I made a deal with a friend that I will start blogging here daily. She says I can’t just write a post about having electric and internet shut off notices and then be quiet for days after. I need to at least post a thing. Anything. “Even if it’s a stupid inspirational quote or to say how much the latest season of Arrow is not going as well as you’d like!”
Ok,so the good news is – I have electricity and Internet. I was just really busy trying to get my 80,000 lbs of tomatoes canned and winterizing the house. Winter is coming. I’m not happy about it but I’m dealing.
This is typical of what I’m pulling out of the garden every day now. I can’t even tell you how many herbs I’ve been able to harvest. It’s been too much to keep track of. I’m set for herbs for the rest of the winter, both culinary and medicinal. I still transplanted some into pots to keep inside for the winter. It helps to brighten my mood during the winter just to see them and smell them. And obviously it’s just awesome to be able to cook with fresh herbs all year long.
I forgot how water intensive canning is and ending up having to freeze a lot because of our water shortage here. I officially have no more room in the freezer, especially now that there’s ¼ deer in there (Thanks, Bruce). I saw a chest freezer(working) offered on Freecycle this morning but couldn’t arrange a truck to go get it. I think we’re going to need another freezer. Husbeast will hopefully get a deer of his own soon and I still have more coming out of the garden.
I am honestly amazed that I come across people in the comments on Facebook who claim they work a full time job plus still “grow all their own food”. Either they’re lying or they don’t eat much. I’m working at home part time and not growing anywhere near ALL our food requirements. It’s really time consuming and a lot of work, especially when you throw in family life with kids.
(Psst: I think they’re lying or at least exaggerating profusely)
But anyway…that’s the gist of what’s been happening here. I’m fine!
Other good things that happened this past week/weekend:
My daughter came home from college for the long weekend.
I scored 2 bags & a box of clothes for the 6 yr old on Freecycle. The woman offering said they were “nothing special but good condition”. They turned out to all be really nice…and they’re all fall/winter clothes. Usually this time of year, the clothes offered are summer as people clear out for fall/winter
I took a huge garbage bag of clothes to our food pantry’s exchange closet. It always feels good to get rid of stuff. I brought home two nice and heavy blankets.
we went to the Mall to get things that daughter needs at college. Stopped in at Old Navy on a whim to browse their clearance rack. Found a pair of shoes for kidlet (this kid and shoes is a whole story in itself) that was marked $8.99. Got to the register and they rang up as 97¢. They were $1.01 with tax. I can’t even find beat up second hand shoes at the thrift store for that.
Other college-daughter (the one who lives at home) started a new job.
The bad news on that last bullet point is that now we won’t get SNAP after this month. Grr.
Current news and developments happening in Flint this week. Check out last week’s link round up here.
Let me preface this collection of links by giving a little personal background that fuels my outrage. My youngest daughter had lead poisoning when she was small. Her lead levels were very high but were discovered through a routine lead screening at her well visit. The very next day after receiving the results, the health department was contacted by our pediatrician and the process began to find out where the lead was coming from and how to fix the problem (and the landlord was told succinctly that if he didn’t fix the problem immediately, he wouldn’t like the consequences). A county health nurse came to our house to set up a treatment plan. Developmental assessments were scheduled. I already had concerns over developmental delays and there in the lead screening was my answer.
Through this process, no one tried to hide the lead contamination from me. It wasn’t brushed off as something I would have to put up with. No one ever told me it was “just a few IQ points…. it’s not the end of the world.” The response was rapid. The concern was genuine. This is how it should be for everyone. Lead poisoning causes brain damage, for fucks sake. Brain damage. The longer undetected and untreated, the more profound.
I don’t even want to think about what life would be like for my daughter today if this had happened during the years we had no insurance and totally skipped well visits because we couldn’t afford to go.
I think about the impact lead poisoning had on my family when just ONE child had it. In Flint, it’s an entire generation that will be affected, especially if the proper plan of action is not set up to handle services children and families will need and what the school system will need to deal with ongoing issues. How this is handled from here on out is crucial. At the time this happened to us, we were financially stable. We had health insurance and money to buy food. The course of treatment to lower lead levels is nutritional. We fed her a diet high in calcium, vitamin C, and iron. He lead levels dropped to normal within a year. We could afford to specialize her diet like that at that time. 40% of Flint is “poverty level”, which doesn’t mean only 40% are struggling. That just means 40% is at or below federal poverty level statistically. I’m betting more are struggling to get food in the fridge than that 40%. Food, period. Even if treatment is in supplement form and not actual food, that’s still expensive for people struggling. Is Michigan going to expand a food program to Flint residents to meet these needs?
I have seen some commentary that completely writes off the children of Flint. People are already making predictions as to what percentage of these kids will grow up to be incarcerated or mentally disabled. My daughter is almost 15. She has no serious detriments now from the lead poisoning. That’s completely due to the fast response and intervention with services that followed. Don’t write these kids off. MAKE FLINT & MICHIGAN ACCOUNTABLE. Not just for fixing the water. Push the city and state to get intensive services to families NOW.
Intersection Episode 14: Fighting for Black Lives, in Flint and Beyond – The 1st part of this episode focuses on Flint and for anyone who needs a refresher on what’s goi go, Jamil Smith summarizes how this started and where we are now. Discussed is the role this crisis is playing on current presidential race and what the candidates are saying. It’s mentioned that Hillary Clinton has responded voluntarily but honestly,folks…Hillary has political advisors who told her it would be a great idea to say something and involve herself. At the end of the link is a good reading list.
FBI joins Flint drinking water investigation. List of agencies on case that investigate criminal wrongdoing grows. freep.com/story/news/loc… . I don’t know what that means. Do FBI investigations ever lead to arrests?
GUEST POST: “No Words” – A heartbreaking report from the trenches in the #FlintWaterCrisis By Eclectablog on… fb.me/4xZBfeEfj – “Across the street we go and knock, knock, knock. A young mother of four races out to greet us in her driveway. “Oh, my god, I’m so glad to see you guys, I just had a baby 3 weeks ago and I’ve been drinking water from the tap my whole pregnancy. I don’t have a car because someone stole the ignition out of it. I have some water for the formula but I have to wash his bottles with the tap water.” We give her a filter, a test kit, and extra jugs, breaking the rules of how much water we can deliver to each house. My heart breaks. I work with infants, I know the effects of neurotoxins during pregnancy. This baby likely has had massive lead exposure that is yet to be discovered. This mom may have known the risks but HAD NO CHOICE but to use her only source of water for the last 9 months.”
Just saw 6 cars with water from Jewish community pull up to Latino church in Flint to help undocumented get water: pic.twitter.com/JlSB7oRXcx“
Heart-tugging daily reality from Flint schoolkids, via @Local4News.
If you like the work I do here at Poor as Folk, please consider being a supporter at Patreon! Your support will keep content on the blog free and available to all on the internet as well as help me develop printed publications. Donate here: Poor as Folk on Patreon
A Question of Environmental Racism in Flint nyti.ms/1P9rfmd – Environmental racism is the disproportionate exposure of racial minorities(not only Black) to polluted air,water,soil. While class warfare is at work here, the overlapping of racial factors cannot be ignored. Labeling the crisis as a class issue doesn’t cover it.
The #FlintWaterCrisis is Not just a Black Issue it is also an Indigenous Issue wp.me/p22r55-iB …to be honest,this is a must read. Flint is occupied land technically. Settler colonialism and it’s far reaching impact makes it even harder to make Flint a Black issue as opposed to a class issue. Solidarity depends on realizing that multiple groups can be oppressed at once by the same system.
We’re late with the rent because we had to pay car insurance
We had no water from Friday night until Saturday afternoon. I lived in a house without running water once and forgot how much I love running water and indoor plumbing.
Eventually, I figured out that it was a small issue with the pump and fixed the problem myself which was a super good thing since I called the landlord’s rental agency, left a message for the “on call emergency” person ( a person took the message, not a machine) and here it is Tuesday and never have heard a word back. I suppose I should have called them to say I got the water running again but I was honestly curious to see how well they respond to issues. I think they failed that test and now I don’t feel as bad about being late with rent.
THIS: Ok, I LOVE my boys but I did not enjoy winter break at all. Not only was there never (well,hardly ever) peace, it’s so hard to work at home and have kids home from school. It’s not like you can really get a lot of work done, which of course adds to stress and frustration when you really have to be making money.
Winter showed up. I was just kinda boasting yesterday morning about how awesome I did at winterizing and how toasty warm it was inside but I didn’t wait for the temperature to drop low enough. Holy Elsa, it’s fuh-reeeezing in here. Wood stove roaring and the temp this morning inside is barely 60. It’s the wind. If the wind isn’t blowing, it’s fine.
Well, running water was welcomed back. I will never under appreciate it again
I just complained about winter break but we actually did manage to have some good fambly time. We had some good movie nights ( thank you , library), baked( banana bread,of course), played games, and general fun stuff. We made these birdfeeders from my out of control dishes-to-craft-with stash that I’ve acquired from free piles and yard sales to use for mosaics and various crafty stuff.
Food pantry food. Seriously. What would we be eating without it? I guess a pluckier gal would use some of her thrifted tea cups to start an indoor garden!
The boys went back to school. I can get back to work. HALLE-effing-lujah
My ex (my twins’ dad) bought us a pallet of Envirobricks. With our wood supply running low, this will help a lot. So far, I think they’re awesome and I’m noticing that the bricks are definitely more efficient than the wood.
GOALS THIS WEEK
pay rent ,obviously
Figure out how to not have garbage. Not even kidding. We have to pay $18 a month for garbage plus $10 for a sheet of garbage tags that go on each garbage can. We barely have any garbage. We compost and recycle everything we can so all of our actual garbage is packaging and the few things that cant be reused or recycled somehow. I want to cut that $18+ out of my budget entirely (I didn’t even pay that bill last month,actually)
Stay warm. Keep stalking all the drafts with non-expanding spray foam and scraps or rags. Make some more draft dodgers for along the floorboards? I don’t know what else I can do. Doorways are covered with drapes or blankets. Windows sealed with vinyl. Just so much ugh
Figure out what to make with this. Garlic Piastra? Even Google didn’t help me much. I asked my oldest son because he knows a ton about food plus works at a food bank in another city and he had no idea either. The best I can figure it it’s a dry seasoning for a rub or marinade? Yay,flavor! I’m nearly out of every herb and spice in my pantry. My Taxmas shopping list looks ridonkulous. I will buy a year supply of ginger if someone doesn’t stop me.
See if we can do our taxes ,like,now. I need Taxmas to be here.
Water is a human right. Yet every week, hundreds of Detroit residents are having their water ruthlessly cut off by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, despite living on the Great Lakes, which carry one-fifth of the world’s water supply.
People are given no warning and no time to fill buckets, sinks or tubs. Families, seniors, sick and injured people and those with special needs are left without running water and working toilets, including vulnerable populations, sick people and others with special needs. People recovering from surgery cannot wash and change bandages. Children cannot bathe and parents cannot cook.
The plan to cut off water to 150,000 households by the end of the summer is part of the plan to sell off and privatize Detroit’s water system. In order to make the utility attractive to investors, lower-income households are being forced to pay exorbitant rates for their water and sewer services or see their access cut. Water rates have risen in Detroit by 119 per cent in the last decade. With unemployment rates at a record high, and the poverty rate at about 40 per cent, Detroit water bills are unaffordable to a significant portion of the population.
By allowing thousands of people to be denied access to water and sanitation services, the U.S. government is violating its international obligation to respect and protect the human right to water and sanitation.
Show your solidarity with the people in Detroit. Tell U.S. President Barack Obama, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to uphold the human right to water and stop the water cut-offs!
Today’s round-up is focused on environmental injustices that greatly impact marginalized and low income people.
Gyasi Ross gives thanks to all those who have been fighting to protect Mother Earth with the reminder that there’s still more to do…
This is a call to action. Right now, the State Department has THANKFULLY delayed approval or rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline again. That’s positive—that means that all of the actions of Dallas and Faith and Winona and the Niimiipu Tribe and Cheyenne River, Oglala Lakota, Honor the Earth, Owe Aku, and Protect the Sacred and John Pepion and MANY MANY others are paying off. There are literally tipis on the National Mall right now full of Native people taking a stand against the Keystone XL. Thank you. You’re making a mark. We have to make a mark—this is about the very essence of Indigenous life—our mother. Our land.
It’s not enough. We have to continue to work, sign petitions, put pressure on, make coalitions. Small steps—John Isaiah Pepion is committing a percentage of all earnings from his ledger art prints above to help this fight by directing it to Honor the Earth and Stronghold Society. Buy a print. They’re beautiful and powerful.
Small steps. Put one foot in front of the other. This is Native power. This is a fight worth fighting and worth winning. For our kids’ sakes.
Get involved. Call your legislator. Encourage NIGA, NCAI and every other Native organization to take a strong stand on this IMMEDIATELY—economic development is cool and important, and it’s good that we’ve worked on those fights. We also, however, have to make sure that we’re protecting our traditional ways of life and being. Our nations absolutely gotta have money, true, but these kinda fights are the very things that make us Indigenous and what we gotta have money FOR! Show these grassroots warriors your support. This fight ain’t over and we really REALLY could win this. The Earth will be fine, but our kids need this. Happy Earth Day.
A new study published this week shows that both race and class are significant indicators of how much toxic air pollution individuals face in the United States with minorities receiving nearly 40% more exposure to deadly airborne pollutants than whites.
The University of Minnesota study, according to lead researcher Julian Marshall, looked closely at the rates of pollution exposure by race, income, education and other key demographics to establish the key predictors of how specific populations are impacted across the country, state by state.
“The [main] ones are race and income, and they both matter,” Marshall said in an interview with MinnPost. “In our findings, however, race matters more than income.”
Specifically looking at levels of outdoor nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a byproduct found in vehicle exhaust and fossil fuel-fired power plants, the study—titled “National Patterns in Environmental Injustice and Inequality”—found that people of color are exposed to 38 percent more of the deadly chemical which experts say can be a key driver of heart disease and other health problems.
According to the study:
Breathing NO2 is linked to asthma symptoms and heart disease. The researchers studied NO2 levels in urban areas across the country and compared specific areas within the cities based on populations defined in the U.S. Census as “nonwhite” or “white.”
The health impacts from the difference in levels between whites and nonwhites found in the study are substantial. For example, researchers estimate that if nonwhites breathed the lower NO2 levels experienced by whites, it would prevent 7,000 deaths from heart disease alone among nonwhites each year.
Though it has been well-documented that low-income families and minorities have long been forced to live in undesirable neighborhoods near coal plants or high-traffic roadways, this study is being called “ground-breaking” for taking a national look at the issue and using advanced satellite technology to compare specific geographic areas with advanced pollution data.
Studies dating back to the 1970s have pointed to a consistent pattern in who lives near the kinds of hazards — toxic waste sites, landfills, congested highways — that few of us would willingly choose as neighbors. The invariable answer: poor people and communities of color.
This pattern of “environmental injustice” suggests that minorities may contend every day with disproportionate health risks from tailpipe exhaust or coal plant emissions. But these health risks are harder to quantify than, say, the number of power plants in a city. And most of the research that has tried to do this has been limited to a single metropolitan area, or to those few places that happen to have good monitoring data on pollution.
If you’re poor, the only way you’re likely to injure someone is the old traditional way: artisanal violence, we could call it – by hands, by knife, by club, or maybe modern hands-on violence, by gun or by car.
But if you’re tremendously wealthy, you can practice industrial-scale violence without any manual labor on your own part. You can, say, build a sweatshop factory that will collapse in Bangladesh and kill more people than any hands-on mass murderer ever did, or you can calculate risk and benefit about putting poisons or unsafe machines into the world, as manufacturers do every day. If you’re the leader of a country, you can declare war and kill by the hundreds of thousands or millions. And the nuclear superpowers – the US and Russia – still hold the option of destroying quite a lot of life on Earth.
So do the carbon barons. But when we talk about violence, we almost always talk about violence from below, not above.
Or so I thought when I received a press release last week from a climate group announcing that ” scientists say there is a direct link between changing climate and an increase in violence”. What the scientists actually said, in a not-so-newsworthy article in Nature two and a half years ago, is that there is higher conflict in the tropics in El Nino years, and that perhaps this will scale up to make our age of climate change also an era of civil and international conflict.
The message is that ordinary people will behave badly in an era of intensified climate change.