Category Archives: Photo of the Month

GM antibiotic resistance in China’s rivers

February 13, 2013.  Source: Institute of Science in Society

A new study conducted in China finds 6 out of 6 major rivers tested positive for ampicillin antibiotic resistant bacteria [1]. Sequencing of the gene responsible, the blá gene, shows it is a synthetic version derived from a lab and different from the wild type. This suggests to the researchers that synthetic plasmid vectors from genetic engineering applications may be the source of the ampicillin resistance, which is affecting the human population. The blá gene confers resistance to a wide range of therapeutic antibiotics and the widespread environment pollution with blá resistant bacteria is a major public health concern.

The development of antibiotic resistant pathogens, commonly dubbed “superbugs”, are increasingly common due to the overuse of antibiotics in medical and veterinary practices, and the ever-increasing application of genetic engineering to industrial processes including agriculture, biofuel fermentation and environmental remediation on top of laboratory research. Previously, genetic engineering experiments were confined to the laboratory, but with industrial and agricultural applications becoming more common over the last decade, the chances of uncontrolled discharge as well as deliberate release into the environment has widened. One prime example is the planting of genetically modified (GM) crops, many of which carry antibiotic resistant genes.

Genetic engineering uses plasmids – extra-chromosomal DNA molecules that naturally exist in bacteria and other unicellular species – for propagating and manipulating DNA sequences in research and in genetic modification of plants and animals. Plasmids often carry antibiotic resistance marker genes to allow selection with antibiotics for the modified DNA or cells carrying the gene of interest (see [2] (FAQ on Genetic Engineering, ISIS Tutorial). The presence of these antibiotic resistance genes and plasmids in the environment leaves open the possibility of the genes being taken up and transferred into the genetic material of unrelated species of bacteria, some of which may well be serious pathogens.
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Story on secret US military testing in St. Louis goes international

On September 24, Climate Connections was the first media source to break the news nationally and internationally about the US military cover-up of secret testing on people in St. Louis. MO during the Cold War: primarily on poor black people.  Prior to that, several outlets in St. Louis were covering the newly unfolding story. St. Louis’ KSDK TV (a NBC affiliate) is to be commended for their aggressive covering of the story and for standing up to the US military.  As the story was breaking, GJEP worked with Sam Husseini from the Institute for Public Accuracy on a press release that sent the story around the world.  We also worked with Margaret Prescod from KFPK’s Sojourner Truth show in Los Angeles.


Late last week, Missouri Senators and a congressman from the tested area called for an investigation of what happened.  Now the Associated Press has sent a piece over the wire, and the racist act perpetrated by the US government is being even more widely exposed, as evidenced by the ABC national news article below.


We congratulate sociologist Dr. Lisa Martino-Taylor, the researcher who uncovered the secret testing and made the issue known.


Immediately following the AP-ABC article below is a twitter page from three time-Emmy Award winning former correspondent for CNN, Amber Lyon praising Dr. Martino-Taylor and warning about the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). If you haven’t heard of it, we encourage you to find out more about this threat.


Victims of this secret testing have begun speaking out about what happened to their families and themselves during the US military secret experiments in St. Louis. MO.  We wish them all the best.


–The GJEP Team


Secret Cold War Tests in St. Louis Raise Concerns   Source ABC News
 
Amber LyonAmber Lyon@AmberLyon

Lisa Martino-Taylor is a #HERO. She made it ‘her life’s work’ to expose the Army’s secret gas tests on poor, minorities in St. Louis.

https://twitter.com/AmberLyon/status/251070011085561856

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August Photo of the Month: Arrest at the Republican National Convention

Woman is arrested during police raid on the steps of the New York Public Library during the Republican National Convention in 2004. The police arrested 75 people, including protesters, several bystanders and library patrons.  The police attack was prompted by two young activists who were holding a banner.  Photo: Langelle (2004)

 

Below, read  the report on the arrests from the American Libraries Association, September 3, 2004


Protesters Arrested on New York Public Library Steps Some 75 protesters were arrested August 31 in front of the New York Public Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Library on Fifth Avenue amid demonstrations taking place during the Republican National Convention.As about 200 people gathered on the steps of the library for a march to Madison Square Garden, two young women tried to hold up a banner when police pinned them to the ground and a scuffle erupted between officers and demonstrators.

 

Cyndy Bruce, 26, of Chicago said in the September 1 Long Island (N.Y.) Newsday, “The officer said you can’t hang it but you can hold it. As soon as they held it up, the officers swarmed in. They incited this violence. Not us.”  Newsday reported that police moved the protesters away from the library and wrapped the whole block in orange netting.

 

NYPL Public Relations Manager Carolyn Oyama told American Libraries that no library employees were involved in the protest and that no demonstrators came inside the library. She said that the event only lasted about 45 minutes and that “the egress from the library was not affected.”

 

Also in New York City, library workers and students from a group called Radical Reference protested September 1 outside the New York Historical Society as First Lady Laura Bush arrived to have lunch with Republican delegates, according to the online anarchist blog Infoshop News.

 

The group of eight librarians and their friends were initially forced by police to stay on the sidewalk across the street from the society’s back entrance. Later the protesters made their way to the front of the building where another group of demonstrators was already in place.Signs displayed by the group included “Books Not Bombs,” “Laura, Stand Up against the Patriot Act,” and “Another Hysterical Librarian against Bush.” No arrests were made.

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Also check out past Photos of the Month posted on GJEP’s website, or Langelle’s photo essays posted on GJEP’s Climate Connections blog.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, Photo of the Month, Political Repression, Politics, War

April Photo of the Month: Kent State Massacre Protests in 1972

Protest against the 1970 Kent State Massacre during the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach. Photo: Langelle/GJEP

Orin Langelle is co-founder of Global Justice Ecology Project and Board Chair.  He has been shooting photos of the movement for social change for forty years.  Langelle’s first professional photo assignment (St. Louis Outlaw) was covering the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, FL.  It nominated the incumbents Richard M. Nixon for President and Spiro T. Agnew for Vice President.
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This photo is from one of the many protests against the Vietnam war during the Convention.  It concerns the tragedy at Kent State University when on May 4, 1970 members of the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of Kent State University demonstrators, killing four and wounding nine. The impact of the shootings was dramatic. The event triggered a nationwide student strike that forced hundreds of colleges and universities to close.
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This Friday, May 4, is the forty-second year since the murders at Kent State.
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The Republicans will meet again in Florida this year for their Convention, forty years later after the major protests in Miami Beach.

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Also check out the GJEP Photo Gallery, past Photos of the Month posted on GJEP’s website, or Langelle’s photo essays posted on GJEP’s Climate Connections blog.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, Photo of the Month, Political Repression, Politics, Vietnam War

March Photo of the Month: GMO Protest, Sacramento, CA 2003

Protest in Sacramento, California during a meeting of the WTO’s Agricultural Ministers, hosted by the USDA in June 2003 in preparation for the WTO summit in Cancun that fall.  Global Justice Ecology Project co-founder Orin Langelle joined allies at this WTO miniterial to organize protests against the development of dangerous and uncontrollable genetically engineered trees.  Photo: Langelle/GJEP 
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Global Justice Ecology Project coordinates the international STOP GE Trees Campaign.  We recently produced a briefing paper on the current status of genetically engineered trees, as well as a history of the campaign to stop GE trees, which we have led since 1999.On March 29th, Global Justice Ecology Project co-organized aconference on Synthetic Biology in Berkeley.
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Industry plans to combine the use of GE trees and the use of manufactured and totally synthetic lifeforms to create so-called “advanced cellulosic biofuels.”  These synthetic organisms have never existed before and there is no way to know what would happen if they “escaped” into the environment.  This is a reckless technology that must be ended.Genetically engineered trees live for decades, can spread their pollen and seeds for up to hundreds of miles, making them much more dangerous than agricultural crops.  GE versions of native trees like poplar and pine will inevitably and irreversible contaminate native forests with their pollen and seeds, leading to total disruption of the forest ecosystem.  GE eucalyptus trees are non-native, invasive, highly flammable and deplete ground water.
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Today the issue of GE trees is more urgent than ever with industry proposals to commercially release millions of GE eucalytpus trees in huge plantations pending with the USDA.  If approved, these plantations will exacerbate droughts and cause massive firestorms.  They must be banned.
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Also check out the GJEP Photo Gallery, past Photos of the Month posted on GJEP’s website, or Langelle’s photo essaysposted on GJEP’s Climate Connections blog.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, Photo of the Month

GJEP February Photo of the Month: Protests at the World Water Forum in Mexico City

Indigenous Peoples, women and campesinos march in protest of the corporate-controlled World Water Forum in Mexico City. (2006) Photo: Langelle/GJEP

March 8th, 2012 is International Women’s Day.  International Women’s Day has been observed since in the early 1900s, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.

In 1908, Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women’s oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

The next year, the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the US on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.

In 1910 an International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. A woman named a Clara Zetkin proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands. The conference, which included over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women’s clubs, and the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, greeted Zetkin’s suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women’s Day was the result.

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The Sixth World Water Forum will take place in Marseilles, France from 12-17 March.  There will be a peoples’ Alternative Water Forum taking place at the same time.   The alternative forum is being organized by associations and movements, trade unions, NGOs, citizens and elected representatives from all over the world.

It will be a meeting place for all people who are fighting for water:

- against the appropriation of land and water,

- against the development of shale gas, which pollutes underground aquifers and rivers;

- against the privatization of water by multinationals around the world…

For more on the alternative water forum, click here

In 2010, GJEP Communications Director Jeff Conant won a Project Censored Award for his reporting from the World Water Forum in Istanbul, Turkey.  You can read his article below:

Activists Slam World Water Forum as a Corporate-Driven Fraud

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, Photo of the Month, Water

Short video from Durban while the Wastepickers were in town

This short video was sent from the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives‘ Mariel Vilella.  Mariel included a thanks to all those who supported and showed solidarity for GAIA and the courageous people from the Global Alliance of Wastepickers. Find out more about the Global Alliance of Wastepickers and please watch the short video.  The second to last photo in the video is GJEP’s December Photo of the Month

Click on for video:  http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2696747/Durban%202011.m4v

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Durban/COP-17, Energy, Photo of the Month, Videos

Photo of the month: Waste pickers’ protest in Durban, South Africa

Photo: Langelle/GJEP

One of the millions of people who globally make a living from waste picking during a demonstration in Durban, South Africa

On 5 December 2011, during the UN climate conference in Durban South Africa, the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers held a “permitted” protest inside the UN compound.  The protest was almost stopped by UN security, who told organizers they needed to have their signs and banners approved by the UN before they could be displayed.  The waste pickers held their protest anyway, which included emptying trash from the UN conference center on the ground then demonstrating how they sort and recycle it.

Millions of people worldwide make a living from waste picking. They collect, sort and process recyclables, reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfills and saving valuable natural resources. Today, an increasing number of waste pickers are processing organic waste, diverting it from landfills and reducing methane gas pollution. Waste pickers could further reduce greenhouse gas emissions given proper support.

About the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers:

The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers brings together waste picker organizations from Africa, Asia and Latin America. To learn more about waste pickers’ experiences and to support fair and just solutions to climate change, visit their blog http://www.globalrec.org/

Also please visit GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives) http://www.no-burn.org/

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Orin Langelle is currently working on a book of four decades of his concerned photography.  From mid-June to mid-July Langelle worked on the book as an artist in residence at the Blue Mountain Center in New York’s Adirondack Mountains.

Also check out the GJEP Photo Gallery, past Photos of the Month posted on GJEP’s website, or Langelle’s photo essays posted on GJEP’s Climate Connections blog.

Global Justice Ecology Project explores and exposes the intertwined root causes of social injustice, ecological destruction and economic domination with the aim of building bridges between social justice, environmental justice and ecological justice groups to strengthen their collective efforts.  Within this framework, our programs focus on Indigenous Peoples’ rights, protection of native forests and climate justice.  We use the issue of climate change to demonstrate these interconnections. Global Justice Ecology Project is the North American Focal Point of the Global Forest Coalition.

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September Photo of the Month: World Bank-Sponsored “Forest Protection” in Indonesia

Benoit Bosque, of the World Bank2
Benoit Bosquet, Coordinator of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, defends the bank’s role in “forest conservation” in Indonesia, where forest-based communities have been forcibly evicted at gunpoint, and their homes burned to the ground. Behind him is a photo of one such eviction. Photo: Petermann/GJEP

To read the full article about REDD in Indonesia in our blog Climate Connections, click here

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GJEP’s photos of the month usually feature the work of Orin Langelle, GJEP’s Co-director/Strategist, who is also a professional photographer.  This month, with the World Bank annual meetings just passed and the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa coming up soon, we decided to post this photo by GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann.

Orin Langelle is currently working on a book of four decades of his concerned photography.  From mid-June to mid-July Langelle worked on the book as an artist in residence at the Blue Mountain Center in New York’s Adirondack Mountains.

Also check out the GJEP Photo Gallery, past Photos of the Month posted on GJEP’s website, or Langelle’s photo essays posted on GJEP’s Climate Connections blog.

Global Justice Ecology Project explores and exposes the intertwined root causes of social injustice, ecological destruction and economic domination with the aim of building bridges between social justice, environmental justice and ecological justice groups to strengthen their collective efforts.  Within this framework, our programs focus on Indigenous Peoples’ rights, protection of native forests and climate justice.  We use the issue of climate change to demonstrate these interconnections. Global Justice Ecology Project is the North American Focal Point of the Global Forest Coalition.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Photo of the Month, REDD

Photo Essay from Vermont: The Recovery from Hurricane Irene Begins

As of Tuesday, 30 August 2011, there were still thirteen towns in the U.S. state of Vermont that were completely cut off from the outside world due to the torrential rains of Hurricane Irene.  This was because roads like Route 100, which runs north and south through the state, sustained catastrophic damage to its culverts and bridges for many miles.    In all, over 200 roads across the state were closed due to wash outs from the heavy rains that pelted the state for nearly twenty-four hours on Sunday, August 28.

Route 100--this and other washed out bridges and culverts cut off the town of Granville, VT from the outside world

Text: Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

Photos: Orin Langelle, Co-Director/Strategist, Global Justice Ecology Project

Orin Langelle and I toured a portion of our home state of Vermont on Tuesday, 30 August to witness and document some of the destruction that Hurricane Irene had left in its wake.  Though it was downgraded to a “tropical storm” by the time it reached Vermont, its torrential rains wreaked havoc around the state.  Where we live, we had been quite fortunate and only lost electricity for twenty-three hours or so.  Other parts of the state were far less lucky.  During our travels, however, we witnessed the resiliency of Vermonters, who tackled their own loss or the loss of their neighbors, not only with fortitude, but also with humor and a very New England-like matter of fact-ness.

The post-flood clean up effort begins in Waterbury, VT

Our journey began at Camp Johnson in Colchester, where the Vermont National Guard is stationed, to see what an official governmental response looked like.  Vermont’s National Guard sustained the heaviest losses per capita of any U.S. state during the occupation of Iraq.  Like many Vermont National Guardsmen, the young soldier we spoke with, Nathan Rivard of Enosburg Falls, explained that responding to the needs of his neighbors during disasters like Irene that was the reason he had joined the Guard.  The response to the storm was, he felt, the real story in Vermont. “It’s people helping people,” he explained.  “Not just the disaster, but how people respond after.”

VT National Guard personnel prepare relief packages

The Vermont National Guard responded while the storm was still raging to help Vermonters caught off guard by the inundation of water.  Before the sun was up on Tuesday morning, thirty FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) tractor-trailers had arrived at the National Guard’s Camp Johnson with water, ready to eat meals, blankets, cots and other supplies.

FEMA personnel prepare temporary shelters

Because of the widespread road damage, however, getting the supplies to the people who need them has been extremely challenging.  With thirteen towns completely cut off from the outside world, National Guard helicopters have been almost the only way to get help in from the outside—either in the form of medical assistance or basic necessities like food and water.

National Guard medical helicopter

The ability of the government to help over the long term, however, is highly uncertain as the number of natural disasters in the U.S. over the past year has severely depleted FEMA’s budget.

[Note:  We asked the VT National Guard what communities in VT were receiving supplies from the Guard  so we could document distribution.  We were never given that information.]

The People Pull Together

From Camp Johnson, we headed to Waterbury, where Vermont’s state offices are located–and sustained heavy flood damage.  Waterbury was submerged under 10 feet or more of water when the Winooski River rose to record flood levels in minutes.  Even the state’s emergency management office succumbed to the flooding waters and had to relocate to Burlington—the state’s largest city.  When Irene hit Sunday, WDEV (Radio Vermont) stayed on the air all day and night with a generator, despite losing power from the grid and their internet connection.  While a commercial station, they remain dedicated to their community.  WDEV provided valuable information to residents about flooding damage and impassable roads during the disaster.  See Democracy Now! for an interview with the WDEV station owner.

This photo shows the high water mark from the flood in Waterbury

By Tuesday, volunteers and neighbors were pouring support into the community.

At the first house we came to on Elm Street, one of the streets where the flooding had been the worst, a group was sharing stories about the scene on Sunday.  Their front yard was heaped with ruined debris.  The home’s owner explained to us that the water in the apartment he rented downstairs had been up to his shoulders.  He explained that he wouldn’t even be able to start dealing with the damage to the house until the insurance agent arrived—which wouldn’t be until Friday.

But, he emphasized, the outpouring of support had been amazing.  Restaurants were donating food to the relief effort, and a bus full of “Youth Build” participants had arrived earlier that day to pitch in.  “If you didn’t know there was a flood, you’d think it was a block party,” he explained with a smile.

Inside the house, it was easy to see just how destructive the flood had been.  Kitchen appliances were covered in mud, while at one end of what had presumably been the living room, a happy birthday sign still hung.  In another room, mud covered baby toys littered the floor.

A Happy Birthday sign still hangs on the wall

Cars did not fare well either during the flood.

Around the corner on Randall Street, the activity of clearing homes of debris and salvaging what could be salvaged was still under way.

Huge dumpsters lined the street and debris was being piled according to type with electronics in one pile, hazardous materials (mostly paint, stain and household chemicals) in another, and everything else going in the dumpsters.

We came across one woman who picked up a white jug and sighed, “this was an antique,” as she poured muddy water out of a gaping hole in its side.  “Oh well,” she said.  “It’s just stuff, right?” then chucked it into the dumpster.  “Bye.”

For some people the loss was clearly overwhelming.  Others got to work cleaning what could be cleaned.

Coming up the road we encountered three intrepid children, helping out the best they could by giving out bottles of water.  They were very serious about their job, asking everyone they met if they wanted something to drink.

Among the ruins were tarps laid out with items that had been salvaged and washed, drying in the sun.  Many people managed to tackle the mess with a positive attitude.

From Waterbury, we headed down Route 100—one of the hardest hit roads in the state.  Not far down the road, we came to Moretown, were the Mad River had lived up to its name.

Bridge over the Mad River, severely damaged by the flood

The Mad River, now back to its calm, pristine self, had become a raging torrent on Sunday, shutting down Route 100B and flooding the Village Cemetery.

Workers repair the bridge over Route 100B in Moretown

The cemetery fence was buckling under the weight of the flood debris that was caught in its chain links and many headstones had been flattened—including those of the entire Philemon Family (dating back to 1865) and Bulkley Family (dating back to 1822).

Across the street, another home was half-hidden by debris with a lonely pair of mud-covered rubber boots testifying to the people that had lived there.

Further down Route 100, on the border of Waitsfield and Warren, the Mad River had taken out half of the road.

Nearby, American Flatbread, a unique and very popular Mad River Valley institution featuring an outdoor bonfire, indoor clay flatbread oven and walls covered with Bread and Puppet art, had also succumbed to the raging mud.  As we passed, teams of people were pitching in to help clean out the mess.

Our final stop on Route 100, where we could go no further, was at the border of Warren and Granville.  The road was washed out.  Route 100 further to the south was closed due to water, and Route 125, the only link to the west, was also impassable.  This left the towns of Granville, Hancock and Rochester, all located along Rte 100, cut off from the outside world.

At the roadblock we spoke with some electrical workers who were trying to get to the town of Rochester.  They had been talking with the road worker at the wash out to see how they might travel south.  “We’re based in South Royalton,” one electrical worker explained.  “We’ve been trying to get to Rochester all day. They’re without power and we’re trying to get in to fix it.  We tried to get to Rochester from the South but couldn’t get in. Now we’re trying to get in from the North, but that’s not working either.  We’re going to try some small dirt roads now to see if we can get around these wash outs.”

The Mad River near Granville--not so mad anymore

While the record devastation around Vermont has been catastrophic to many communities, the spirit of collective teamwork that we experienced on our journey gave us a hopeful glimpse of what is possible and the mountains that can be moved when people pull together.  As we head into the uncertain future of escalating climate chaos and extreme weather, this spirit may be the one thing that enables communities to come together to find local, small scale, ecologically sustainable solutions to the climate crisis.

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Natural Disasters, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, Photo of the Month, Posts from Anne Petermann, Water