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Putting Her Life on the Line to Save a River from Illegal Gold Mining – April 23, 2018

Goldman Prize winner Francia Márquez’s has been involved in a long struggle to protect the Ovejas River and her Afro-Colombian community

Francia Márquez, 36, grew up in La Toma, an isolated town nestled in western Colombia’s verdant Cuaca Mountains. Established in the early 1600s by escaped slaves, the Afro-Colombian community sits along the Ovejas River and residents depend on the river’s water and fish for sustenance. For centuries, the people of La Toma have built their lives around agriculture and mining, using pick axes to pry gold from the earth, and panning for nuggets in the Ovejas. Today, some 85 percent of the town’s 5,000 residents rely on small-scale artisanal mining for their livelihood.

Francia MarquezPhoto courtesy of The Goldman PrizeThirty-six year old Márquez has been… more

by: Zoe Loftus-Farren

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Not Strawberries Again! – April 10, 2018

For third year running, popular fruit tops list of produce containing pesticides

It’s common knowledge these days that nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy, well-rounded diet. But according to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) annual “Dirty Dozen” list, there are  some conventional produce items that it may be best to avoid.

photo of strawberriesPhoto by snekse/Flickr Conventional strawberries are treated with large quantities of pesticides, making them among the most pesticide-contaminated produce sold in the United States.

For the third year running, conventional strawberries topped the list of pesticide-contaminated produce. According to EWG’s analysis, 99 percent of sampled strawberries tested positive for residues of at least one pesticide, with… more

by: Zoe Loftus-Farren

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Can Prisons Be Flipped for Good? – January 8, 2018

Turning old jails into employment hubs is challenging, but some groups are getting creative

graphic depicting a prison

Imagine a rural oasis of sustainable agriculture and community. There are aquaponic ponds filled with fish, fields lined with vegetable rows, pastures for farm animals, and hives buzzing with bees. There are dormitories for staff, a community kitchen for culinary classes, and even a climbing wall for energetic kids. Now picture all of this at the site of a former jail in Wagram, North Carolina — the fish swimming in tanks in old jail cells, the cows contained by old prison fence lines, and the climbing wall converted from a… more

by: Zoe Loftus-Farren

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EPA Adds Prison Locations to its Environmental Justice Mapping Tool – September 21, 2017

EJ activists celebrate move as an advance in the struggle to recognize the environmental rights of prisoners

graphic depicting a prison

As an environmental reporter, it’s not every day that I get to communicate good news — the state of our environment often feels pretty bleak. But today, at least, there is a victory to celebrate: Thanks to the persistence of a small group of prison ecology advocates, the support of their allies, and the assistance of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), prisoners rights and environmental justice advocates have a new tool to add to their activist arsenal.

This summer, the EPA added a “prisons layer” to its Environmental… more

by: Zoe Loftus-Farren

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Likely Carcinogen Contaminates Drinking Water of 90 Million Americans, Report Finds – September 6, 2017

Trump's pick to head chemical safety office at EPA has downplayed dangers of the toxin, say advocates

According to a new report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, the drinking water of more than a quarter of Americans — some 90 million people — tested postive for a likely carcinogen known as 1,4-dioxane between 2010 and 2015. And public water systems serving more than 7 million people in 27 states have average 1,4-dioxane concentrations that exceed the level US Environmental Protection Agency has said can increase the risk of cancer.

photo of woman drinking from water fountainPhoto by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources According to a new report, a likely carcinogen was detected in the public water systems serving… more

by: Zoe Loftus-Farren

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