Environmental Justice in New Mexico: Counting Coup by Valerie Rangel
New Mexico has a rich tradition of environmental activism, most likely because it also has a rich tradition of environmental disaster and exploitation. Our relationship with our beautiful state is complicated, to say the least. While the oil and mining (and government) industries might tout their capitalist benefits, there are inevitably negative byproducts of such exploitation. It is not only that the land itself becomes poisoned and shows visible scarring, the communities that directly feel the negative effects of such extensive natural destruction (water poisoning, air pollution, noise pollution etc.) are overwhelmingly communities of color. Communities with ties to the land that run deeper than any oil well, where families have lived, died, farmed and respected their connection to their natural surroundings. Valerie Rangel’s Environmental Justice in New Mexico: Counting Coup is a robust collection of histories from some of these affected communities and persons confronting New Mexico’s tangled history with uranium and radioactive contamination, mining, fracking, water rights and access and unsafe working conditions.
Rangel is an advocate for those who have been brushed aside, whose traditions have been compromised, for those whose voices have been stifled, for those who are sick and tired of this relentless pursuit of the almighty dollar with little to no consideration or care for the people, places and histories that are discounted, negatively affected, or in some cases erased entirely.
Review by Joel
$21.95 Trade Paperback
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