Letter from the Editor: The Stories of Communities Fighting for What’s Right

So much is at stake right now. Across the world, people are fighting for their environment, their health, and their communities.

When we began to compile story ideas for our Fall 2018 Earthworks Journal, one of our biggest challenges was to try and distill so many stories into a limited amount of space. As the team decided on which stories to highlight, one thing became clear: we wanted to highlight the inspiring stories of community members we work with. Below is a sampling of a few of stories we highlighted. Read through the Journal, and let us know what you think!

  • Members of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana have been working for years to reign in mining companies sending pollution into their waterways. They celebrated a recent victory when the Montana State Legislature enforced its “bad actor” law, forcing Hecla Mining to take responsibility for cleaning up a previously abandoned mine site before they can begin a new operation.
  • Our partners in Norway continue the fight to #DitchOceanDumping. In May, a coalition of over 40 organizations, including Earthworks, launched the #DitchOceanDumping campaign. Our partners on the frontline celebrated news that Standard Chartered Bank and Citigroup will no longer be financing the outdated practice of ocean mine waste dumping – but the fight isn’t over. We are now reaching to Credit Suisse and Bank of America.
  • In Pennsylvania, Ellen Gerhart and her team of pipeline fighters continue to peacefully protest the construction of Energy Transfer Partners’ Mariner East pipeline, which would be built across her own land – seized by eminent domain. Ellen has suffered greatly in her fight, including being arrested and sent to jail for two months. She continues to speak out for what’s right.
  • As part of the #BreakFreeFromPlastic coalition, Earthworks hosted a speaking tour of activists from the Philippines and India visiting Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Washington, DC. While so much of the plastics conversation has focused on eliminating waste and recycling, we want to stop plastics where they start: We are focusing the conversation on plastics production, and the health and environmental impacts affecting communities around the US.
  • The methane crisis poses perhaps the greatest immediate threat to our climate. Natural gas was initially lauded as a ‘bridge fuel’ to a clean energy future, but we know now that methane released directly into our atmosphere is a major cause of rapid climate change. The US oil and gas boom, especially in the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, is exponentially increasing the amount of methane released directly into the atmosphere – a crisis that affects us all.

Even in today’s political climate, we are inspired and heartened by these stories of people fighting for what’s right. This issue of Earthworks Journal tells just a few of these inspiring stories.

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