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Stories about a Family and Its Dogs
Smelters, Public Health, and the Environment
Smelting is an industrial process involving the extraction of metal from ore. During this process, impurities in ore—including arsenic, lead, and cadmium—may be released from smoke stacks, contaminating air, water, and soil with toxic-heavy metals.The problem of public health harm from smelter emissions received little official attention for much for the twentieth century. Though people living near smelters periodically complained that their health was impaired by both sulfur dioxide and heavy metals, for much of the century there was strong deference to industry claims that smelter operations were a nuisance and not a serious threat to health. It was only when the majority of children living near the El Paso, Texas, smelter were discovered to be lead-exposed in the early 1970s that systematic, independent investigation of exposure to heavy metals in smelting communities began. Following El Paso, an even more serious led poisoning epidemic was discovered around the Bunker Hill smelter in northern Idaho. In Tacoma, Washington, a copper smelter exposed children to arsenic—a carcinogenic threat.Thoroughly grounded in extensive archival research, Tainted Earth traces the rise of public health concerns about nonferrous smelting in the western United States, focusing on three major facilities: Tacoma, Washington; El Paso, Texas; and Bunker Hill, Idaho. Marianne Sullivan documents the response from community residents, public health scientists, the industry, and the government to pollution from smelters as well as the long road to protecting public health and the environment. Placing the environmental and public health aspects of smelting in historical context, the book connects local incidents to national stories on the regulation of airborne toxic metals.The nonferrous smelting industry has left a toxic legacy in the United States and around the world. Unless these toxic metals are cleaned up, they will persist in the environment and may sicken people—children in particular—for generations to come. The twentieth-century struggle to control smelter pollution shares many similarities with public health battles with such industries as tobacco and asbestos where industry supported science created doubt about harm, and reluctant government regulators did not take decisive action to protect the public’s health.
Breastmilk, Feminisms, and the Politics of Environmental Degradation
Tainted Milk provides an in-depth analysis of the debate about infant nourishment issues, with a particular focus on environmentally contaminated breastmilk. Maia Boswell-Penc asks why feminists and environmentalists have, for the most part, remained relatively quiet about the fact that environmental toxins have been appearing in breastmilk. She argues that feminists avoid the topic because of their fear of focusing on biological mothering and essentialist thinking, while environmentalists are reluctant to be perceived as fearmongers advocating formula use and contributing to public hysteria. Boswell-Penc also points to the continuing racism, classism, ageism, and corporatization that leaves the less privileged among us more vulnerable.
Rebellion and the Blasphemy of Empire
Occupying much of Imperial China’s Yangzi River heartland and costing over twenty million lives, the Taiping Rebellion (1851–1864) was no ordinary peasant revolt. What most distinguished this dramatic upheaval from earlier rebellions was the Taiping faith of the rebels. Inspired by a Protestant missionary tract, the core of the Taiping faith focused on the belief that Shangdi, the high God of classical China, had chosen the Taiping leader, Hong Xiuquan, to establish his Heavenly Kingdom on Earth.
Explores the milieu of Taiwan’s Buddhist nuns, who have the greatest numbers in the Buddhist world and a prominent place in their own country. Taiwan’s Buddhist nuns are as unique as they are noteworthy. Boasting the greatest number of Buddhist nuns of any country, Taiwan has a much greater number of nuns than monks. These women are well known and well regarded as dharma teachers and for the social service work that has made them a central part of Taiwan’s civil society. In this, the first English-language book on Taiwanese women and Buddhism, author Elise Ann DeVido introduces readers to Taiwan’s Buddhist nuns, but also looks at the larger question of how Taiwan’s Buddhism shapes and is shaped by women--mainly nuns but also laywomen, who like their clerical sisters flourish in that country. Providing an historical overview of Buddhist women in China and Taiwan, DeVido discusses various reasons for the vibrancy of Taiwan’s nuns’ orders. She introduces us to the nuns of the best-known of order, the Buddhist Compassion-Relief Foundation (Ciji) as well as those of the Luminary Buddhist Institute. Discussing “Buddhism for the Human Realm,” DeVido asks whether this popular philosophy has encouraged and supported the singular strength of Taiwan’s Buddhism women.
Tajikistan teeters on the brink of failure. This mountainous and landlocked country, the poorest in Central Asia, confronts the challenges of good governance and economic survival. These domestic struggles become even more problematic as international forces prepare to withdraw from neighboring Afghanistan, leaving Central Asian countries to ensure regional stability.
In Tajikistan's Difficult Development Path, Martha Brill Olcott traces the political, economic, and social change following the country's independence and international efforts to avert state collapse. The Tajik government's commitment to reform has been inconsistent, and substantial foreign assistance provided since the end of the country's civil war has not led to the desired economic and political development.
Olcott concludes that the Tajik leadership faces a serious dilemma: fully embrace reform or continue moving toward state failure. Tajikistan's decision will have very real implications for this troubled region.
An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities
In the wake of economic crisis on a global scale, more and more people are reconsidering their role in the economy and wondering what they can do to make it work better for humanity and the planet. In this innovative book, J. K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron, and Stephen Healy contribute complex understandings of economics in practical terms: what can we do right now, in our own communities, to make a difference?
Full of exercises, thinking tools, and inspiring examples from around the world, Take Back the Economy shows how people can implement small-scale changes in their own lives to create ethical economies. There is no manifesto here, no one prescribed model; rather, readers are encouraged and taught how to take back the economy in ways appropriate for their own communities and context, using what they already have at hand.
Take Back the Economy dismantles the idea that the economy is separate from us and best comprehended by experts. Instead, the authors demonstrate that the economy is the outcome of the decisions and efforts we make every day. The economy is thus reframed as a space of ethical action—something we can shape and alter according to what is best for the well-being of people and the planet. The book explores what people are already doing to build ethical economies, presenting these deeds as mutual concerns: What is necessary for survival, and what do we do with the surplus produced beyond what will fulfill basic needs? What do we consume, and how do we preserve and replenish the commons—those resources that can be shared to maintain all? And finally, how can we invest in a future worth living in?
Suitable for activists and students alike, Take Back the Economy will be of interest to anyone seeking a more just, sustainable, and equitable world.
Reconstructing Confederate Veteran Families in Virginia
Take Care of the Living assesses the short- and long-term impact of the war on Confederate veteran families of all classes in Pittsylvania County and Danville, Virginia. Using letters, diaries, church minutes, and military and state records, as well as close analysis of the entire 1860 and 1870 Pittsylvania County manuscript population census, McClurken explores the consequences of the war for over three thousand Confederate soldiers and their families. The author reveals an array of strategies employed by those families to come to terms with their postwar reality, including reorganizing and reconstructing the household, turning to local churches for emotional and economic support, pleading with local elites for financial assistance or positions, sending psychologically damaged family members to a state-run asylum, and looking to the state for direct assistance in the form of replacement limbs for amputees, pensions, and even state-supported homes for old soldiers and widows.