by Carrie Tully and Larry Glass
To quote Julie Sze’s Environmental Justice in a Moment of Danger, “The resurgence of explicit racism is unsurprising for justice activists, who see their lives impacted by legacies of structural domination and racist public policies. Social movements for environmental and climate justice are mobilizing large numbers of people (including virtually) and having a broad national and global impact outside of local contexts. Oil pipeline protests on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation; responses to mass lead poisonings in Flint, Michigan; mobilizations against police killings of African Americans [such as Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery] and other people of color; impassioned actions of Indigenous and small island populations in opposition to climate change — all comprise a snapshot of the hundreds of protests in the United States that have foregrounded the convergence between environmentalism and movements to combat social justice and inequality.”
We see that our job at the NEC is to provide our members and supporters with factual reporting about the challenges that we all face. Most of the challenges we are confronting are linked together by a common thread of selfishness and greed. The mission is to shine a light on these, and connect the dots.
One of the most frustrating aspects of the current times we live in is the widespread amount of ignorance and science-denial. This has led to us seeing long-time environmental protections being abandoned by the White House, and the elevation of junk-science and conspiracy theories about things as important as climate collapse and worldwide pandemics. Here at the Center, we strive to stay factual and rooted in proven science. Because of that, let us take this opportunity to remind our readers that our natural environment is still being threatened by uncontrolled changes in our climate.
Our office still remains closed. We understand that it’s human nature to be impatient and to want to go back to normal life, but we are still in the middle of a pandemic — no matter what propaganda is coming out of Washington D.C. We will continue to be cautious and protect our staff and members until it is truly safe to open back up.
Closed or not, the NEC staff continues to do their job. Right now we are focused on the new monthly EcoNews print editions, which are being warmly received by the public. If you’ve been having trouble finding a copy, it’s because they’ve been flying off the racks! We’ve been restocking as fast as we can. Please visit our website if you wish to become a member, and you can get one mailed directly to you.
As we’re going to press, we’ve just learned about another controversial potential project that will certainly be holding our attention, and that is a proposed water line that would extend the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District’s service area all the way to Trinidad. This proposal could result in an unchecked wave of development in Northern McKinleyville and beyond. We will keep you posted as this project develops or is stopped.
We are excited to introduce the NEC’s newest interactive clean-up project: Trash-a-thon! Similar to a walk-a-thon, where you raise money from sponsors for each mile walked, Trash-a-thon is a way of raising donations for the number of pieces of trash that are picked up within a 24-hour timeframe. Anyone can volunteer to pick up trash, either as an individual or in teams of 2-5 people. Leading up to the day of the cleanup, volunteers are encouraged to collect pledges (donations) from their network. A suggested pledge could range anywhere from $0.10 – $5 per piece of trash. Be sure to sign up so you can participate in this great event!
Our dynamic new Administrative Director is heavily involved in community activities. I would like to give Carrie an opportunity to tell you about two of the more exciting and impactful endeavors that she is deeply committed to:
One of the projects that I have been involved with since last fall is the development of the Native American Studies Food Sovereignty Lab and Cultural Workspace (NAS LAB) at Humboldt State University. The purpose of the NAS LAB is to provide Native and non-Native students, faculty, staff, and community members the opportunity for hands-on learning about sustainable agriculture and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. This facility will integrate the values of ecological sustainability, bio-cultural sovereignty of Indigenous peoples, the interconnectedness of life, and community involvement in efforts to develop reverence for food sovereignty.
This space will help to strengthen the bond between our local community, Indigenous Nations, and students here at Humboldt State University. The NAS LAB will work directly with local members of the community and local tribes to include traditional Indigenous practices of sustainable harvesting and food preparation and preservation. This space will also focus on developing curriculum, internships, research opportunities, workshops, and programs. This lab would also set aside hours for community activities and meetings, including workshops on sustainable harvesting practices and cultural revival of local Indigenous traditions.
Over the next two years we will be focusing on planning and development of the NAS LAB which will include: outreach, strategic planning, budgeting, fundraising, location remodel, equipment installation, policy and resolution writing and adoptions, internship and research plans and the official opening of the Food Sovereignty Lab & Cultural Workshop space at HSU.
In addition, I have been assisting with the Save California Salmon & HSU Native American Studies Advocacy & Water Protection in Native California Summer Speakers Series & Certificate Program. Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy explains the program as being “aimed at people interested in making a difference through education and direct action. We are facing urgent environmental justice issues, we are navigating a pandemic, and we are seeing the importance of direct action and social movements in real time all over the news. This series brings together voices, resources, and stories to help build new visions of the future and inspire people to protect our waters, salmon, and communities” (indiancountrytoday.com). See page___ for more information on the speakers series.
For more information on either the NAS LAB or the Advocacy & Water Protection in Native California Summer Series, please contact Carrie at firstname.lastname@example.org.