact the industry is gearing up to begin extracting natural gas in her community, Steingraber decided to devote a chapter of Raising Elijah to fracking and how it negatively impacts public health and the environment.
“The proposal to shatter the shale bedrock of our rural county and extract from it natural gas reveals the abandonment” of the precautionary principle, she writes in the book.
“I felt like I had to include a chapter on fracking in the book. It became the capstone final chapter, which I hope encapsulates all of the previous problems that I wrote about in the first nine chapters,” Steingraber said, adding that she is currently working on a book devoted entirely to fracking.
Refusing to Remain Silent
When she began researching and writing Raising Elijah four years ago, Steingraber said she did not aim to write about fracking. It was her intention to summarize for parents the state of the evidence on environmental health threats to pediatric development, from point of conception through and including puberty.
However, gradually she began to see fracking as the largest threat to children in the region of New York where she lives with her husband, Jeff de Castro, and her two children, Faith and Elijah. The younger of the two, Elijah, was named after Elijah Lovejoy, an abolitionist writer from Alton, Illinois, just down the river from where Steingraber grew up.
In her research, Steingraber learned that Lovejoy remained calm in his published writings about slave owners and their supporters. Lovejoy saved his fierce language for the citizens of Illinois who sought to remain above the fray, ignoring the evils of slavery. Lovejoy’s fellow residents in Alton volunteered to sign a resolution asking him to cease publication and leave town but would not sign a resolution that urged protection against mob rule. These people were “the ones who believed themselves upstandingly moral but who chose to remain silent about the great moral crisis of the day,” she said.
In November 1837, Lovejoy, 35, was killed by a mob, shot to death over his anti-slavery views. If his fellow citizens who opposed slavery had stood up to defend him and speak out against slavery, Lovejoy almost certainly would not have been killed. And if all of the Americans who chose to remain silent for so many years had decided to fight for what was right, slavery would have ended much earlier.
The same is true for protecting public health and the environment. Because of the significance of what is at stake, Steingraber views the anti-fracking movement as part of a long, noble history. But for the movement to be successful, people need to recognize that silence is complicity.
Steingraber, who earned a doctorate in biology from the University of Michigan, has studied the practice of hydraulic fracturing and its impact on humans and the environment. At a public health conference, she explained that fracking is a form of fossil fuel extraction that turns the earth inside out. It buries a surface resource that is vital to life—fresh water—and brings to the surface subterranean substances—hydrocarbons, radioactive materials, heavy metals, brine—that were once locked away in deep geological strata and now require permanent containment, she said.
“Before it is sent down the borehole, the fresh water used to fracture bedrock is mixed with inherently toxic materials. These include known and suspected carcinogens, neurological toxicants, and chemicals linked to pregnancy loss,” she explained. “At least one thousand truck trips are required to frack a single well. These trucks—along with earth-moving equipment, compressors, and condensers—release or create soot, volatile organic compounds, and ozone. Exposure to this kind of air pollution has demonstrable links to asthma, stroke, heart attack, cancers and preterm birth.”
Not only are natural gas producers using highly toxic substances to pull the methane out of shale gas formations deep below the earth’s surface, the gas getting extracted is being used as a feedstock for highly toxic chemicals. The widespread use of fracking is creating an abundant and cheaper feedstock to create these toxic chemicals. For many years, Steingraber worked for chemical reform and changing the nation’s laws that govern the production, use and disposal of toxic chemicals. But with fracking, she believes a new approach is needed.
“It really makes no sense for me to keep talking about how we need chemical reform when we keep blasting out of the ground more and more of the feedstock that makes that stuff,” she said.
One Battle at a Time
Steingraber, who also authored the acclaimed book Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment and is featured in a 2010 documentary of the same title, understands first-hand what is at stake for public health in the fracking wars. She is a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with bladder cancer more than three decades ago, at the age of 20. It is the most expensive kind of cancer because people can live a long life with it, but it tends to recur in the majority of patients. “It’s the cancer most likely to recur of all human cancers,” Steingraber said. “That means you live a really highly medical life forever and I’m also considered at high risk for other kinds of cancers. The medical surveillance that I’m under is intense.”
Steingraber isn’t the only cancer survivor in her immediate family. Her mother was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer when Steingraber was 15 years old. Her mother, who was told at the time that she had only months to live, is still alive and at 82 has outlived most of her doctors. “Her main message to me is don’t let them bury you until you are dead,” she said.
Looking back at World War II and her father’s fight against Nazi Germany, Steingraber recites a portion of the speech given by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill before the House of Commons and how it informs her battle with cancer and applies to the anti-fracking movement. “We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender,” Churchill said in the June 1940 speech.
“You just take it one battle at a time,” Steingraber said. “You bring the sort of Churchillian determination to every biopsy and you keep fighting.”
To aid in the fight against fracking, Steingraber made the decision to donate a significant portion of the $100,000 she received as a winner of the Heinz Award to help prevent fracking in New York.
Established by Teresa Heinz in 1993 to honor the memory of her late husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz, the awards recognize outstanding individuals for their contributions in the areas of the environment, arts and humanities, human condition, public policy, and technology, the economy and employment.
The Heinz Family Foundation selected Steingraber for the award for successfully bringing a human rights approach to the environmental crisis. “Dr. Steingraber urges governments to adopt policies that safeguard the healthy development of children and the abiding ecological systems on which their lives depend,” the Heinz Family Foundation said in its profile of the award recipients. “Dr. Steingraber has deployed her rare combination of abilities as a lyrical writer, disciplined scientist and passionate advocate to the pursuit of a healthier world for us all, saying, ‘What we love we must protect.’”
Steingraber said the timing of the award announcement influenced the outcome of her decision to use the money to fight fracking. When she received the telephone call from Teresa Heinz letting her know that she had won the award, Steingraber was on a research trip in the western U.S. studying the impact of fracking.
“I was in Salt Lake City when I got the phone call and it just happened that Tim DeChristopher, the activist who successfully disrupted the leasing of public land in southern Utah for the oil and gas industry, was being sentenced,” she said. “I was shocked that he got two years in prison. I was shocked that he was led away in chains.”
Resistance and Moral Obligations
Steingraber said DeChristopher’s speech at his sentencing hearing deeply moved her. “He looked at the judge and said, ‘This is what love looks like,’” she said. “The rest of his speech was all about our moral obligation at this moment in history to do whatever we can to the best of our ability to stop forms of resource extraction that are eliminating the future for young people. Here he was a young man going to prison acknowledging that this is taking away his future plans, but the point was he had no future anyway because of the oil and gas industry.”
So when she received the phone call from Teresa Heinz and realized she had a cash prize of $100,000 with no restrictions, Steingraber said “it seemed that I was called by Tim DeChristopher himself and his message to do everything I could to stop, to resist fracking.”
“I didn’t want to use the money to study fracking. I wanted to use it to stop fracking,” she said. DeChristopher is scheduled to exit federal incarceration on April 21.
In early 2012, Steingraber announced she would be providing the seed money for the formation of a statewide coalition called New Yorkers Against Fracking. Joining Steingraber as honorary advisory committee members were Niagara native, former Love Canal resident and founder of Center for Health, Environment and Justice Lois Gibbs and anti-fracking advocate and upstate resident and actor Mark Ruffalo.
Steingraber said her decision to donate a significant portion of the Heinz Award represents the reverse of what the oil and gas industry does. Oil and gas companies “come in and cut checks that they give to people in exchange for their compliance and silence,” she said. “I’m going to write a big check and push that into the community in exchange for resistance and speech.”
The $100,000 donation to New Yorkers Against Fracking represents less than what the oil and gas industry pays for a single television advertisement. “It’s nothing to them. It’s everything to me,” she said. “But because it’s everything to me, the gesture might have the power to inspire and embolden others to join this fight.”
After publicly announcing that she would give the money to fight fracking, Steingraber delivered a speech to a group of residents in upstate New York who were beginning the process of investigating ways to impose a moratorium or ban on fracking in their community. The man who was leading the effort told Steingraber that her decision to donate her money to the anti-fracking movement inspired him to take action.
“That’s exactly as I had hoped. It would be something that would counteract this resistance-is-futile message that they are getting from the oil and gas industry,” she said.
Experienced political strategists and coalition builders will run the group, but New Yorkers Against Fracking will not be an attempt to orchestrate the anti-fracking movement. “It’s going to serve as a megaphone and spotlight for the movement so that it makes the messaging more visible,” she said.
According to Steingraber, the environmental problems caused by fracking are first and foremost creating a crisis of family life because they prevent parents from protecting their children against things that are harmful. Her job as a parent has been “sabotaged” by a government that has failed to provide the necessary protection to allow for healthy child development, she said.
Steingraber emphasized that she and her family live a modest life in a small town in update New York. They live in a 1,000-square-foot house. Her 10-year-old son, Elijah, shares a bedroom with Steingraber and her husband. He really needs his own room at this point in his life, she said.
The $100,000 cash award could have gone toward upgrading her home or helping to pay her medical bills as a cancer survivor. “But am I really going to use the money to put an addition on my house when they’re about to blow the bedrock up underneath?” Steingraber asked. “It seemed to me that the best investment I could make with this money was to devote it to protecting the air, food and water of my little family.”
This article has been updated from a Press Action post from April 2012.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
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By Isabella Garcia
On Thanksgiving Day 2019, right after Caroline Laur had finished giving thanks for her home, a neighbor at church told her that a company had submitted permit requests to build an asphalt plant in their community. The plans indicated the plant would be 250 feet from Laur's backdoor.
Grassroots Resistance<p>The plant that would threaten Laur's health and home was awaiting the approval of an air permit by the North Carolina Department of Air Quality which, if approved, would basically greenlight the project. "This made me get out and go door to door," Laur says. One by one, she alerted her neighbors to the prospect of the asphalt plant. "I got to meet some of my neighbors I never knew before," she says. "There's no secret that there has always been a pretty strong line between the White community and the Black community here." In the end, three neighbors joined her efforts—the Rev. Bryon Shoffner, Anita Foust, and Bill Compton. Together, they formed the Anderson Community Group to advocate for environmental justice in their community.</p><p>"We are all the four corners of the community," Laur says with a laugh. "You've got a sick old White lady, Rev. Shoffner is a disabled vet, you've got Anita, who is a Black woman, and you've got a White, old country farmer. We all come from different faiths, but we've all come together as one."</p><p>Suddenly thrust into activism, the group contacted the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network, a coalition that provides resources and connections with other groups. "We advocate, we organize, and we assist communities with whatever actions they are thinking of trying to protect themselves," says Naeema Muhammad, the network's co-director. Muhammad met with the activists from Anderson and recognized their need for legal advice, so she connected them with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The legal resources were key when the group determined that the data from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality's environmental justice report wasn't adding up.</p><p>The report—a requirement for all DEQ permit requests—stated that the Anderson community was 33% minority. That seemed far too low to the residents, so the Anderson Community Group did a census of each house within a 1-mile radius of the proposed plant—the same radius considered in the DEQ's environmental justice report.</p><p>"Rev. Shoffner went out into the community and did his own survey and found out that it was more than 70% minority," Laur says. "That was huge, because that changed the situation to a Title VI matter." Title VI is a federal civil rights law that prevents people from being discriminated against on the grounds of race, color, or national origin. Title VI cases require a more rigorous and comprehensive environmental justice report, so recognizing the Anderson community as a Title VI matter increases the strength of their request for a more in-depth report.</p><p>The massive difference in race demographics comes down to census data, Laur says. The DEQ was using race data from the 2010 census, which was only <a href="https://www.censushardtocountmaps2020.us/?latlng=35.77385,-78.73807&z=7&query=coordinates::36.44038,-79.36343&promotedfeaturetype=states&arp=arpRaceEthnicity&baselayerstate=4&rtrYear=sR2010&infotab=info-rtrselfresponse&filterQuery=false" target="_blank">completed by about 64% of the population of Caswell County</a>—the county where Anderson is located. Laur says the Anderson population response rate could be even lower because the community is considered <a href="https://www.nccensus.org/about-the-census#hard-to-count-communities" target="_blank">"hard-to-count" by the U.S. Census Bureau</a>.</p><p>"The people who don't fill it out are rural people who want to keep their land and don't want zoning and minorities," Laur says, which creates skewed race demographics. The Anderson Community Group said that when they brought up this issue with the director of North Carolina DEQ, he said he was aware of the problem.</p><p>"So that tells me that all the EJ reports in North Carolina that have been done may not even be valid, just like ours," Laur says. "We were told that we are the first [community members] who have ever doubted it and checked it out."</p>
Elevating Voices<p>Determined to have new data collected, the Anderson Community Group rallied in early 2020. After learning from the state Department of Air Quality, the department responsible for approving or rejecting the asphalt air permit, that 100 statements of concern from community members would be sufficient to trigger a public hearing, the Anderson group gathered letters of concern from their community. They submitted more than 108.</p><p>"Then we were told there wasn't enough concern to have a public hearing," Laur says. "So, we started inundating the [Department of Air Quality director with emails and phone calls from the community."</p><p>Finally, in February 2020, the DEQ declared a public comment period for the issue, effectively placing the air permit for the asphalt plant on hold until a public hearing August 3. The public hearing will be held online because of COVID-19, but Laur says most people in Anderson don't own computers, and won't be able to attend. When the community group filed a complaint regarding accessibility, the DEQ then allowed public comments to be submitted via voicemail.</p><p>"Well, we don't have a cell tower out here," Laur says. She has personally never been able to use her cellphone in her home, and even her landline phone drops calls frequently. Even being able to afford a landline is a luxury in Anderson, Laur says.</p>
By Danielle Nierenberg and Jason Flatt
The world's Indigenous Peoples face severe and disproportionate rates of food insecurity. While Indigenous Peoples comprise 5 percent of the world's population, they account for 15 percent of the world's poor, according to the World Health Organization.
1. Aboriginal Carbon Foundation (Oceania)<p>The Aboriginal Carbon Foundation is building a carbon farming industry in Australia by Aboriginals, for Aboriginals. The Foundation offers training and support for new Indigenous farmers so they can learn how to capture atmospheric carbon in the soil. The carbon farming projects generate certified <a href="http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/Infohub/Markets/buying-accus/australian-carbon-credit-unit-supply" target="_blank">Australian Carbon Credit Units</a> (ACCU), which major carbon-producing businesses must purchase to offset their carbon emissions. Income generated by ACCUs is reinvested in Aboriginal communities by the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation and its participating farmers.</p>
2. AgroEcology Fund (International)<p>The AgroEcology Fund (AEF) galvanizes global leaders and experts to fund <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/07/26-organizations-working-to-conserve-seed-biodiversity/" target="_blank">biodiverse</a> and regenerative agriculture projects worldwide. Projects funded by AEF have included Indigenous food sovereignty initiatives, agroecology training institutions, and women's market access networks on every continent. With the support of governments and financial institutions, AEF hopes that agroecology will become the standard model for food production worldwide within thirty years.</p>
3. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (Asia)<p>The Asia Indigenous People Pact is an alliance of Indigenous organizations across southern and eastern Asia. Collectively, the Pact promotes and protects Indigenous lands, food systems, and biodiversity. Their alliance is bolstered by regional youth and women's networks, as well as support from international institutions, including the United Nations and Oxfam.</p>
4. Association of Guardians of the Native Potato from Central Peru (South America)<p>The Association of Guardians of the Native Potato from Central Peru (AGUAPAN) is a collective of Indigenous farmers. Each farmer grows between 50 and 300 ancestral varieties of potato, which are <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/07/food-tanks-summer-2020-reading-list/" target="_blank">indigenous to the Andes Mountains</a> of modern-day Peru. AGUAPAN farmers preserve the crop's biodiversity in their native communities and band together to advocate for economic, gender, education, and healthcare equity.</p>
5. Cheyenne River Youth Project (North America)<p>The Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte, South Dakota has served Lakota youth for more than three decades. Its Native Food Sovereignty initiative offers public workshops on <a href="https://www.nativeseeds.org/blogs/blog-news/how-to-grow-a-three-sisters-garden" target="_blank">Three Sisters gardening</a> of corn, beans, and squash. They also offer classes on Indigenous plants, gardening, and cooking. Their Winyan Tokay Win (Leading Lady) Garden serves as an outdoor classroom to reacquaint Lakota children with the earth. Their other programs use food grown in the garden for meals and snacks. They also sell surplus crops at their weekly Leading Lady Farmer's Market.</p>
6. Dream of Wild Health (North America)<p>Dream of Wild Health runs a 10-acre farm just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their Indigenous Food Share CSA program and farmer's market booths sell produce and value-added products grown by Native Americans. During the summer, Dream of Wild Health offers a Garden Warriors program where children can learn about seed saving, foraging, farmers market management, and other aspects of food sovereignty. They also host the <a href="https://dreamofwildhealth.org/indigenous-food-network" target="_blank">Indigenous Food Network</a> (IFN), a collective of Indigenous partners who advocate for local and regional policy changes. The IFN also hosts community food tasting events featuring prominent Indigenous chefs.</p>
7. First Peoples Worldwide (International)<p>First Peoples Worldwide was <a href="http://www.firstpeoples.org/" target="_blank">founded</a> by Cherokee social entrepreneur <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQxwHVeH6zc" target="_blank">Rebecca Adamson</a> to help businesses to align with First Peoples' rights. Now a part of the University of Colorado's <a href="https://www.colorado.edu/business/CESR" target="_blank">Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility</a>, First Peoples Worldwide continues to ensure that Indigenous voices are at the forefront of decision-making processes affecting their own self-determination. The organization works with businesses and institutions to assess their investments and guide them in incorporating Indigenous Peoples' rights and interests into their business decisions.</p>
8. Indigikitchen (North America)<p>Mariah Gladstone's Indigikitchen uses Native foods as resistance. Her <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO918GT8I3HX5f4Z1xKCV4A" target="_blank">cooking videos</a> offer healthy, creative ways to eat <a href="https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=PR005" target="_blank">pre-contact</a>, Indigenous foods. The recipes abstain from highly-processed grains, dairy, and sugar, ingredients that did not become standard in diets of the Americas until European colonization. Indigikitchen hopes that its recipes inspire Indigenous cooks to connect with Native foods.</p>
9. Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (North America)<p>The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas provides model policies for Tribal governments to help <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/05/colby-duren-talks-indigenous-food-and-agriculture-policy/" target="_blank">promote and protect food sovereignty</a>. They also co-organize the Native Farm Bill Coalition with the <a href="https://shakopeedakota.org/" target="_blank">Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community</a>, the <a href="https://www.indianag.org/" target="_blank">Intertribal Agriculture Council</a>, and the <a href="http://www.ncai.org/" target="_blank">National Congress of American Indians</a>. The Initiative hosts annual <a href="https://indigenousfoodandag.com/resources/native-youth-summit/" target="_blank">Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summits</a>, where American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian youth can learn about agricultural business, land stewardship, agricultural law, and more.</p>
10. Indigenous Food Systems Network (North America)<p>The Indigenous Food Systems Network (IFSN) is a convener of Indigenous food producers, researchers, and policymakers across the 98 Indigenous nations of Canada. IFSN supports research, policy reform, and direct action that builds food sovereignty in Indigenous communities. The organization's Indigenous Food Sovereignty <a href="http://www.bcfsn.org/mailman/listinfo/ifs_bcfsn.org" target="_blank">email listserv</a> offers its subscribers everything from stories and legends to recipes and policy reform tools.</p>
11. Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (International)<p>Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty is an international organization based in Rome, Italy connecting the world's Indigenous People to agricultural research and advocacy groups. With Indigenous communities from China to India and Thailand to Latin America, Indigenous Partnerships forges dialogues within Indigenous communities to ensure <a href="http://www.fao.org/indigenous-peoples/our-pillars/fpic/en/" target="_blank">free, prior, and informed consent</a> between research and advocacy partners. Indigenous Partnerships also seeks to incorporate global and local Indigenous knowledge into non-Indigenous knowledge systems.</p>
12. Indigenous Terra Madre (International)<p>Indigenous Terra Madre is a global network of Indigenous Peoples sponsored by <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/06/living-the-slow-food-life-during-lockdown/" target="_blank">Slow Food</a>, an international institution based in Rome, Italy. The network amplifies Indigenous voices and protects the biodiversity of the crops Indigenous communities cultivate. By providing a platform for Indigenous communities to pool power and resources, Indigenous Terra Madre fights to defend the land, culture, and opportunity of all Indigenous Peoples.</p>
13. Intertribal Agriculture Council (North America)<p>The American Indian Food Program by the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) helps Native American and Alaskan Native agribusinesses and food entrepreneurs expand their market reach. The Made/Produced by American Indians Trademark promoted by the IAC identifies certified American Indian products and is used by over 500 businesses. IAC's other major American Indian Food Program, Native Food Connection, helps market Native American foods and food producers across the United States. IAC also offers technical and natural resource assistance to connect Native businesses with U.S. Department of Agriculture programs and conservation stewardship resources.</p>
14. Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska (North America)<p>Through its Alaskan Inuit Food Sovereignty Initiative, the Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska is convening Inuit community leaders from across Alaska. The Initiative seeks to unify Inuit throughout the state to advocate for land and wildlife management sovereignty. The Initiative also strives for international cooperation to promote food sovereignty across <a href="https://indigenouspeoplesatlasofcanada.ca/article/inuit-nunangat/" target="_blank">Inuit Nunaat</a>.</p>
15. Mantasa (Asia)<p>Mantasa is a research institution in Indonesia dedicated to expanding the number of indigenous plants consumed by the Javanese people. According to Mantasa, only 20 plant species comprise 90 percent of Javanese food needs. Their research is incorporating new wild foods from Indonesia's vast biodiversity into Javanese diets to improve food security and nutrition. Mantasa also helps promote these foods to consumers and local farmers to increase their popularity.</p>
16. Muonde Trust (Africa)<p>In Mazvhiwa, Zimbabwe, the Muonde Trust invests in Indigenous innovations in food, land, and water management. The Trust seeks out individuals with new ideas and provides peer-to-peer support to help bring those ideas to life. Muonde Trust currently supports innovations in indigenous seed saving and sharing, livestock and woodland management, irrigation systems, and constructing kitchen spaces.</p>
17. Native American Agriculture Fund (North America)<p>The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) is the largest philanthropic supporter of Native American agriculture. The Fund offers grants to Tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions to support healthy lands, healthy people, and healthy economies. In 2020, NAAF is offering US$1 million in grant funds specifically for youth initiatives and young farmers and ranchers. NAAF is also centralizing COVID-19 relief information for Native farmers, ranchers, fishers, and Tribal governments.</p>
18. Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (North America)<p>The Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA) places Indigenous farmers, wild-crafters, fishers, hunters, ranchers, and eaters at the center of the fight to restore Indigenous food systems and self-determination. NAFSA's primary initiatives are the Indigenous Seedkeepers Network, the Food and Culinary Mentorship Program, and their Native Food Sovereignty Events. Each of these initiatives centers around the reclamation of Indigenous seeds and foods.</p>
19. Native Seed/SEARCH (North America)<p>Native Seed/SEARCH preserves and proliferates <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/07/a-call-for-community-based-seed-diversity-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/" target="_blank">indigenous seeds</a> through their Native Access programs. Their Native American Seed Request program offers free seed packets to Native Americans living in or originating from the Greater Southwestern Region. The Bulk Seed Exchange allows growers to pay it forward by returning 1.5 times the seeds they receive to be put towards future Native American Seed Request packs. While Native Seed/SEARCH sells an assortment of popular seeds to the general public, its collection of indigenous seeds are <a href="https://www.nativeseeds.org/pages/native-access" target="_blank">only available to Native farmers</a> and families. They hope these seeds will revitalize traditional foods and build food sovereignty.</p>
20. Navajo Ethno-Agriculture (North America)<p><span style="background-color: initial;">Navajo Ethno-Agriculture is sustaining Navajo culture through lessons on traditional farming. The seasonal courses focus on land, water, and food as students cultivate, harvest, and prepare heritage crops. During COVID-19, Navajo Ethno-Agriculture suspended its courses and is focusing on supplying neighboring farms with heritage seeds and farm equipment. They are also offering food processing and packaging services to protect and rejuvenate soil.</span><br></p>
21. North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (North America)<p><span style="background-color: initial;">Founded by the chefs of </span><a href="https://sioux-chef.com/" target="_blank" style="background-color: initial;">The Sioux Chef</a><span style="background-color: initial;">, North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NāTIFS) is reimagining the North American food system as a generator of wealth and good health for Native communities. The organization seeks to reverse the effects of forced assimilation and colonization through food entrepreneurship and a reclamation of ancestral education. NāTIFS is establishing an </span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/indigenousfoodlab/" target="_blank" style="background-color: initial;">Indigenous Food Lab</a><span style="background-color: initial;"> in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a training center and restaurant for Native chefs and food. NāTIFS plans to eventually spread this model across North America.</span><br></p>
22. Oyate Teca Project (North America)<p><br></p><p>In response to dire food access on the Pine Ridge Reservation in North Dakota, the Oyate Teca Project offers year-long classes in gardening, food entrepreneurship, and traditional food preservation techniques. Oyate Teca helps make local foods available to the community by selling produce grown in their half-acre garden at farmer's markets. The project also serves as an emergency food provider for families and children.</p>
23. Tebtebba (Asia)<p><span style="background-color: initial;">Tebtebba is an international organization based in the Philippines committed to sharing global Indigenous wisdom. Its Indigenous Peoples and Biodiversity project strengthens Indigenous organizations' research, policy advocacy, and education on biodiversity. The project also works directly with Indigenous communities to strengthen their governance structures, protect their land, and improve their food security.</span><br></p>
24. Sierra Seeds (North America)<p><br></p><p><a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/06/new-on-the-podcast-rowen-white-talks-indigenous-seed-sovereignty-and-viraj-puri-says-urban-greenhouses-can-transform-produce/" target="_blank">Rowan White</a> and her organization, Sierra Seeds, are dedicated to the next generation of farmers, gardeners, and food justice activists. Her flagship program, Seed Seva, offers a multi-layered education on seed stewardship and Indigenous permaculture. The program is offered online, allowing anybody to access White's wisdom. Additionally, Sierra Seeds offers a <a href="https://sierraseeds.org/seeding-change/" target="_blank">Seeding Change</a> leadership incubator, where emerging food justice leaders meet virtually to support one another while developing individual projects.</p>
25. Storying Kaitiakitanga (Oceania)<p><span style="background-color: initial;">Storying Kaitiakitanga – A Kaupapa Māori Land and Water Food Story is a project of Dr. Jessica Hutchings and other Māori researchers and storytellers. The project was developed as part of the </span><a href="https://www.ourlandandwater.nz/" target="_blank" style="background-color: initial;">Our Land and Water National Science Challenge</a><span style="background-color: initial;"> to collect the stories of Māori food producers across the food system. Storying Kaitiakitanga is exploring how traditional Māori principles and practices can inspire more sustainable food systems for the next generation. Stories include beekeepers, yogurt producers, and business development service providers.</span><br></p>
26. Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (North America)<p><span style="background-color: initial;">The Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC) is a grassroots Lakota organization building food sovereignty on the Pine Ridge Reservation in North Dakota. Their reservation-wide Food Sovereignty Coalition is dedicated to reconstructing a healthy local food system. They have greatly increased food production on the reservation and train residents and students on Oglala food histories, current local foods, gardening, and food preservation.</span><br></p>
27. Wangi Tangni (Central America)<p><span style="background-color: initial;">In Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast, the women of Indigenous Miskita communities receive native plants from Wangi Tangni to grow for food, medicine, and reforestation. The organization provides communal and legal support for women, many of whom do not speak Spanish. The organization's overall mission is to promote political participation and gender equality through sustainable development projects such as indigenous plant rematriation.</span><br></p>
28. Zuni Youth Enrichment Project (North America)<p><span style="background-color: initial;">The public schools of the Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico and Arizona partner with the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project to build gardening spaces and provide nutrition education. The partnership is intended to reintroduce traditional knowledge and practices into students' educations about food. The Project hopes that the community gardens will also inspire more Zuni to grow their own food and reduce rates of obesity and diabetes in their communities.</span><br></p>
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By Olivia Sullivan
One of the many unfortunate outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has been the quick and obvious increase in single-use plastic products. After COVID-19 arrived in the United States, many grocery stores prohibited customers from using reusable bags, coffee shops banned reusable mugs, and takeout food with plastic forks and knives became the new normal.
Kamikatsu, Japan. Yuki Shimazu / CC BY-SA 2.0<p>This reveals a worldwide truth: Even products made mostly from easily recyclable materials like paper, aluminum or cardboard can't be sorted and recycled if they contain plastic components that can't be separated.</p><p>The truth is, some materials simply aren't recyclable, and <a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782" target="_blank">only 9%</a> of all the plastic ever created has <em>been </em>recycled. As Kamikatsu's residents have painstakingly proven, no matter how many categories consumers sort their waste into or how diligently they scrub down their plastic food containers, most plastics <a href="https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Greenpeace-Report-Circular-Claims-Fall-Flat.pdf" target="_blank">cannot be recycled</a>.</p><p>Meanwhile we keep hearing the <a href="https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/504091-the-insanity-of-plastic-recycling" target="_blank">industry-driven narrative</a> that recycling can stop plastic from choking our marine life or littering our natural places. That's intentionally misleading.</p><p>Around the world, as in Kamikatsu, plastic is everywhere. With excessive amounts of plastic products and packaging stocked on store shelves, it's clear that zero-waste goals cannot be achieved by consumers alone. Plastic is not a "zero waste" material, so in order to achieve zero waste, companies must stop making so much plastic.</p>
Marine debris collected at Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. NOAA<p>We can achieve that. The first steps include banning some of the worst and most polluting single-use plastics, placing a pause on the development of new plastics facilities, and protecting state and local governments' ability to enact more stringent regulations.</p><p>We must also shift the paradigm by holding producers responsible for the waste they create. By requiring new plastic products to contain recycled plastic and making producers fund the collection and recycling of plastic products, producers would be incentivized to design longer lasting products that can <em>actually</em> be reused and recycled.</p><p>These goals — outlined in numerous scientific studies and advocacy reports — have some forward motion. In the United States, a federal bill was recently introduced in both the House and the Senate, the <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5845" target="_blank">Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act</a>. If passed this bill — or others like it on the local, state or national levels — could help move the world beyond single-use plastics and make that needed systemic change a reality.</p><p>The bill hasn't moved forward since it was introduced this past February, but the world is still on a deadline. A recent study published in the journal <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/07/22/science.aba9475" target="_blank"><em>Science</em></a> looked at rising levels of plastic production and said "coordinated global action is urgently needed to reduce plastic consumption, increase rates of reuse, waste collection and recycling, expand safe disposal systems and accelerate innovation in the plastic value chain."</p><p>Requiring producers to stop making nonrecyclable products designed to be thrown out is the first step toward achieving that goal. Only then will Kamikatsu and other towns, cities and countries around the world finally be able to eliminate plastic pollution and reach 100% zero waste.</p><p><em>The opinions expressed above are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of </em>The Revelator<em>, the Center for Biological Diversity or their employees.</em></p><p><a href="https://therevelator.org/author/oliviasullivan/" target="_blank">Olivia Sullivan</a> <em><em>is a zero waste associate with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) working on a campaign to move the United States beyond plastic.</em></em></p><p><em><em><span></span>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://therevelator.org/cities-zero-waste/" target="_blank">The Revelator</a>. </em></em></p>
The shelter in place orders that brought clean skies to some of the world's most polluted cities and saw greenhouse gas emissions plummet were just a temporary relief that provided an illusory benefit to the long-term consequences of the climate crisis. According to new research, the COVID-19 lockdowns will have a "neglible" impact on global warming, as Newshub in New Zealand reported.
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Scientists have discovered and diagnosed the first instance of malignant cancer in a dinosaur, and they did so by using modern medical techniques. They published their results earlier this week in The Lancet Oncology.
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By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts
The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.
The Hedonometer measures happiness through analysis of key words on Twitter, which is now used by one in five Americans. This chart covers 18 months from early 2019 to July 2020, showing major dips in 2020. hedonometer.org<p>These same tweets also indicate a potential salve. Before pandemic lockdowns began, doctoral student <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=0P0ZYbIAAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">Aaron Schwartz</a> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10045" target="_blank">compared tweets before, during, and after visits to 150 parks, playgrounds and plazas</a> in San Francisco. He found that park visits corresponded with a spike in happiness, followed by an afterglow lasting up to four hours.</p><p>Tweets from parks contained fewer negative words such as "no," "not" and "can't," and fewer first-person pronouns like "I" and "me." It seems that nature makes people more positive and less self-obsessed.</p><p>Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. Research has also shown that transmission rates for COVID-19 are <a href="https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Is-risk-of-coronavirus-transmission-lower-15287602.php" target="_blank">much lower outdoors than inside</a>. As scholars who study <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=yFzb2EUAAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">conservation</a> and how nature <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=CCnUeN8AAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">contributes to human well-being</a>, we see opening up parks and creating new ones as a straightforward remedy for Americans' current blues.</p>
Park Visits Are Up During the Pandemic<p>According to the Hedonometer, sentiments expressed online started trending lower in mid-March as the impacts of the pandemic became clear. As lockdowns continued, they registered the lowest sentiment scores on record. Then in late May, effects from George Floyd's death in police custody and the following protests and police response once again could be seen on Twitter. May 31, 2020 was the saddest day of the project.</p><p>Recent surveys of park visitors around the University of Vermont have shown people <a href="https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/sd3h6" target="_blank">using green spaces more</a> since COVID-19 lockdowns began. Many people reported that parks were highly important to their well-being during the pandemic.</p>
<div id="4c7e4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bc0ac146ab2a94228f32d973fc2ab272"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1289428912879964160" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">#Goldengatepark #sf #quarantinemood https://t.co/9l3ufnbkt6</div> — Suvd (@Suvd)<a href="https://twitter.com/Suvd19486406/statuses/1289428912879964160">1596258783.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The powerful effects of nature are strongest in large parks with more trees, but smaller neighborhood parks also provide a significant boost. Their impact on happiness is real, measurable and lasting.</p><p>Twitter records show that parks increase happiness to a level similar to the bounce at Christmas, which typically is the happiest day of the year. Schwartz has since expanded his <a href="https://arxiv.org/pdf/2006.10658.pdf" target="_blank">Twitter study</a> to the 25 largest cities in the U.S. and found this bounce everywhere.</p><p>Parks and public spaces won't cure COVID-19 or stop police brutality, but they are far more than playgrounds. There is growing evidence that parks contribute to mental and physical health in a range of communities.</p><p>In a 2015 study, for example, Stanford researchers sent people out for one of two walks: through a local park or on a busy street. Those who walked in nature showed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.02.005" target="_blank">improved moods and better memory performance</a> compared to the urban group. And a team led by <a href="https://penniur.upenn.edu/people/eugenia-gina-south" target="_blank">Gina South</a> of the University of Pennsylvania showed in a 2018 study that greening and cleaning up blighted vacant lots in Philadelphia <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0298" target="_blank">reduced local residents' feelings of depression, worthlessness and poor mental health</a>.</p>
Creative Strategies<p>It isn't easy to create new parks on the scale of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park or the Washington Mall, but smaller projects can expand outdoor space. Options include greening vacant lots, closing streets and investing in existing parks to make them safer, greener and shadier and support wildlife.</p><p>These initiatives don't have to be capital-intensive. In the University of Pennsylvania study, for example, renovating a vacant lot by removing trash, planting grass and trees and installing a low fence cost only about US$1,600.</p><p>Urban green space is most needed in neighborhoods that have lacked funding for parks, especially given <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/nyregion/coronavirus-race-deaths.html" target="_blank">COVID-19's disproportionate impact on Black and Latinx people</a>.</p><p>Cities can also create parklike spaces by <a href="https://theconversation.com/with-fewer-cars-on-us-streets-now-is-the-time-to-reinvent-roadways-and-how-we-use-them-140408" target="_blank">closing streets to cars</a>. Many cities worldwide are currently retooling their transportation systems for the post-COVID-19 world in order to <a href="https://thecityfix.com/blog/bicycles-slower-speeds-livable-city-paris-mayor-anne-hidalgo-plans-ambitious-second-term-dario-hidalgo/" target="_blank">reallocate public space</a>, widen sidewalks and make more space for nature.</p><p>Urban designers, artists, ecologists and other citizens can play a direct role, too, creating pop-up parks and green spaces. Some advocates <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-15/a-brief-history-of-park-ing-day" target="_blank">transform parking spaces into mini-parks</a> with grass, potted trees and seating for just the time on the meter, to make a larger point about turning so much public space over to cars.</p><p>Or cities can invest a little more. Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Arlington, Virginia, have won <a href="https://www.tpl.org/parkscore" target="_blank">national recognition</a> for their ambitious investments in public park systems. These areas could serve as models for neighborhoods that lack access to parks.</p>
<div id="25fd0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="383f0d2df0237e9359c30dcce6cd6c42"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1276558744835379201" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Looking to safely get outside? Check out the best parks for social distancing in this year's top ten ParkScore citi… https://t.co/HJjEtDsrTD</div> — The Trust for Public Land (@The Trust for Public Land)<a href="https://twitter.com/tpl_org/statuses/1276558744835379201">1593190296.0</a></blockquote></div>
A New Park Deal?<p>The United States has historically driven economic recovery with major infrastructure investments, like the New Deal in the 1930s and the 2009 <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/american-recovery-and-reinvestment-act.asp" target="_blank">American Reinvestment and Recovery Act</a>. Such investments could easily include nature-positive spaces.</p><p>Parks are not panaceas, as evidenced by the widely publicized <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/06/nyregion/amy-cooper-false-report-charge.html" target="_blank">racist confrontation between a white woman and a Black birder</a> in New York's Central Park in early July. But Hedonometer data add to a <a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/7/eaax0903?utm_source=miragenews&utm_medium=miragenews&utm_campaign=news" target="_blank">growing body of evidence</a> that they provide <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1807504116" target="_blank">clear mental health benefits</a>. Creating and expanding parks also <a href="https://www.nrpa.org/contentassets/f568e0ca499743a08148e3593c860fc5/economic-impact-study-summary.pdf" target="_blank">generates jobs and economic activity</a>, with much of the money spent locally.</p><p>We believe investments in nature are well worth it, offering both short-term solace in difficult times and long-term benefits to health, economies and communities.</p>
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New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.