Contamination of the Social Fabric: Sápara Leaders’ Resistance to Oil Companies in the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Narrow Vision of Environmental Impact Studies

By Lindsay Ofrias, Princeton University § In the shadow of the world’s worst case of oil contamination, the Sápara, a small group of indigenous people, are desperately protecting their island of pristine rainforest in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Once a nationality numbering in the tens of thousands, only a few hundred Sápara people survive today, their population … More Contamination of the Social Fabric: Sápara Leaders’ Resistance to Oil Companies in the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Narrow Vision of Environmental Impact Studies

Weeds, Herbicides, and Bodies: Emerging Entanglements in Toxic Agricultural Landscapes

By Tony VanWinkle, Sterling College § Dedicated to the memory of Jackie Dill. Shortly after the unexpected death of friend and mentor Jackie Dill, I read Allison Adelle Hedge Coke’s poem, “The Change,” which narrates a first person, indigenous retrospective on shifts in the workaday world of tobacco field laborers. Central to this convulsive change was … More Weeds, Herbicides, and Bodies: Emerging Entanglements in Toxic Agricultural Landscapes

On Contamination: Conservation Science in Devilish Landscapes

By Meredith Root-Bernstein, Institut National de Recherche Agronomique, Grignon, France § When you first see the gold mine in Alhué you are impressed by how massive the cascade of tailings is—by how many endemic trees, shrubs, bird nests, lizards and tarantulas must be crushed underneath it. When I took photos of the hills I always tried … More On Contamination: Conservation Science in Devilish Landscapes

On Tricking Ducks: Industrial Naturecultures and the Toxic Bodies of Oil Sands Country

By Whitney Larratt-Smith, UC Davis § “We were walking for a long time before I saw it. It was an exceptionally hot day in July for Northern Alberta, intensified by the acrid fumes of bitumen, diesel, and sulfur entering my lungs. I was starting to get a headache, and felt increasingly weary walking on the scorching … More On Tricking Ducks: Industrial Naturecultures and the Toxic Bodies of Oil Sands Country

Chemical Showers: How Daily Routines Structure Our Exposures to Toxicants

By Rachael Wakefield-Rann, University of Technology Sydney § The choreography of daily life dictates how bodies are exposed to toxic chemicals. Since the 1950s, everyday consumer products from furniture, to electronics and cleaning products have become imbued with new classes of toxic chemicals. The unprecedented intimacy between industrial chemicals and human bodies in the domestic realm … More Chemical Showers: How Daily Routines Structure Our Exposures to Toxicants

Tracing Chemical Intimacies

By Sophia Jaworski (University of Toronto) A middle-aged woman in the Greater Toronto Area wears a charcoal mask in her bedroom to prevent asthma spurred by breathing in the circulation of floor varnish, cigarette smoke, and cleaning chemicals in an apartment building air vent. Needing to wear the mask is intimately tied to shortness of … More Tracing Chemical Intimacies