Reading, Writing and Photography about
Justice, the Environment, Chaos,
and Cooperation in North America.
January 6, 2022
Craig Rock, editor and photographer, email@example.com
All images and writings copyrighted by the editor unless otherwise noted.
Use above email for permission to use material for non-commercial use.
What is Borderlands Digest?
Welcome to the online journal Borderlands Digest. This site is designed for teachers, journalists, community organizers, social justice groups and others who are focused on improving the quality of life in their communities. Stories, poems, and photographs center on the environment and people in the culturally diverse communities of North America. Most writings and photos will be about areas that I have researched, lived in, or traveled to over the last 50 years. My job experience, education, and volunteer work narrows my focus to the environment, criminal justice, and immigration. I realized this journal can't cover every aspect of these three important challenges. I beg your participation in providing related examples of challenges and solutions that you've come across in your community or in your research. Please share this website with others. We have a short period of time before a possible change of administration. In my opinion, these are three specific failures that we should examine in the coming months:
The failure of lawmakers to regulate businesses that pollute our air and water.
The failure of lawmakers to control gun violence including killings by criminals, the mentally ill, and the police.
the failure of our country to grant citizenship to the 800,000 young people who are temporarily protected from deportation by DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
Use the email that follows to subscribe to this free publication. Articles, poetry and photos are welcome. For consideration, send your work to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. See examples of the community and student projects that I have been involved with by clicking the "About" link at the top of this page.
Table of Contents
Page 1 (Home) Artic Report Card; What's Polluting the Air?; Covid and Clean Air; Two Democrats Kill Mining Law Reforms; Agreement to Protect NY's Water; Corporations and Community; Citizens Divided (poem); Getting Involved with workers' rights.
Page 2 Poems by David Bolton; ProPublica's Local Reporting Network; Promoting Change on the Local Level; Update from Everytown for Gun Safety.
Page 3 Killers of Journalists getting away with Murder; Once a Safe-haven now What; Rise of Government Censorship in Hollywood, Less We Forget about Child Labor; Pablo Neruda, Hero of the Americas.
Page 4 Environmental/Justice Links, Page 5 About his website.
A NOAA Press Release (edited) December 9,2021
NOAA's 2021 Arctic Report
A ProPublica Report - December 16, 2021 (This story was originally published by ProPublica, Click here for their story link.)
What’s Polluting the Air? Not Even the EPA Can Say.
Despite the high stakes for public health, the EPA relies on emissions data it knows to be inaccurate. To expose toxic hot spots, we first had to get the facts straight.
Calico Basin Red Rock near Las Vegas NV
Covid and Clean Air
by Dr. Joanne Leovy
(There are some issues that divide us and some that bring us together. For example, affordable housing, adequate health care and food, a decent education, clean air to breathe, and safe water to drink are issues that bring many people together. This poem was "inspired" by forces that tear us apart.)
by Craig Rock
Social Justice has come a long way since the early 1900s. Note the young age of coal mine workers in the first couple rows of this 1911 Lewis Hine photograph. The Library of Congress (LOC) reports that Hine was an "investigative photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC). He documented working and living conditions of children in the U.S. between 1908 and 1924. NCLC photos are useful for the study of labor, reform movements, children, working class families, education, public health, housing conditions, industrial and agricultural sites.....
Background and Scope
Dead Horse Point looking at the Colorado River near Moab, Utah.
Two Democrats Kill Mining Law Reforms in Natural Resources Senate Committee
The nearly 150-year old law (1872) allows mining companies to extract resources like copper and lithium royalty-free.
Read about in High Country News, click here
Earth Justice Press Release December 23, 2021
Agreement to Protect New York's Water
Corporations and Communities
"those who pillage and run...
those who settle"
edited by Craig Rock
As corporations outsource our good jobs, and buy up our lands, our public buildings, and even our prisons, our attachment to places in the West is threatened. Wendell Berry is one of the leading advocates in protecting "places" and reminding us of their value in life.
If you get a chance, listen or read one of the many Wendell Berry talks on Youtube, including the "The Contrariness of the Mad Farmer." Berry has a knack of applying local history and a sense of place to today’s most important challenge: impersonal corporations versus the individual and community. Here’s a snippet of his talk that will hopefully interest people with diverse political perspectives.
“My effort to make sense of this memory and its encompassing history has depended on a pair of terms used by my teacher, Wallace Stegner. He thought rightly that we Americans, by inclination at least, have been divided into two kinds: “boomers” and “stickers.” Boomers, he said, are “those who pillage and run,” who want “to make a killing and end up on Easy Street,” whereas stickers are “those who settle, and love the life they have made and the place they have made it in.” “Boomer” names a kind of person and ambition that is the major theme, so far, of the history of the European races in our country...The boomer is motivated by greed, the desire for money, property, and therefore power.
.... Stickers, on the contrary, are motivated by affection, by such love for a place and its life that they want to preserve it and remain in it.
Of my grandfather, I need to say only that he shared in the virtues and the faults of his kind and time, one of his virtues being that he was a sticker. He belonged to a family who had come to Kentucky from Virginia, and who intended to go no farther. He was the third in his paternal line to live in the neighborhood of our little town of Port Royal, and he was the second to own the farm where he was born in 1864 and where he died in 1946.”
Why Get Involved in Workers' Rights -
It's All Connected
by Craig Rock
(Above) Blue Blaze Mining Town near Price Utah, Workers Coming Home, Dorothea Lange, 1936, Library of Congress
The 1970s was a time of great hope - including hope that we should not and would not continue supporting dictators - dictators who arrested, tortured, and even murdered those who spoke out for civil and worker rights. Jimmy Carter was elected president. The words “human rights” became popular. And as you walked the streets of Berkeley, you could hear the words, daily chants, “El pueblo unido, jamas sera vencido.” The people united, will never be defeated. And today, for the most part, our country no longer supports dictators around the world.
However, we still face a similar challenge with some employers who rule over the lives of their workers through the use of fear, so they do not complain about unfair working conditions or harassment, so they accept wages insufficient for a reasonable standard of living, and a health insurance plan inadequate for decent medical, vision, and dental care.
Younger generations may have hoped for some resolution of these economic justice challenges in the early 1990s when the Cold War ended with the breakup of the Soviet Union. All the funds allocated to that war could now be spent on housing, hunger, and health care. But the military industrial complex found other wars and weapons to spend trillions of dollars on. Even today as our country leaves a major engagement with the Taliban and ISIS in Afghanistan, Congress approved the highest defense budget ever, even more than requested by the Biden administration.
We can only hope that some day society will not look the other way when it comes to a humane standard of living for everyone, not based on the size of a person’s fortune but on the mere fact that we all are human beings on the planet together for a relatively short time.
(Below) Lunch time for Peach Pickers, Muscella Georgia, Dorothea Lange, 1936, Library of Congress