My top recommendation this week is Lummi elder Jewell James’ article in the Bellingham Herald:
In August we make our journey from South Dakota to the Salish Sea and north to Alberta, Canada, stopping with many of the tribal and local communities whose lives unwillingly intersect with the paths of coal exports and tar sands. We will carry with us a 19-foot-tall totem that brings to mind our shared responsibility for the lands, the waters and the peoples who face environmental and cultural devastation from fossil fuel megaprojects. We travel in honor of late elder, and leader, and guiding light Billy Frank, Jr., who would remind us that we are stewards placed here to live with respect for our shared, sacred obligation to the creation, the plants and animals, the peoples and all our relations.
There’s plenty of other coal reading this week too.
The tireless folks over at DeSmogBlog bring news that environmental groups are suing a major coal exporter on the lower Mississippi. The photographic evidence they present is completely consistent with my observations when I visited the site a few months back—a horrifying look at how callous and destructive coal terminal operators are.
A new video critique of coal export plans is out on Vimeo. Check out: Coal Road to China.
Rail workers try to put the brakes on coal and oil shipper BNSF Railway’s scheme to have just a single person on some freight trains.
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Finally, I think it’s obvious to everyone that we don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about the Roman Empire. So it’s a relief to see Vox publish 40 maps that explain it.
I am a big fan of donuts. Apparently, so are bears. And some are smart enough to figure out how to get some for themselves. (Alternative possibility: I shape-shifted this past weekend.)
As an alum of a Catholic high school with a uniform code that relegated all us girls to boxy polo shirts and “Dockers-style” khaki pants or to-the-knee skirts, I can’t imagine having been half as self-possessed or thoughtful about our dress policy as this young woman out of Seattle’s Ballard High School. Along with some friends, Annie Vizenor is staging a “style coup” to confront the victim-blaming-inspired dress code policy her school enforces, complete with some DIY shirts with statements like, “My bra straps are not the problem…YOU are the problem.” Get it, girl.
Continuing my fascination from last week with off-grid folks, this: a man who lived alone in the woods for nearly three decades, talking to almost no one the entire time, was just found and arrested. (He stole a lot of stuff over the course of his hermitage.)
I really enjoyed this piece, “Social Media IS Professional Development,” from Andrea Learned, who (full disclosure) coached me on social media for Sightline. She starts with a great point: “Communications has a bad rap. Long (and wrongly) suffering a ‘soft skill’ or lower priority taint, it—at the same time—is considered a key leadership strength. What?” She goes on to describe how new media can actually help disperse some of the most innovative ideas and conversations beyond the often exclusive “green towers” of traditional environmental groups, which of course is something any field—but especially the urgent one of climate change policy—could benefit from.