Category Archives: Disaster

A moral politics of blame

Modern municipal waste disposal is not limited to removal of garbage, but often involves a strategic churning out of unwanted people, and extreme events such as dump fires reflect the social precariousness of marginalised communities like those of waste-pickers.

Rethinking Remediation

Mining is, as some in the industry quip, primarily a waste management industry.

Hope and mourning in the Anthropocene

These experiences resonate strongly with the concept of “solastagia,” described both as a form of homesickness while still in place, and as a type of grief over the loss of a healthy place or a thriving ecosystem.

Against Risk Perception

The deficit model frames public controversies about contamination as a lack of scientific understanding or trust in government institutions. People are seen as deficient in knowledge about an issue, erasing local, community, and personal expertise.

We need to think about redefining citizenship in the Anthropocene

The concept of citizenship originally described inhabitants of (probably walled) towns. Some insistence on specificity of place certainly remains, although the concept today generally refers to nations rather than cities. But what are concerned citizens to do in the face of problems such as climate change, which cannot easily be contained by walls or borders, and to which we all contribute?

Introducing the terrifying mathematics of the Anthropocene

In 2000, Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer proposed that human impact on the atmosphere, the oceans, the land and ice sheets had reached such a scale that it had pushed Earth into a new epoch. They called it the Anthropocene and argued the current Holocene epoch was over.

A Bibliography for Teaching Flint

This bibliography is designed for professors who want to “teach Flint” in their classrooms. The Flint, Michigan water crisis is an extreme but quintessential case study that shows the intersections of environmental health, governance, the built environment, systemic racism, and social inequity.

Piping as poison: the Flint water crisis and America’s toxic infrastructure

Over the past few decades, we have met with much success in curbing some of Americans’ exposure to lead. Yet they have struggled to contain this continuing danger precisely because it is literally built into our water systems.

Visually Representing Slow Disasters

Slow violence and chronic disasters create a representational challenge. How do you visualize a non-event so that it imparts the severity of the problem without turning it into an event?

New report on Race, Poverty, and Chemical Disasters

The report, called “Who’s in Danger? Race, Poverty, and Chemical Disasters,” sought to examine who lives in “fenceline” neighborhoods adjacent to large chemical plants. The report said those residents were more likely to be black or Latino and have lower home values, incomes and education levels than average Americans.