The peat swamp forests of Borneo are the site of a failed agricultural experiment. Planners believed that rice should grow in the swamps, but it couldn't. Even today, experiments with growing oil palms and other trees are changing the forests, with little positive to show for these efforts.
As indigenous people lost their livelihood, carbon poured into the atmosphere from uncontrolled fires.
Daniel Grossman reports:
(Image: Smog and smoke over Borneo and Indonesia, 1997. Credit: NASA)
This story comes from Warren County, North Carolina. In the early 1980s, Warren County became a flash point in the fight for something that didn’t have a commonly used name at the time: environmental justice.
These days, members of this small, “majority-minority” community are taking new approaches to raising environmental consciousness.
Jereann King Johnson and Joe O’Connell have teamed up to tell the story of local environmentalism in the present day.
Jereann has been involved in social justice work in the county since the 1970s. She knows Warren County intimately. Joe, on the other hand, was drawn to this story through his work as a folklorist. He lives in Durham, about an hours drive to the south of where our story takes place.
(Image: Anti-PCB demonstration 1982. Credit: Mac Shaffer)
Slideshow of protests against PCB site in Warren County, photographer Mac Shaffer:
PCB March September 15, 1982, photos by Matt Cooper, Jr.
Ruxandra Guidi reported and produced this episode of Living Downstream, The Trailer Park Activists of Eastern Coachella Valley
Thanks to Anthony Garcia for mastering the show.
The Living Downstream theme music was written by David Schulman.
Steve Mencher is the host and senior producer. Darren LaShelle in the executive producer, and the president and CEO of Northern California Public Media is Nancy Dobbs.
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