Daily Archives: September 28, 2022

Dave Montgomery – Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations

The University of British Columbia– Feb 24, 2011

Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Author David Montgomery has discovered that the three-foot-deep skin of our planet is slowly being eroded away, with potentially devastating results. In this engaging lecture, Montgomery draws from his book ‘Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations’ to trace the role of soil use and abuse in the history of societies, and discuss how the rise of organic and no-till farming bring hope for a new agricultural revolution.

David Montgomery | Noah’s Flood and the Development of Geology || Radcliffe Institute

Harvard University – Apr 9, 2015

The geologist David Montgomery explores the interface of science and religion through flood stories from cultures around the world.

Pumped Dry: The Global Crisis of Vanishing Groundwater | USA TODAY

USA TODAY – Aug 14, 2018

In places around the world, supplies of groundwater are rapidly vanishing. As aquifers decline and wells begin to go dry, people are being forced to confront a growing crisis.

Much of the planet relies on groundwater. And in places around the world – from the United States to Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America – so much water is pumped from the ground that aquifers are being rapidly depleted and wells are going dry.

Groundwater is disappearing beneath cornfields in Kansas, rice paddies in India, asparagus farms in Peru and orange groves in Morocco. As these critical water reserves are pumped beyond their limits, the threats are mounting for people who depend on aquifers to supply agriculture, sustain economies and provide drinking water. In some areas, fields have already turned to dust and farmers are struggling.

Climate change is projected to increase the stresses on water supplies, and heated disputes are erupting in places where those with deep wells can keep pumping and leave others with dry wells. Even as satellite measurements have revealed the problem’s severity on a global scale, many regions have failed to adequately address the problem. Aquifers largely remain unmanaged and unregulated, and water that seeped underground over tens of thousands of years is being gradually used up.

In this documentary, USA TODAY and The Desert Sun investigate the consequences of this emerging crisis in several of the world’s hotspots of groundwater depletion. These are stories about people on four continents confronting questions of how to safeguard their aquifers for the future – and in some cases, how to cope as the water runs out.

Saving Venice | Full Documentary | NOVA | PBS

NOVA PBS Official – Premiered 90 minutes ago

Rising seas threaten the survival of Venice. Can innovative engineering projects save it?
Official Website: https://to.pbs.org/3ChvkDE | #NOVAPBS
Rising sea levels and sinking land threaten to destroy Venice. Leading scientists and engineers are racing against the clock and battling the forces of nature to try to save this historic city for future generations. Discover the innovative projects and feats of engineering currently underway, including a hi-tech flood barrier, eco-projects to conserve the lagoon, and new efforts to investigate erosion beneath the city. This is Venice as never seen before, at a critical moment in its rich history.

Threats, Classroom Cameras & Politics: Why American Teachers Are Dropping Out | Amanpour and Company

Sep 21, 2022

Journalist Jennifer Berkshire co-authored an analysis of what she calls the “dismantling” of America’s public education system. She speaks with Hari Sreenivasan about the reality behind the teacher shortage in America.

Originally aired on September 21, 2022.

Gurnah’s latest novel ‘Afterlives’ explores effects of colonial rule in East Africa

Sep 28, 2022

Abdulrazak Gurnah is receiving worldwide attention after being awarded last year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. His latest novel “Afterlives” is set in colonial East Africa occupied by Germany in the early 20th century. Gurnah writes of individuals caught up in the sweep of history and the impact on their later lives. Jeffrey Brown caught up with him for our arts and culture series, “CANVAS.”

Sketches of the Amistad Captives & Contemporary Commemoration: Mondays at Beinecke, March 29, 2021

Beinecke Library at Yale– Mar 30, 2021

The Beinecke Library stewards a set of 22 pencil drawings of the Amistad captives as they awaited trial in New Haven, 1839-40. The sketches were done by William H. Townsend, a New Havener who was about 18 years old when he made the drawings. George Miles of the Beinecke Library discusses the drawings. and Joy Burns, a member of the contemporary Amistad Committee, discusses the resonance of this event in history for New Haven and the nation today and share efforts to commemorate the Amistad now and for the future.

In 1839, the Spanish slave ship Amistad set sail from Havana to Puerto Principe, Cuba. The ship was carrying 53 Africans who, a few months earlier, had been abducted from their homeland to be sold as slaves. The captives revolted against the ships crew, killing the captain and others, but sparing the life of the ships navigator so that he could set them on a course back to Africa. Instead, the navigator surreptitiously directed the ship north and west. After several weeks, the Amistad was seized by the U.S. Navy off the coast of Long Island and the Africans were transported to New Haven to await trial for mutiny, murder, and piracy.

Slavery advocates held that the Amistad prisoners were slaves and thus they should be punished for their uprising and immediately returned to Cuba. Abolitionists, on the other hand, argued that though slavery was legal in Cuba, the importation of slaves from Africa had been outlawed; thus, they claimed, the prisoners were not slaves, but freemen who had been kidnapped and thus had every right to escape their captors and even to use violence to do so. The case was important to the proslavery-abolitionist debates that were raging in the U.S., and to the international debates about treaty obligations with regard to slavery and the legality of the international slave trade.

After two years of legal battles, their case was successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1841.

For Library of Congress (LOC) listing see:

The Amistad captives | Library of Congress


(Portraits are listed individually — along with other cross-listings from Yale’s collections)


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Biden administration launches environmental justice office – The Boston Globe


N.C. (AP) — Forty years after a predominantly Black community in Warren County, North Carolina, rallied against hosting a hazardous waste landfill, President Biden’s top environment official visited what is widely considered the birthplace of the environmental justice movement Saturday to unveil a national office that will distribute $3 billion in block grants to underserved communities burdened by pollution.


by civil rights leaders and participants from the 1982 protests, Michael Regan, the first Black administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced he is dedicating a new senior level of leadership to the environmental justice movement they ignited.

The Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights — comprised of more than 200 current staff members in 10 US regions — will merge three existing EPA programs to oversee a portion of Democrats’ $60 billion investment in environmental justice initiatives created by the Inflation Reduction Act. The president will nominate an assistant administrator to lead the new office, pending Senate confirmation.

“In the past, many of our communities have had to compete for very small grants because EPA’s pot of money was extremely small,” Regan said in an interview. “We’re going from tens of thousands of dollars to developing and designing a program that will distribute billions. But we’re also going to be sure that this money goes to those who need it the most and those who’ve never had a seat at the table.”

…(read more).

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The queen’s death raises questions over the future of the Commonwealth | 1A

When Queen Elizabeth II died last week, her son Charles became the king. Not only in the United Kingdom but in 14 additional countries around the world.

The British Commonwealth is a political organization of 56 countries across the globe. The Commonwealth accounts for 2.5 billion people, with India making up more than half of that number.

But its future following the queen’s death remains uncertain. Barbados left the organization last year and both Jamaica and Belize are also considering departures.

The history of British colonial rule in the Caribbean and the possibility of reparations are hot topics of discussion among regional advocates and leaders.

We gather a panel to talk about the Commonwealth’s history, why countries join, and why they leave.

…(read more).

The strain of censorship on public libraries – 1A

This summer, a library in Lafayette, Louisiana, was forced to remove a Pride Month display after conservative Christian activists joined the board.

They also refused to fund a program about voting rights and attempted to fire a librarian for speaking out about the changes.

In Iowa, a proposed bill would give city councils the power to overturn librarians’ decisions about what books to buy and where they’re displayed.

And librarians in Missouri canceled their bookmobile to several schools after a law passed in the state criminalizing anyone who makes visually explicit content available in schools.

The American Library Association has reported 681 challenges to more than 1,600 titles this year. That puts 2022 on track to see the highest number of book challenges in decades.

What future do public libraries and library workers have in this climate of unprecedented censorship? And what role do larger, out-of-state libraries play in combatting it?


Deborah Caldwell-Stone
former director, American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom

Kimber Gildden former director, Boundary County Public Library in Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Deborah Mikula, executive director, the Michigan Library Association
Kiese Laymon author, “How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America”; professor of English, the University of Mississippi

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