The Meanings and Limits of “Local Water” in Los Angeles

By Sayd Randle, University of Southern California § In the fall of 2014, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti held a press conference in front of the L.A. Department of Water and Power’s (DWP) downtown headquarters to sign his Executive Directive #5, titled “Emergency Drought Response – Creating a Water Wise City.” ED5, as everyone called the […]

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The Sacrifice Zones of American “Energy Independence”: Pipeline and Refinery Expansion in the Chicago Region

By Graham Pickren, Roosevelt University § The United States is seemingly on its way to “energy independence.” Since the oil price increases and gas lines of the 1970s shocked the sensibilities of an American population blissfully unaware of the inter-dependencies that structured their everyday lives, both Democratic and Republican regimes have aggressively pursued domestic energy production […]

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Fates of Forests in Borneo: A 40-Year Retrospective

By F. E. “Jack” Putz, University of Florida § After barreling through rural Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) for several hours in a double-cabbed pick-up I was grateful when a bed-rider tapped on the roof to signal the driver to stop. My butt was sore and I needed to pee. The recently paved road allowed spurts of high-speed […]

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Call for Posts: Natural Histories

Long-term field research in a single locale has been central to the environmental sciences, including environmental anthropology. From Harold Conklin’s work in Ifugao, Philippines to Aldo Leopold’s research in Sauk County, Wisconsin, sustained acquaintance with a field site opens up to a place-based understanding of ecological process, while teaching researchers to discern both stability and […]

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Commentary: Toxic Bodies, Part II

By Kristina Lyons, University of California, Santa Cruz § The president of the communal action committee whom I call Doña Marta ushered me to a more secluded corner behind the schoolhouse. She spoke in a low tone about the worsening water quality of the river flowing behind us. Over the last four years, downstream communities in […]

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Pacific Salmon Declines and the Thread-Bare Promises of Modernity

By Neil Nunn, University of Toronto § At every turn in my research examining the politics of mine-waste, salmon have spoken to me. They speak through a groundswell of activism over the last decade that amplify their struggles for life. They speak through the smell of their creek-side rotting bodies that remind me of their […]

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