Tag Archives: color

Congress might allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

In parts of the United Kingdom Monday morning, people woke up to a blood-red sun — a phenomenon seen around the globe this year.

The color was caused by smoke that blew in from wildfires across Portugal and Spain. Hurricane Ophelia deepened the reddish hue by dragging up dust from the Sahara.

Red skies have haunted the western U.S. recently as wildfires burned in Montana and ash rained down in Seattle. This month in Northern California, 20,000 people evacuated from massive wildfires under a red-orange sky.

Anadolu Agency / Contributor / Getty Images

On the other side of the world, wildfires burned in Siberia all summer long, covering the sun with enormous clouds of smoke and ash.

REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

To understand why this happens, you need to know a bit of optics. Sun rays contain light from the whole visible spectrum. As the sun’s white light beams into the atmosphere, it collides with molecules that diffuse some of the wavelengths. On a normal day, short wavelength colors, like purple and blue, are filtered out, making the sun look yellow.

But high concentrations of light-scattering molecules in the air (like smoke particles from a wildfire) crowd out more of those short-wavelength colors, leaving behind that hellish red color.

Since climate change makes wildfires worse, we’ll be seeing a lot more of it.

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Congress might allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

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Check out what career government staff is doing to fly under Trump’s radar.

A report on the employment practices of green groups finds that the sector, despite its socially progressive reputation, is still overwhelmingly the bastion of white men.

According to the study, released by Green 2.0, roughly 3 out of 10 people at environmental organizations are people of color, but at the senior staff level, the figure drops closer to 1 out of 10. And at all levels, from full-time employees to board members, men make up three-quarters or more of NGO staffs.

Click to embiggen.Green 2.0

The new report, titled “Beyond Diversity: A Roadmap to Building an Inclusive Organization,” relied on more than 85 interviews of executives and HR reps and recruiters at environmental organizations.

Representatives of NGOs and foundations largely agreed on the benefits of having a more diverse workforce, from the added perspectives in addressing environmental problems to a deeper focus on environmental justice to allowing the movement to engage a wider audience.

The most worrisome finding is that fewer than 40 percent of environmental groups even had diversity plans in place to ensure they’re more inclusive. According to the report, “Research shows that diversity plans increases the odds of black men in management positions significantly.”

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Check out what career government staff is doing to fly under Trump’s radar.

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Miscellaneous Photo Stuff

Mother Jones

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You can do quick and easy fun stuff with color in Photoshop with the White Balance tool and Replace Color tool. For the former, just click the eyedropper randomly on the image and see what happens. For the latter, choose a color randomly and then change the hue to see what you get. If you feel like screwing around with weird tints and colors, this is a very simple way of doing it. We can all be Andy Warhol for 15 minutes.

Remember my photo of the chopsticks a couple of weeks ago? Here’s what it looks like with various combinations of color manipulation. The original image is at the top, followed by half a dozen false-color images.

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Miscellaneous Photo Stuff

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The coal executive jailed for a deadly mining disaster still says he’s innocent.

Nicky Sheats has done his homework. After getting his degree from Harvard Law, Sheats went back to get a PhD in biogeochemistry, also at Harvard, and did a quick post-doc at Columbia. (Did we mention he went to Princeton for undergrad?) When his studies brought him to an environmental justice conference, Sheats saw a cause that united all his interests.

Over his career, Sheats has leaned on academic research to write policy initiatives for cleaner air in communities of color, which typically suffer from higher rates of air pollution. Recently, Sheats helped develop a municipal ordinance in Newark, New Jersey, that calls for stricter regulation of pollution caused by development projects. After six long years of campaigning, Newark passed the ordinance in July 2016.

Another win: When, in 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the Clean Power Plan, a set of rules that require electric power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Sheats saw huge gaps in policy and regulation that could potentially hurt low-income communities and communities of color. He gave lectures and wrote to policymakers, advocating for mandatory reductions of air pollution around these communities — not just for greenhouse gases, but also for “co-pollutants,” other toxins commonly released from power plants.

The EPA ended up adapting some of Sheats’ policies, albeit without including any concrete mechanisms to achieve that goal. “We think that if you don’t use climate change policy to reduce inequalities,” Sheats says, “you’ll miss a big opportunity to help environmental justice communities that may not come around again.”


Meet all the fixers on this year’s Grist 50.

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The coal executive jailed for a deadly mining disaster still says he’s innocent.

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To Understand the Cost of the War on Women, Look to Mississippi

Mother Jones

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Few policy areas have been so strongly affected by the first 100 days of the Donald Trump administration as women’s health care and access to reproductive services. Trump promised he would launch an all-out offensive against abortion access protections and organizations like Planned Parenthood, and the Republican Congress has begun the process. Across the country, emboldened anti-abortion state legislatures have tried to pass a new wave of abortion restrictions.

But in Mississippi, extensive abortion restrictions have been on the books for years. It’s one of a handful of states with only one operating abortion clinic—the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which Mississippi conservatives have fought to close—leaving thousands of women, particularly low-income women of color, with limited access to services. The state has poured resources into more than three dozen crisis pregnancy centers, which offer nonmedical services and counsel women against having an abortion. A new crisis pregnancy center opened right across the street from the clinic late last month.

There was a time when what was happening in Mississippi was seen as unique. Now women across the country fear their state could be next.

Enter Jackson, an award-winning documentary highlighting the realities of living in a state seeking to eliminate abortion access. Released on the festival circuit last June and broadcast nationally on Showtime earlier this week (Showtime Showcase will rebroadcast the film on Friday, and it is now available on demand), the documentary offers an intimate look into the lives of three women: Shannon Brewer, the director of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization; April, a 24-year-old single mother of four who’s facing an unplanned pregnancy; and Barbara Beavers, the executive director of the pro-life Center for Pregnancy Choices, a Jackson-based crisis pregnancy center. In following the often intersecting lives of its subjects, Jackson not only highlights the struggles of operating Mississippi’s last clinic, but also explores what life can be like in a state with few options. Filmed over three years and drawing from more than 700 hours of footage, Crow deftly connects the women’s stories to one another and to developments at the state and national levels and gives viewers an opportunity to understand the people caught up in the fight for reproductive rights.

Mother Jones caught up with Crow shortly before Jackson‘s national broadcast premiere to discuss how audiences have reacted to the film, what it was like to spend years working with the documentary’s subjects, and what the film means at a time when access to abortion is under an increased threat.

Mother Jones: How would you describe this documentary to someone, and how did you decide you wanted to make it?

Maisie Crow: Jackson is a film about the anti-abortion movement’s efforts to dissemble and take apart access to abortion in Mississippi and really across the Deep South. And now it really rings true across the country. In 2012, I read an article about HB 1390, the admitting privileges law that had just been signed by Gov. Phil Bryant. I was shocked—I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas, and at the time there was an abortion clinic there. For as much as I knew, there were abortion clinics in every city. To realize there was a state with one abortion clinic and there was a law that could close it down, I was totally shocked. I went down to Mississippi shortly after reading that article.

Over time, I built really strong connections with the clinic, including Shannon Brewer the director of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization and Dr. Willie Parker who was providing abortion care there at the time. I spent a lot of time getting to know them, and then I made a short film called The Last Clinic (released in 2013). And it was in making that film that I realized I wanted to tell a larger story and weave in the anti-abortion movement in Mississippi and what they were doing to block access for women.

MJ: Two of the women in this film—Shannon and April—are African American. I’ve done some writing about the unique complexities women of color, particularly black women, face when it comes to accessing abortion care. Its not just economics; there’s a very specific type of shame that black women can feel for even considering an abortion. How did you navigate telling those stories?

MC: Being a woman who is not from Mississippi, who did not grow up in those circumstances, and who is not a woman of color, I really relied on Shannon to help me understand what that experience was like. I paid careful and close attention to make sure that I was telling Shannon and April’s story in the best and most honest way possible because it was not my experience and so many problems can arise from that.

MJ: How did you first come in contact with April and begin working with her? She seems to be a remarkable example of an everyday woman’s experience in the state.

MC: I think it is risky to say that her experience is an everyday woman’s experience because we all have vastly different experiences in life and health care. But once I met Barbara and started filming Barbara, I knew I had to tell the story of a woman who sought care at Barbara’s crisis pregnancy center, and that is where I met April. The day or two after I met April—I was at her house doing an interview—she told me she had consumed Clorox to terminate a pregnancy. In the film, that’s revealed during a counseling session at the crisis pregnancy center. That was the moment where I was like, this is really scary—for women to feel like they have to resort to drinking bleach because they don’t want to be pregnant. That was something that couldn’t be left out of a film about access to abortion care.

Women’s choices should be their choices no matter what their situation in life. I want women to be educated on what their choices are. And to come to a place like Mississippi and meet women who don’t know what their options are, not because they’re not smart but because they haven’t been given that knowledge or they’ve been misled—that’s alarming to me.

I really felt April’s experience was vital in terms of understanding how these laws and these crisis pregnancy centers and the stigma, how those things work together to affect a woman. April’s story is unique to her, but there are certainly other women that have experienced similar things, whether it’s multiple unwanted pregnancies without access to contraceptives or accurate information about abortion. After the screening in Jackson, Mississippi, several women came up and said, “Thank you for making this. I’ve been to that same crisis pregnancy center and I felt the same shame that April felt.”

MJ: So, as you’re talking to one woman of color in charge of Mississippi’s only clinic with abortion services and another woman of color navigating a very difficult pregnancy, you are also interacting with Barbara, who comes from a strong anti-abortion perspective. How familiar were you with her side of the story going into this?

MC: I was probably most familiar with Barbara’s perspective. I grew up in South Texas. I grew up more in the pro-life movement and the conservative mindset than the liberal community that I am part of now. So that gave me unique insight into Barbara’s world, and I think that helped me understand her and get good access.

MJ: A typical documentary about abortion access often follows a woman who is certain she wants an abortion through the gauntlet she has to go through—from the informed-consent information many states require doctors to distribute, to the often required ultrasound and the mandatory waiting period—before she can get the procedure. Why isn’t that the main story in Jackson?

MC: It is important for that voice to be portrayed, but what I felt was missing in the overall discussion was the complexity, the nuance, the gray areas that exist in places, especially in the Deep South, where there is a layer of stigma and shame associated with abortion. That tends to influence some of the decision-making. So you might have a woman that doesn’t want to be pregnant, who is not being given access to contraceptives, who has not been advised properly on contraceptive use. She doesn’t want to be pregnant, but she feels like she has no options. What is that experience like? That is what I was trying to understand because when I got down to Mississippi I realized that it was not cut and dry.

Photo Courtesy of Maisie Crow

MJ: What was it like for you to film both sides of this issue?

MC: It was weird. You’re filming both sides of this super contentious issue and there are a lot of emotions and passions in it. As a woman I have my own beliefs, I certainly don’t try to set those aside or remove them because it has to do with my health care as well. But I worked to not necessarily let that get in my way or allow myself to get angry or frustrated.

MJ: This film is having its national broadcast premiere during a very intense political moment when it comes to reproductive rights and abortion access. How does your film fit into all that?

MC: I am glad that the film exists at this point in time because I think it is a really scary moment for reproductive rights and access to reproductive health care. I think that this film helps people understand the different issues that are woven into a women’s ability to access reproductive health care. I hope it really sparks some discussions. We’ve seen at festivals that audiences are really engaged and want to talk about these issues. There is so much to say and so much to talk about and it is my hope that the film sparks these discussions and people can continue them in their communities.

MJ: Jackson has been on the festival circuit for several months now, and it was screened both before and after the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, as well as before and after the presidential election. Have reactions to the film changed in the months since its first screening?

MC: Of course! Prior to the election, I think there was a sense of confidence that things were changing and that this country was becoming more progressive and that women’s rights were being treated more fairly in regards to health care. The reaction used to be, “Oh, look at what’s happening in Mississippi.” Or “Oh, it’s too bad that’s happening in Mississippi.” Or “What can we do to change what is happening in Mississippi?” Now it’s “Oh my God, this is happening in my backyard.” People are really alarmed.

There’s a moment in the film where Dr. Parker is standing in front of the Supreme Court steps and he says, “In November, vote as if women’s lives depended on it because they will.” We partnered with Planned Parenthood for a screening that had been planned before the election but didn’t happen until a week or two after it. And in that screening, you could hear people crying at that part. The screenings have changed drastically. It’s no longer “What’s happening to the women in Mississippi?” It’s “What’s happening to the women across this country?”

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To Understand the Cost of the War on Women, Look to Mississippi

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How White is “Rural America”?

Mother Jones

Over at Vox, Sean Illing writes about how we think of rural America:

The media often conflates rurality and whiteness in this country. But this is a false — and misleading — narrative.

Roughly one-fifth of rural residents in this country are people of color, and their interests and political views are as diverse as they are. When coverage of rural areas dismisses or otherwise ignores this fact, actual political consequences follow: The specific concerns of certain communities simply fall out of view.

Illing talks about this with Mara Casey Tieken, a professor at Bates College, who says this:

I think policymakers that represent white communities have disproportionately more power than policymakers representing rural communities of color….I think the problem also becomes self-perpetuating because what gets covered is rural white America, so that shapes how people think about rural America, and those are the stories that get told over and over again.

I want to offer up a guess about one reason why “rural” is so associated with whiteness. Here it is:

When the media reports on rural America, the stories are usually about Ohio or Missouri or Indiana or Pennsylvania or Nebraska. “Rural” means the Midwest and the Rust Belt. And as you can see on the map, those places really are mostly white.

As Tieken says, this becomes self-perpetuating. The Midwest and the Rust Belt are politically interesting, so rural areas there get lots of coverage. That means we largely see rural America as white, and that in turn means that news items about non-white areas usually end up getting coded as something else: In the Deep South they become “race and the lingering effects of slavery” stories, and in the Southwest they become “Hispanic immigration and the changing demographics of America” stories.

Does this happen because of implicit bias among reporters and the rest of us? Or because the Midwest and the Rust Belt really are the interesting areas when it comes to politics (big populations, loud voices, plenty of swing voters)? Maybe both.

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How White is “Rural America”?

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Chicago wants to dominate in renewable energy.

Contrary to what you may have heard, the reef isn’t dead — not yet. But aerial surveys show that 900 miles of the 1,400-mile-long reef have been severely bleached in the past two years.

Bleaching occurs when warm water causes stressed-out corals to expel symbiotic algae from their tissues; corals then lose their color and their chief source of food, making them more likely to die.

Last year’s El Niño–induced bleaching event was devastating, knocking out two-thirds of the corals in the northern section of the reef. We’d hoped that 2017 would bring cooler temperatures, giving the fragile ecosystem some much needed R&R.

Instead, temperatures on Australia’s east coast were still hotter than average in the early months of this year, and on top of that, the reef’s midsection took a hit from a big cyclone in March.

ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

This is the first time the reef has experienced back-to-back annual bleaching events. If this keeps happening, it’ll quash the reef’s chances for recovery and regrowth, a process that can take a decade or longer under normal conditions.

Under the abnormal conditions of climate change, though, there is little reprieve — unless we, y’know, address the root of the problem itself.

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Chicago wants to dominate in renewable energy.

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Our plan for Earth Day is to ponder whether feminism is dead.

Contrary to what you may have heard, the reef isn’t dead — not yet. But aerial surveys show that 900 miles of the 1,400-mile-long reef have been severely bleached in the past two years.

Bleaching occurs when warm water causes stressed-out corals to expel symbiotic algae from their tissues; corals then lose their color and their chief source of food, making them more likely to die.

Last year’s El Niño–induced bleaching event was devastating, knocking out two-thirds of the corals in the northern section of the reef. We’d hoped that 2017 would bring cooler temperatures, giving the fragile ecosystem some much needed R&R.

Instead, temperatures on Australia’s east coast were still hotter than average in the early months of this year, and on top of that, the reef’s midsection took a hit from a big cyclone in March.

ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

This is the first time the reef has experienced back-to-back annual bleaching events. If this keeps happening, it’ll quash the reef’s chances for recovery and regrowth, a process that can take a decade or longer under normal conditions.

Under the abnormal conditions of climate change, though, there is little reprieve — unless we, y’know, address the root of the problem itself.

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Our plan for Earth Day is to ponder whether feminism is dead.

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Is Reaching Out Beyond White Men an Example of "Politicizing" Science?

Mother Jones

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This coming Earth Day is the March for Science. “On April 22, 2017, we walk out of the lab and into the streets,” say the organizers in a charming effort to sound like hellions. It doesn’t really work, though, thanks to a Twitter feed full of stuff like this:

There are also a zillion Star Trek jokes, pictures of Albert Einstein, nerdy hats, and everything else you’d expect from scientists. However, early on in the planning some people suggested that the organizers should try to ensure that the whole thing wasn’t just a bunch of white men. This led to a statement on diversity, and eventually to this single tweet among the gazillions of others:

Maybe this is a little over the top. YMMV. However, as I read it, the organizers aren’t saying that these issues can be reduced to data and solved as scientific problems. They are saying that these things affect scientists, just as they affect us all.

Nonetheless, the good folks at National Review are upset. A scientist named Alex Berezow says he won’t be attending the march because, among other things, “It’s curious that a website that seeks to include everybody conspicuously left men, whites, and Christians off the diversity list.” Wesley Smith agrees:

Berezow is exactly right: For example, science can tell us the biological nature of a fetus. It cannot tell us whether it is right or wrong to have an abortion. That question sounds in morality, ethics, religion, and politics.

If science properly understood ever becomes conflated in the public mind with left wingism, it will profoundly harm that crucial sector and thence, the human future.

Science is already too politicized with policy or ethical debates wrongly called questions about whether one side or the other is “anti-science.”

I suspect that if we dig deep enough, we would find George Soros money paying for all of this. Be that as it may, no reputable scientist should march in the March for Science.

Yeah. George Soros is everywhere. And making an effort to highlight the fact that women and people of color are scientists too isn’t a good thing, it’s “politicizing” science. That sure is a funny definition of politicizing.

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Is Reaching Out Beyond White Men an Example of "Politicizing" Science?

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We’ve Reached #cut50 For Young Black Men

Mother Jones

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Here’s come good news for MLK Day. The incarceration rate for young black men is now down more than half since 2001:

The not-so-good news is that this has nothing to do with better criminal justice policies or efforts to create opportunities for people of color. It’s because of lead. The younger you are, the more likely you are to have grown up in a (mostly) lead-free environment, and that means you’re less likely to have committed a felony or gotten sent to prison. Because prison sentences in America tend to be long, de-incarceration lags falling crime rates by a fair amount, but eventually it does catch up.

You’ll note that, generally speaking, black incarceration has fallen more than white incarceration. The reason for this is simple: the biggest victims of lead poisoning in the 1960-90 era were black. They lived largely in urban cores, which had more lead paint and higher concentrations of gasoline lead than other areas. When crime went up, it affected blacks more strongly than whites. But when lead gasoline was banned and crime went down, that also affected blacks more strongly than whites. Black crime rates fell more steeply than white crime rates, and now black incarceration is falling more steeply than white incarceration rates.

We’re still at nothing close to parity, of course. Lead explains some things, but it doesn’t explain the stain of racism and greed in men’s hearts. This is America’s original sin, and it will take more than an EPA regulation to finally overcome it.

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We’ve Reached #cut50 For Young Black Men

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