Funding Affordable Housing: Credits

Solutions To Other Problems

One of the great focuses of environmental justice and sustainable development over the last few decades has been helping companies internalize the costs they have historically allowed other people to pay. One example of this is carbon credits. This has become a popular way for companies like Google, Apple, and others to offset the impact of their operations which other people would otherwise have to pay.

A Pattern To Solve This Problem

I propose a similar instrument to allow companies to offset the impact their workforce has on housing. A housing credit would be an easy for for companies like Google, Apple, and others to purchase instruments from nonprofits to offset the impact they have on communities. Neighborhood Development Corporations exist to provide affordable housing in their communities. Selling housing credits to cities and corporations would be a simple and straightforward way to facilitate the housing that is so desperately required in our communities today.

The cost of housing credits should reflect the local price to create units, and it should scale with the relative cost of development. For example, building a single housing unit in San Francisco has a much higher unit cost than building a hundred or a thousand units. These economies of scale should be passed on to the buyer, and the locations where they are buying credits should accurately reflect the impact their workforce is having on existing communities.

San Francisco has half a billion dollars sitting in a fund allocated by a ballot measure intended to create housing for unhoused people in the city. The problem is that there is not a clear and obvious way for the city to use this money. If nonprofit institutions existed in various neighborhoods in the city and sold housing credits which funded the construction of affordable housing for impacted populations, then the city would have an easy and straightforward option for directing those funds to creating that much-needed affordable housing.

Creating housing credits and selling them to cities and companies would be a great way to fund the development of affordable housing.

The Future

In the long-term, this could form the basis for a strategy of seeking retroactive credits from organizations which have impacted housing inventories throughout history. For example, many companies are now carbon negative due to buying sufficient carbon credits to offset not only their current production but also their past production. Therefore this same strategy could be used to expand housing beyond solving merely the current crisis to also resolve past injustices.

It’s easy to see a future where cities include housing credits in impact analyses when approving development, thus requiring developers to account for their impact on the housing inventory of the communities surrounding their projects.

USP 514 Session 10 Notes

October 19th and 21st
Session Ten: Sustainable Urban Waste Management

This session will focus on the approaches, policies, and practices that can promote sustainable waste management and resource recovery. We will be guided by the following questions.

Waste is unwanted material intentionally thrown away for disposal.

  1. What are the basic characteristics of waste as it relates to urban waste management issues?
    • Solid vs liquid
    • Organic vs inorganic
    • Human activities
      • Agriculture, husbandry
      • Energy sources
      • Water collection and use
      • Building shelters and buildings
      • Making tools and other objects for cultural, industrial and spiritual reasons
      • Conflict and warfare
    • Production of products with toxic materials
  2. What waste management systems and technologies have been developed by planners in the “industrialized world”?
    • Landfills
    • Recycling
    • Composting
  3. What are the environmental and social impacts of these waste management systems and technologies?
    • The waste stream has become much more toxic
    • Accumulation of toxics in the waste stream
      • Toxins like dioxin are now in the breast milk of every woman on earth.
    • Accumulation of inorganic material in the waste stream
  4. What alternative systems and technologies can be put into place? 
    • We have to move from a waste management approach to a resource recovery approach. (“Because approach is the highest level”)
      • Composting: 40% of the waste in landfills is food waste
      • Ashes
      • Cans and bottles
      • Electronics recycling
      • Thrift stores
    • Cradle to grave vs cradle to cradle
    • RRRR: Reduce, reuse, recycle, rot
    • Up-cycling, down-cycling
  5. How viable are these alternatives?
    • These alternatives are extremely viable
    • They are used throughout Europe
  6. How can waste management professionals promote sustainable waste management and use?


REQUIRED READING FOR SESSION TEN (click on Session 10 on left side to access reading)

  1. Alternative Urban Futures: Chapter Two
    • Solid waste
    • Environmental and social aspects of conventional solid waste disposal approaches
      • Open pit dumping and burning
      • Landfills
      • Sanitary landfills
      • Incineration
    • Sustainable solid waste management and planning
      • Creating a sustainable materials economy
      • Materials management and resource recognition
        • Pollution prevention and producer responsibility
      • Waste disposal taxes and refund deposit strategies
      • Subsidies and incentives
      • Reprocessing/ Materials exchange
      • Household and small business waste reduction and recycling
      • Household waste collection in informal settlements
      • Individual recycled material collectors
    • A cautionary word about recycling
      • Reducing organic waste accumulation: composting



  1. Story of Stuff –
    • Resource economy is a linear process with many open loops, therefore not sustainable.
    • 1/3 of our initial natural resources are now gone.
    • Less than 4% of natural forests remain in the US.
    • 5% of the word’s population lives in the US
      • US uses 30% of the world’s resources
      • US creates 30% of the world’s waste
    • 80% of the planets forests are now gone
    • 75% of fisheries are fished over their capacity
    • Distribution: Keep price down, keep people buying, keep inventory moving
    • Externalized cost: the real cost are not how much we buy it. people in extraction use their natural resources to pay
    • Consumption(golden key.) they have designed to make consumers buy more
      • Planned obsolescence: products designed to fail so you have to buy a new one
      • Perceived obsolescence: New products designed to look new; creating social pressure for others to buy new things
      • Extraction, Production, Distribution all work for this
    • National happiness is going down while consumption is going up
    • We have less leisure time than at any point since feudal society
    • Disposal: They burn the garbage you make and pollute to the air
    • Recycling is good
      • Reduces waste and reduces inputs
      • Much of the garbage can’t be recycled because it’s toxic or it’s designed to be impossible to recycle (ie tetra-packs)
    • One can of trash in front of your house means 71 cans of trash upstream in order to make the stuff in your one can of trash
  2. Impact of Mining Activities in Africa and the Anthropocene, Against the Grain 10/23/18



  1. Go to “What a Waste: Solid Waste Management to 2050″
  2. Read the report 
  3. Choose 3 case studies from the report (see list below) and be prepared to discuss them in class  


Case Studies

  1. A Path to Zero Waste in San Francisco, United States 141
  2. Achieving Financial Sustainability in Argentina and Colombia 143
  3. Automated Waste Collection in Israel 147
  4. Cooperation between National and Local Governments for Municipal Waste Management in Japan 148
  5. Central Reforms to Stabilize the Waste Sector and Engage the Private Sector in Senegal 151
  6. Decentralized Organic Waste Management by Households in Burkina Faso 152
  7. Eco-Lef: A Successful Plastic Recycling System in Tunisia 153
  8. Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes in Europe 155
  9. Financially Resilient Deposit Refund System: The Case of the Bottle Recycling Program in Palau 158
  10. Contents of What a Waste 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050 vii
  11. Improving Waste Collection by Partnering with the Informal Sector in Pune, India 161
  12. Improving Waste Management through Citizen Communication in Toronto, Canada 163
  13. Managing Disaster Waste 165
  14. Minimizing Food Loss and Waste in Mexico 167
  15. Sustainable Source Separation in Panaji, India 170 15. Musical Garbage Trucks in Taiwan, China 173
  16. The Global Tragedy of Marine Litter 174
  17. Using Information Management to Reduce Waste in Korea

USP 515 Session 9 Notes

October 19th and 21st
Session Nine: Research and Measurement Issues
In this session we examine the role of research and research methods in helping us understand environmental justice issues and impacts. We will address the following questions:


General Research Questions 

  1. What is research?
    • Looking for answers to questions
    • The careful, thoughtful study of phenomena using information
  2. What is empirical research?
    • Research based on information
  3. What is quantitative research?
    • Looking at measurable, quantifiable factors to answer questions
  4. What is qualitative research?
    • Looking at case studies and stories to answer questions
  5. What is community-based research?
    • Research that is done in the community
  6. What is community-based participatory research? CBPR

    • Research that includes the community in the planning and execution of the research.
  7. Who is in charge of community-based research?
  8. What is the Belmont Report? How did it establish principles for the use of human subjects in scientific research in 1979?
  9. What is an institutional review board? IRB

    • A board within an institution which decides whether the institution will approve the methodology and results of a particular research project.
  10. Why are institutional review boards resistant to approving community-based research?


Health Disparities Research

  1. What do we mean by health disparities?
    • Health disparities are the differences in health impact we see in populations with different demographic makeup, arising from the systemic denial of wealth, power, agency, and the accompanying access to healthcare, education, and protection from environmental harms.
    • Factors
      • Education
      • Wealth
      • Race
      • Gender
      • Age
    • Internalized oppression
      • Stereotype threat and standards of care
      • Stereotype lift and standards of care
    • Distrust of institutions
    • Stress (taruma, hypervigilance, environmental, internal, external, circumstantial, etc.)
    • Access to resources: food deserts, food swamps
    • Pre-existing conditions
    • Geographic factors
    • Occupation
    • Support from family/household
    • ZIP code
  2. What do we mean by the terms “race” and “ethnicity”?
    • Ethnicity is the historical sociocultural background of a particular group of people, including customs, language, ideas, traditions, etc.
    • Race is a concept created by fascist eugenicists to segregate people into artificial classification systems based on their purported membership in pseudoscientific racial populations.
  3. What do we know about the relationship between race, ethnicity and health disparities?
    • Race and ethnicity are among the most significant determinants of health because health resources are systematically denied to nonwhite populations and those which do not conform to white cultural norms.
  4. What is meant by the concept “culturally equivalent measures?
    • When we measure disparities, we must take into account confounding variables like markers of susceptibility, access to resources, exposure to harms, and any relevant cultural connotations and vernacular differences with the terms involved which may lead to reporting different answers.
      • For example people in Puerto Rico were asked for the first time to report their race in a recent government survey. Almost everyone marked “White” despite almost no one in Puerto Rico being white. This has been attributed to a lack of understanding of the basis of the question and the meaning of the terms in the cultural context of the region.
  5. What is “cultural bias”?
    • Cultural bias is assuming everyone else is like you, and failing to account for confounding variables which will distort the results of research.
    • Assumptions about knowledge
    • Product design
    • Research
    • Cultural dominance – expectations of presentation and behavior
    • particular preferences
  6. What is “cultural bias in measures”?
    • Assuming that research concepts in your methodology are understood the same way in different vernaculars means you will fail to control for the variable of ethnic vernaculars.
  7. What is meant by “cultural homogeneity” and why is it a problem?
    • Ignoring the demographic differences in a sample population means failing to control for significant confounding variables, and it masks the significance of those third factors.


Biomarkers Questions

  1. Why is it important to focus on research and measurement issues as we seek to understand, document and confront environmental injustice?
    • We need to document and understand the problem for two reasons. First, as a prerequisite for articulating solutions to the problems.
    • Second as a longitudinal indicator of progress.
  2. What is meant by the term “biomarkers”?
    • Biomarkers are indicators of exposure to environmental toxins. These can be found in the blood or the medical history of a subject.
  3. Are biomarkers an accurate tool?
    • Biomarkers accurately reflect the exposure to environmental toxins in the sample group. A well constructed sample will accurately reflect the exposure to environmental toxins in the larger population.
  4. How can we document exposure to toxins?
    • By using blood tests and other research methods to conduct population samples looking for biomarkers and then extrapolating conclusions about the larger populations.
  5. How can we document unequal protection from harm?
    • By segmenting toxics exposure by demographic factors.
  6. What role can community-based research play in the struggle for environmental justice?
    • Challenging the status-quo of research methods
    • Demanding attention to important issues affecting communities


Molecular Biomarkers Questions

  1. What is a “lulu”?
    • A locally unwanted land use
  2. What is a molecular biomarker?
    • A chemical signature in the blood reflecting exposure to some environmental factor
  3. What do each of the concepts below refer to?
    • Markers of exposure
      • A chemical signature left in the body which reflects that a person was exposed to some environmental toxin
    • Markers of effect
      • A person who has been exposed to environmental toxins may show symptoms or side effects like cancer, asthma, diabetes, etc.
      • Lead poisoning for example leads to decreased cognitive function.
      • Exposure to air pollution leads to asthma and higher covid mortality rates.
    • Markers of susceptibility
      • These can be cause by exposure to environmental toxins, and they can exacerbate the effects of future exposure. Asthma is a good example.
    • Ethics – Weighing potential benefits as well as harms
      • Ethics is the study of moral values; an ethical claim is anything that answers the question, “What ought one to do?”
    • Informed consent
      • In this context, people should know what they are signing up for when they participate in this kind of research, and they should be informed about the results they recieve back.


ASSIGNED READING FOR SESSION NINE (click on session 9 on left to access reading) 

  1. When It Comes to Racial Wealth Gap, Structural Racism Always WinsKenrya Rankin;  Colorlines, February 8, 2017
    • There is a huge racial wealth gap
    • For centuries white households have enjoyed wealth-building opportunities that were systematically denied to BIPOC
    • Modern policies continue to impede BIPOC from acquiring wealth equal to white households
  2. Molecular Bio-markers as Measures of Environmental Justice: A Proposed Health Assessment Paradigm — Gragg, Gasana, and Christaldi
    • Environmental equity and justice is a debate about everyone having equal access to environmental protection.
    • The purpose of this article is to review and assess the current methodologies for measuring environmental justice and put forth an argument for a new health-based measurement paradigm.
      • Use the relatively new approach of molecular epidemiology designed to incorporate human dosimetry data into environmental epidemiological studies.
    • An environmental contaminant is any chemical or substance, introduced by human activity, which has been associated with an adverse health effect in laboratory animal experiments or in studies of the human populations.
    • Article’s definition of environmental justice: Equal administration of environmental protection to all.
    • (Some discussion of the history of the unjust distribution of lulus and the EJ movement)
    • Classes of biomarkers
      1. Markers of exposure: radiation, chemical burns, etc
      2. Markers of effect: cancer, etc.
      3. Markers of susceptibility: asthma, sickle cell, diabetes, etc.
    • Blood tests and other methods can reveal these markers in populations
  3. Reporting individual results for biominotoring and environmental exposures: lessons learned from environmental communication case studies — Brody, Dunagan, et al
    • In 1999, Cape Cod, MA, women generously opened their doors to Silent Spring Institute researchers to conduct a study of household exposures to 89 endocrine disrupting compounds
    • Their questions raised difficult issues about whether and how to report individual results.
    • Over the last several years, other researchers have similarly offered participants their own results, and this practice is slowly becoming the norm rather than the exception.
    • As a starting point for ethical considerations, the 1979 Belmont Report, which established the basic ethical framework for modern biomedical research in the U.S., calls on researchers to avoid harm and maximize beneficence, autonomy, and justice
    • The decision about whether to receive results can be integrated into informed consent as a logical extension of this practice, which arose after past ethical abuses led to requirements for researchers to inform participants about the research protocol and its risks and benefits. Informed consent provides an early opportunity to set expectations about what participants will and won’t be able to learn from their results and ask about their choice.
    • These results are not designed for medical use and the information you receive may not suggest any actions you can take to reduce your health risk or exposure to these compounds… personal exposure reports should answer these basic questions: What did you find? How much? Where did it come from? Is it safe? What should I do?
    • Researchers and IRBs have often speculated that reporting to people on their own chemical exposures might be harmful, because results could generate excessive worry when the health effects and remedies are unclear. However, study participants generally want their results, and studies that have reported individual results along with comparative benchmarks and interpretive context find that participants benefited by learning a great deal about environmental health. They were able to understand results without undue alarm and began to consider possible exposure reduction strategies. In addition, the human research ethics principles of beneficence and autonomy and the additional perspectives of CBPR favor a “research right-to-know.” Researchers benefit from strengthened relationships with participants and new opportunities for scientific insight. Taken together, ethical principles and empirical observations suggest that individual report-back should become standard practice in most studies. Studies that have implemented individual report-back provide guidance for researchers and IRBs to adopt report-back practices that respond to the particular community context of research and help individuals understand the meaning of their results.
  4. Measurement Issues in Health Disparities Research; Health Research and Educational Trust — Ramirez, Ford, et al
    • Substantial differences related to physical health and mental health outcomes have been observed across different ethnic/racial groups
    • Measurement error can occur both through cross-cultural differences in the interpretations of the meaning of concepts and of items used to measure constructs
    • Cultural and idiomatic nuances can potentially exist within populations even though they share the same language
    • Measurement error might lead to biased results, and to biased estimates of prevalence and of the magnitude of risk factors, and therefore for the development of public policies and service delivery
    • failure to account for inter- and intrarace variation creates
      problems for health care providers and/or program designers who often rely on research data as a basis for their decision making. Thus, there is a growing demand for the validation of existing measures using samples of minority group members, and for establishing the cross-ethnic equivalence of health related assessment tools
    • Measurement equivalence in the context of cross-cultural research requires attention to both conceptual and metric equivalence.
    • Within the research community, racial and ethnic measurement bias has been identified by some as a methodological issue requiring careful examination
    • Qualitative studies can be used to assess the conceptual equivalence of existing measures
    • As research increasingly takes into account, and begins to focus on differences across diverse subgroups, issues of measurement comparability among these groups are paramount. Design and sampling issues must be considered carefully as they have bearings on the adequacy and generalizability of the compared population estimates.
    • Investigators performing comparative studies face the challenge of addressing measurement equivalence, crucial for obtaining accurate results in cross-cultural comparisons.
  5. Institutional review board challenges related to community-based participatory research on human exposure to environmental toxins: A case study — Brown, Morello-Frosch, et al
    • In 1979 the Belmont Report established principles for the use of human subjects in scientific research.
    • Developed partly in response to the Tuskegee syphilis study, Belmont identified three basic principles governing the ethical use of human research subjects.
      1. “respect for persons,” stressed that an individual’s decision to become a research participant must be voluntary, and called for special protection for those who lacked the capacity to make such a decision themselves
      2. “beneficence,” called on researchers to “do no harm” or barring that, to maximize the benefits of their research while reducing as much as possible the risk to the subject
      3. “justice” required careful attention to the fair distribution of risks and benefits, calling on researchers to select subjects only “for reasons directly related to the problem being studied” and to vigilantly avoid the selection of subjects for “their easy availability, their compromised position, or their manipulability.” Justice also required that those who bear the risks of research should, whenever possible, be among the first to benefit from its insights
    • Major institutional barriers exist in the way of important community based research. The following changes are suggested.
      1. Educate institutional review boards about the objectives and methods of community based researchers.
      2. Make sure academic IRBs known CBRs
      3. IRBs need to keep informed on CBRs and other cutting edge research approaches
      4. IRBs need to develop routing procedures for the review of CBR projects
      5. Provide clear guidance and tools for navigating IRB issues unique to academic-community collaboratives
      6. Regulate any conflicts of interest that IRBs may bring to the review process
      7. Reassess how IRBs oversee situations in which participants desire access to and disclosure of their own study results
      8. Encourage CBR and partners to educate IRBs about flexibility in regulations
      9. IRBs need to make a habit of working with CBRs and tribal IRBs
    • CBPR researchers report that IRBs are not generally attuned to their particular needs, due to their emphasis on individual consent that is based on a clinical model and their lack of understanding about the importance of community-level consent and the need to share individual data with participants.
    • In short, the very CBPR practices that concern many IRBs are exactly those that make community-engaged work so valuable for researching and addressing environmental justice issues.
    • IRBs will need to go beyond simply modifying traditional oversight procedures to fundamentally incorporating how CBPR ethics redefines the research enterprise itself, including researcher-participant relationships, academic-community interaction, and the right-to-know about chemicals in people’s environments, homes, and bodies



Find an article that focuses on how research is used to talk about a social, environmental, or public health problem. After reading the article, answer each of the questions below and be prepared to discuss this article in class.

  1. What is the main focus of the article?
  2. What are they trying to understand?
  3. What research methods were used?
  4. Where did the data come from? 
  5. How did they analyze the data?
  6. What did they learn from the analysis?
  7. How was the research used by policy makers?
  8. What did you learn about research and measurement from this article and research? 

Other Notes

  • We went to watch a sunrise movement talk.

USP 515 Session 8 Notes

October 12th and 14th 
Session Eight: The Environmental Justice Movement
In this session we will examine the origins and development of the EJ movement.

Class Discussion

  • We talked a lot about mushrooms
    • Maria Sabina
    • Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia
    • Fantastic Fungi
    • Professor talked about the Stoned Ape Hypothesis
  • Mainstream environmental movement
    • Passed more bills than any other social movement, yet has not achieved its goals
      • Gay movement got gay marriage with fewer successful bills
    • Every decade, the problems get worse
      • Air, water, and land are getting more contaminated every year
    • Mainstream environmental land conservation efforts often lead to ecological chaos and desertification
  • Letter published by conference of top environmental organizations
    • Organizations
      • National Wildlife Fund
      • National resource defense council
      • Ocean Conservatory
      • Rainforest Alliance
      • Audubon Society
      • Green Peace
      • Sierra Club
    • Letter accused these organizations of being environmentally racist
      • Staff is rich, white, and educated
      • Focus is on natural environment instead of cities, rural areas, industries, etc
      • Policy advocacy was not focused on issues affecting BIPOC and urban poor
      • Demands
        • Diversify staff and boards
        • Stop using poor black kids to fundraise only to protect the rainforests of Costa Rica; protect those kids and their environments too.
      •  Only Green Peace responded and accepted the demands.
    • How to respond to malthusian ecofascists like the Sierra Club
      • Talk about the big problems
      • Talk about the small problems
      • Move away from industrial ag
        • Distribute production
      • There is a distinction between ecofascists and those who hold views in common with them.
      • Start with articulating the problem descriptions which we agree on, and use those agreements to advocate for fundamental changes instead of incrementalism and nationalist social-darwinism.


For Session Eight, find a song that focuses on an environmental issue and bring the lyrics to the song to class. Be able to access the song so we can listen to it in class. 

Discussion Questions

  1. According to Bullard, how does institutional racism impact planning and policy?
  2. According to Bullard, which communities and groups face some of the worst devastation in the U.S and why?
  3. What does the term “toxic colonialism” mean and what are some examples of toxic colonialism?
    • Dumping our toxic waste
  4. From your perspective, what questions are central to the environmental justice movement?
  5. What are the five predictions of distribution in which race is found to be an independent factor?


ASSIGNED READING FOR SESSION EIGHT (click on session 8 on left to access reading) 

  1. Anatomy of Environmental Racism and the Environmental Justice Movement –Bullard
    • Companies use tax breaks to source LULUs in sacrifice zones under the guise of creating local jobs, but those jobs generally go to colonists, while the sacrifice zone gets stuck with the toxic externalities.
    • The government dumped nuclear waste on native reservations
    • “the dominant environmental protection model places communities of color at special risk. The dominant paradigm reinforces instead of challenges the stratification of people (race, ethnicity, status, power, etc.), place (central cities, suburbs, rural areas, unincorporated areas, Native American reservations, etc.) and work (i.e., office workers are afforded greater protection than farm workers). The dominant paradigm exists to manage, regulate and distribute risks. As a result, the current system has institutionalized unequal enforcement, traded human health for profit, placed the burden of proof on the “victims” and not the polluting industry, legitimated human exposure to harmful chemicals, pesticides, and hazardous substances, promoted “risky” technologies such as incinerators, exploited the vulnerability of economically and politically disenfranchised communities, subsidized ecological destruction, created an industry around risk assessment, delayed cleanup actions and failed to develop pollution prevention as the overarching and dominant strategy.”
    • Equity is distilled into three broad categories
      • Procedural: the fairness question, the extent that rules, regulations, and selection criteria are applied uniformly and in a nondiscriminatory way.
      • Geographic: equity in space, spatial proximity to hazards.
      • Social Equity: since bipoc communities have born the brunt of LULUs up to this point, they should not share in more LULUs until other communities reach parity with them.
  2. Is there a global environmental justice movement? — Martinez-Alier, Temper, et al.
  3. Everything You Need to Know about the Environmental Justice Movement – Robert Bullard
    • The environmental justice movement has basically redefined what environmentalism is all about. It basically says that the environment is everything: where we live, work, play, go to school, as well as the physical and natural world.
      • And so we can’t separate the physical environment from the cultural environment. We have to talk about making sure that justice is integrated throughout all of the stuff that we do.
    • trying to address all of the inequities that result from human settlement, industrial facility siting and industrial development
    • a lot of the small grassroots groups operate from a bottom up model. They don’t have boards of directors and large budgets and large staffs but they do operate with the idea that everyone has a role and we are all equal in this together.
    • we have to work in our communities and take care of educating and empowering our people
    • we have to educate ourselves and learn about each other. We have to cross those boundaries and go on the other side of the tracks, go to the meetings downtown and learn from each other.
    • in 1991 we had the first national people of color environmental leadership summit and we developed 17 principles of environmental justice.
    • Race is still the potent factor for predicting where Locally Unwanted Land Uses (LULUs) go
      • A lot of people say its class, but race and class are intertwined
    • Environmental justice is not a social program, it’s not affirmative actions, its about justice. and until we get justice in environmental protection, justice in terms of enforcement of regulations, we will not even talk about achieving sustainable development or sustainability issues until we talk about justice.
    • what we’ve seen is a better understanding of the various sides that are there, the various elements, the various components and priorities that are there.
    • In your geography course, in your social studies course, or science course make sure you integrate this into it, and have videos that you can show, but ultimately the best example that you can have is that young people visit these places and see for themselves what nature is.
      • Traditional environmental education is to basically do it by the numbers the way it’s been done for the last 50 years and thats not working. It’s not working for our communities.
    • immigration is not the problem in terms of environmental degradation. If we talk about having no borders and addressing issues of economic justice–we can address lots of the environmental injustices around the world. If we talk about respecting life and respecting people and respecting communities, if we do that we can end a lot of the international friction that results from transboundary waste trades, and imbalances created as a result of NAFTA
    • The year 2050 is supposed to be the magic year when people of color will be in the majority in this country. But at one point in time this country was people of color, it was indigenous people. So when we talk about these issues, we have to put them in the context of the long term.
      • We need to address things within US borders but at the same time we cannot export problems abroad and create problems in areas that we know do not have the capacity to handle garbage and environmental waste and the risky technologies that are being exported and the unsustainable development policies that are being exported abroad, most of it by our government.
      • So I think that environmental justice folks are saying that we are going to have to work across borders and those ties are already there and it is just a matter of making sure that we strengthen those and we expand and keep reaching out.
    • the environmental justice movement over the last ten years has really matured onto developing policies and issue statements and working on issues ranging from housing, transportation, health to economic development, community revitalization, you name it. I think that the mere fact that we have a number of environmental justice centers around the country now that are working with communities–not organizing communities– but working with, in support of and providing technical assistance and training, we’ve been able to do some things that no thought we could do 10-15 years ago and thats really making a difference when we talk about working across disciplines and geographic, racial and economic spectrums, we’re the most powerful and thats when we are the strongest.
  4. Black Panther Party Principles — Collective Liberation
    1. WE WANT FREEDOM. WE WANT POWER TO DETERMINE THE DESTINY OF OUR BLACK AND OPPRESSED COMMUNITIES. We believe that Black and oppressed people will not be free until we are able to determine our destinies in our own communities ourselves, by fully controlling all the institutions which exist in our communities.
    2. WE WANT FULL EMPLOYMENT FOR OUR PEOPLE. We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every person
      employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the American businessmen will not give full employment, then the technology and means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.
    3. WE WANT AN END TO THE ROBBERY BY THE CAPITALISTS OF OUR BLACK AND OPPRESSED COMMUNITIES. We believe that this racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules were promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of Black people. We will accept the payment in currency which will be distributed to our many communities. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of our fifty million Black people. Therefore, we feel this is a modest demand that we make.
      BEINGS. We believe that if the landlords will not give decent housing to our Black and oppressed communities, then housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that the people in our communities, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for the people.
    5. WE WANT DECENT EDUCATION FOR OUR PEOPLE THAT EXPOSES THE TRUE NATURE OF THIS DECADENT AMERICAN SOCIETY. WE WANT EDUCATION THAT TEACHES US OUR TRUE HISTORY AND OUR ROLE IN THE PRESENT-DAY SOCIETY. We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of the self. If you do not have knowledge of yourself and your position in the society and in the world, then you will have little chance to know anything else.
    6. WE WANT COMPLETELY FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL BLACK AND OPPRESSED PEOPLE. We believe that the government must provide, free of charge, for the people, health facilities which will not only treat our illnesses, most of which have come about as a result of our oppression, but which will also develop preventive medical programs to guarantee our future survival. We believe that mass health education and research programs must be developed to give all Black and oppressed people access to advanced scientific and medical information, so we may provide ourselves with proper medical attention and care.
    7. WE WANT AN IMMEDIATE END TO POLICE BRUTALITY AND MURDER OF BLACK PEOPLE, OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR, ALL OPPRESSED PEOPLE INSIDE THE UNITED STATES. We believe that the racist and fascist government of the United States uses its domestic enforcement agencies to carry out its program of oppression against black people, other people of color and poor people inside the united States. We believe it is our right, therefore, to defend ourselves against such armed forces and that all Black and oppressed people should be armed for self defense of our homes and communities against these fascist police forces.
    8. WE WANT AN IMMEDIATE END TO ALL WARS OF AGGRESSION. We believe that the various conflicts which exist around the world stem directly from the aggressive desire of the United States ruling circle and government to force its domination upon the oppressed people of the world. We believe that if the United States government or its lackeys do not cease these aggressive wars it is the right of the people to defend themselves by any means necessary against their aggressors.
    9. WE WANT FREEDOM FOR ALL BLACK AND OPPRESSED PEOPLE NOW HELD IN U. S. FEDERAL, STATE, COUNTY, CITY AND MILITARY PRISONS AND JAILS. WE WANT TRIALS BY A JURY OF PEERS FOR All PERSONS CHARGED WITH SO-CALLED CRIMES UNDER THE LAWS OF THIS COUNTRY. We believe that the many Black and poor oppressed people now held in United States prisons and jails have not received fair and impartial trials under a racist and fascist judicial system and should be free from incarceration. We believe in the ultimate elimination of all wretched, inhuman penal institutions, because the masses of men and women imprisoned inside the United States or by the United States military are the victims of oppressive conditions which are the real cause of their imprisonment. We believe that when persons are brought to trial they must be guaranteed, by the United States, juries of their peers, attorneys of their choice and freedom from imprisonment while awaiting trial.
    10. WE WANT LAND, BREAD, HOUSING, EDUCATION, CLOTHING,  JUSTICE, PEACE AND PEOPLE’S COMMUNITY CONTROL OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY. When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
  5. Executive Order 3195-01-P – Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice In Minority Populations And Low-Income Populations — Federal Register
    • Created an interagency working group across many federal agencies with the department heads.
    • They were responsible for reporting to the working group about how each agency reduces harms to minority groups and how strategies can be implemented across other groups
    • The departments were required to document how their work was impacting minority communities
    • There were no teeth. There was no obligation to actually do anything about the problems or make any progress on them.
  6. 17 Environmental Justice Principles (from 1991 EJ conference)
    1. Environmental Justice affirms the sacredness of Mother Earth, ecological unity and the interdependence of all species, and the right to be free from ecological destruction.
    2. Environmental Justice demands that public policy be based on mutual respect and justice for all peoples, free from any form of discrimination or bias.
    3. Environmental Justice mandates the right to ethical, balanced and responsible uses of land and renewable resources in the interest of a sustainable planet for humans and other living things.
    4. Environmental Justice calls for universal protection from nuclear testing, extraction, production and disposal of toxic/hazardous wastes and poisons and nuclear testing that threaten the fundamental right to clean air, land, water, and food.
    5. Environmental Justice affirms the fundamental right to political, economic, cultural and environmental self determination of all peoples.
    6. Environmental Justice demands the cessation of the production of all toxins, hazardous wastes, and radioactive materials, and that all past and current producers be held strictly accountable to the people for detoxification and the containment at the point of production.
    7. Environmental Justice demands the right to participate as equal partners at every level of decision making, including needs assessment, planning, implementation, enforcement and evaluation.
    8. Environmental Justice affirms the right of all workers to a safe and healthy work environment without being forced to choose between an unsafe livelihood and unemployment. It also affirms the right of those who work at home to be free from environmental hazards.
    9. Environmental Justice protects the right of victims of environmental injustice to receive full compensation and reparations for damages as well as quality health care.
    10. Environmental Justice considers governmental acts of environmental injustice a violation of international law, the Universal Declaration On Human Rights, and the United Nations Convention on Genocide.
    11. Environmental Justice must recognize a special legal and natural relationship of Native Peoples to the U.S. government through treaties, agreements, compacts, and covenants affirming sovereignty and self-determination.
    12. Environmental Justice affirms the need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature, honoring the cultural integrity of all our communities, and provided fair access for all to the full range of resources.
    13. Environmental Justice calls for the strict enforcement of principles of informed consent, and a halt to the testing of experimental reproductive and medical procedures and vaccinations on people of color.
    14. Environmental Justice opposes the destructive operations of multi-national corporations.
    15. Environmental Justice opposes military occupation, repression and exploitation of lands, peoples and cultures, and other life forms.
    16. Environmental Justice calls for the education of present and future generations which emphasizes social and environmental issues, based on our experience and an appreciation of our diverse cultural perspectives.
    17. Environmental Justice requires that we, as individuals, make personal and consumer choices to consume as little of Mother Earth’s resources and to produce as little waste as possible; and make the conscious decision to challenge and reprioritize our lifestyles to ensure the health of the natural world for present and future generations.
  7. Green 2.0 Report: Beyond Diversity 



Find an article that focuses on how research is used to talk about a social, environmental, or public health problem. After reading the article, answer each of the questions below and be prepared to discuss this article in class.

  1. What is the main focus of the article?
  2. What are they trying to understand?
  3. What research methods were used?
  4. Where did the data come from? 
  5. How did they analyze the data?
  6. What did they learn from the analysis?
  7. How was the research used by policy makers?
  8. What did you learn about research and measurement from this article and research? 



USP 514 Session 9 Notes

October 12th and 14th
Session Nine: Sustainable Urban Water Management
This session will focus on the approaches, policies, and practices that can promote sustainable water management and use.



  1. Write down all the ways in which you used water on the day you did this assignment. Remember to include all of the activities you engaged in, the food you ate, the infrastructures and technologies you relied on. Be prepared to discuss your list in class.
    • Drinking
    • Food
      • Production
      • Distribution
      • Manufacturing
      • Distribution
    • Shower
    • Toilet
  2. Watch the Video: The Future of Water: Dr Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy at TEDxUSF
    • Dr Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy
    • Sri Lanka Tsunami 2004
    • Hometown badly affected
    • Went back to help them recover; specializing in water and sanitation services
    • Inspired by cultural and spiritual connection with water
      • From Sri Lanka where water is sacred and loved
      • Water service is unreliable
      • People must collect as much water as possible whenever it comes
    • Principled approach to doing more with less as a matter of survival
      • Water reuse: Drinking/Vegetable washing -> clothes -> washing floor -> watering plants
    • Custodial relationship with water
    • Toilets can use water from hand washing to flush
    • Class Takeaway Principles
      1. Doing more with less, every drop is valuable, no water is wasted, all water is reused
      2. Use water as many times as possible
      3. All water is good water, match quality of water with its intent and purpose


Discussion Questions

  1. What are basic characteristics of water as it relates to urban water management issues?
    • Inequitably distributed around the planet
    • Fresh or salinated
    • Fresh water is located
      • On the surface
      • Under the earth in aquifers
    • Once fresh water is salinated, it is no longer fresh
    • Water travels with gravity
    • Water can evaporate
    • Water can evaporate and then precipitate
    • Locations of water
      • 97% is salinated
      • 2% is locked in ice
      • 1% is available as fresh water
    • Water absorbs materials including toxins
  2. What are the impacts of urbanization and industrialization on natural waterways? For example, the cutting down of forests for logging, industrial agriculture, livestock industries, development of urban sewage systems, etc. 
    • Sewage runoff pollutes water
    • Pesticide use contaminates aquifers
    • Changes the flow of water or blocks the flow of water
      • Makes the water inaccessible
        • LA river is concreted
      • Over drilling of wells to
      • Pumped storage causes earthquakes
    • Changing water sources has a negative long-term impact on floodplains, agricultural land, flora, and fauna
    • Creates dead zones
    • Salinate fresh water
    • Increase the price of water
    • Fracking causes earthquakes
    • Sinkholes are created when aquifers are drained
      • I did not know that once aquifers are depleted by hydraulic pumping, they collapse and then they are not able to be filled again. The water capacity of the aquifer drops by half or more.
    • Deprive populations of their access to water
    • We fight wars about water
      • Turkey vs Greece
      • Israel vs Palestine
      • US vs Mexico
  3. How can we increase efficiency and conservation of water?
  4. What alternative water management systems and technologies are available to deal with commercial water use and sewage?
    • Treatment plants
    • Closed loops
  5. What can we learn from existing examples (case studies) of sustainable water management?
  6. What would a sustainable water management strategy look like?
    • We have to stop industrial agrculture
  7. How can water professionals promote sustainable water management and use?



    1. Alternative Urban Futures: Chapter One
    2. The Human Right to Water, at Last 
      • One of these global failures was the failure to acknowledge a formal human right to water.
        • There is a formal international human right to life, to human health, to an adequate standard of living, to adequate food, and more. But until a few weeks ago, there was no formal human right to water.
      • On September 24th, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted a binding resolution that, “Affirms that the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation is derived from the right to an adequate standard of living and inextricably related to the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as well as the right to life and human dignity”
      • Here are four reasons why it is a good idea:
        1. Acknowledging such a right will encourage the international community and individual governments to renew their efforts to meet basic human needs for water for their populations.
        2. By acknowledging such a right, pressures to translate that right into specific national and international legal obligations and responsibilities are much more likely to occur.
        3. This clear declaration will help maintain a spotlight of attention on the deplorable state of water management in many parts of the world.
        4. Finally, explicitly acknowledging a human right to water can help set specific priorities for water policy, which is often fragmented, uncoordinated, and focused on providing more water for some people, rather than some water for all people.
      • What is needed now is to develop appropriate tools and mechanisms to achieve progressively the full realization of these rights, including appropriate legislation, comprehensive plans and strategies for the water sector, and financial approaches.
      • I do not think that finally meeting basic needs for water and sanitation will occur just because there is finally a clear acceptance of a legal human right to water and rules for what governments must do to progressively realize those rights.
    3. Water Privatization: The case against
      • Everyone should have access to water. South Africa’s Bill of Rights states that every citizen has a right to water.
      • Privatisation poses a threat to that commitment because once privatised, water will no longer be provided on the basis of need but on the ability to pay
      • Many poor people in South Africa simply cannot afford to pay for water.
      • Privatised water means less democratic control. Privatisation removes water from public control thus robbing citizens of their democratic say over how this important resource is used.
      • Job losses and attacks on worker rights also accompany privatization.
      • Private companies will not take over water systems serving poorer communities living far from city centers and water pipes.
      • They always choose the most profitable and thus pick the juiciest cherry leaving the local public authorities to carry the burden of the poor while they laugh all the way to the bank.


    Case Studies

    1. A Path to Zero Waste in San Francisco, United States 141
      • prohibited the use of styrofoam and polystyrene foam in food service (2006)
      • required mandatory recycling for construction debris (2007),
      • banned plastic bags in drugstores and supermarkets (2009),
      • implemented mandatory recycling and composting for both residents and businesses (2009).
      • banned the sale of plastic water bottles in 2014
      • introduced the first and largest urban food waste composting collection program in the United States, covering both the commercial and residential sectors
      • achieved nearly 80 percent waste diversion in 2012—the highest rate of any major city in the United States
    2. Achieving Financial Sustainability in Argentina and Colombia 143
      • Argentina
        • quantified the total cost of its waste system to improve long-term sustainability
        • Under the World Bank–financed Integrated Solid Waste Management Project, the Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development (SAyDS)1 developed a tool known as the Integrated Urban Solid Waste Management Economic and Financial Matrix
          • This tool helps municipalities understand the real costs of services and value of investments
          • analyzes each stage of the solid waste management value chain, identifies the proportion of costs recovered by fees, and identifies ways to reallocate budget resources to improve financial sustainability
      • Columbia
        • established a national methodology for determining the maximum service fee that local service providers can charge to users
        • developed a formula that accounts for all costs in every step of the solid waste management system, including urban cleaning and sweeping, collection and transfer, final disposal, leachate management, and recycling
        • Colombia’s success in cost recovery through accounting, legal infrastructure, and institutional commitment can be replicated and adapted to other Latin American countries and regions around the world
    3. Automated Waste Collection in Israel 147
      • Neot Rabin houses the country’s first pneumatic waste collection system, which is also known as an automated vacuum collection (AVAC) system
      • Buildings with AVAC systems use a network of underground pipes to connect each residential unit with a centralized garbage storage unit
      • Garbage placed in these chutes is automatically directed to an underground storage unit
      • Once a week, waste from residential buildings is pumped or vacuumed through a pipe at speeds of between 50 and 80 kilometers per hour to an aggregated storage center
      • waste is transferred to containers that are removed by truck and transported to final disposal sites.
      • AVAC has certain limitations, such as the high initial investment required for establishing the system, operational difficulties when pipes are blocked, workforce training, public willingness to engage in separate disposal, and challenges to collection of bulky and electronic waste
    4. Cooperation between National and Local Governments for Municipal Waste Management in Japan 148
    5. Central Reforms to Stabilize the Waste Sector and Engage the Private Sector in Senegal 151
    6. Decentralized Organic Waste Management by Households in Burkina Faso 152
    7. Eco-Lef: A Successful Plastic Recycling System in Tunisia 153
    8. Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes in Europe 155
    9. Financially Resilient Deposit Refund System: The Case of the Bottle Recycling Program in Palau 158
    10. Contents of What a Waste 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050 vii
    11. Improving Waste Collection by Partnering with the Informal Sector in Pune, India 161
    12. Improving Waste Management through Citizen Communication in Toronto, Canada 163
    13. Managing Disaster Waste 165
    14. Minimizing Food Loss and Waste in Mexico 167
    15. Sustainable Source Separation in Panaji, India 170 15. Musical Garbage Trucks in Taiwan, China 173
    16. The Global Tragedy of Marine Litter 174
    17. Using Information Management to Reduce Waste in Korea

    Class Notes

    • Colonialism and capitalism work together throughout history to allow wealthy and powerful nations to interfere in the internal development of other nations.
      • Water infrastructure development is one exception which usually stays in the area in which it is being developed
    • Example: China in Africa is responsible for most infrastructure development outside of South Africa
      • Extracting and exploiting resources for the benefit of China, and sometimes for local countries
      • China uses its own laborers rather than local laborers to do infrastructure development in Africa
        • This is one major source of new employment in China
        • It also means countries in Africa do not get to develop these technical workforces. Despite having modern infrastructure, they are not themselves able to build and maintain that infrastructure.
    • Civil engineering is designed as the art of redirecting the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man – commanding and controlling nature for the benefit of man.
    • Trade and tariff 1990s timeline
      • 1993 EU formed to collectively match economic power of the US
      • 1994 NAFTA formed to increase power of US by incorporating Mexico & Canada
      • 1995 WTO formed as a world court within the UN at the behest of the US to make decisions about international trade agreements.
    • Technologies are not approaches
      • A rainwater catchment system is a technology, not an approach
      • Solar panels are a technology, not an approach
        • Water reuse is an approach
      • Geothermal is a technology, not an approach
        • Renewable energy is an approach
      • Technologies are not necessarily solutions if they are not implemented as part of a larger framework intended to solve the problem.
    • Approaches
      • => Management strategies
        • => Processes: how to put management strategy into practice
          • => Technologies
    Approaches Management Strategies Processes/ Implementation Technologies
    Sustainability Renewable Power PACE Districts Photovoltaics
    Privatization Structural adjustment Selling off natural resources to corporations Logging
    • Unsustainable water approach
      • Water is an abundant resource
      • Water is renewable
      • Water is a commodity, not a human right
      • Climate change does not affect the water cycle
      • It’s ok to pollute water
      • Pricing allows us to incentivize certain processes
        • Desalination rather than conserving the limited supply of water
    • Sustainable water approach
      • Water is a limited resources
      • Water is not renewable
      • Water should be a human right
      • It’s not ok to pollute water
      • Climate change does affect the water cycle
    • EEE/PPP don’t talk about the economic system
      • Whereas sustainable and unsustainable development both operate within a capitalist framework.
        • Chicago school of economics
        • Neoliberalism



    1. Go to “What a Waste: Solid Waste Management to 2050″
    2. Read the report 
    3. Choose 3 case studies from the report (see list above) and be prepared to discuss them in class  


    Fighting Covid as Systemic Violence

    CJ Trowbridge


    USP 515 Environmental Justice

    Fighting Covid as Systemic Violence

    Groups of people are not equal. Groups share unequal burdens which can limit their opportunity and resources while also increasing their exposure to harm. I will explore the unequal air pollution burden imposed on some groups, and the knock-on effects which lead to disparate covid impacts. I will then connect the efforts being made to solve the problem with what I see as the likely solution we will eventually reach.

    It has been said that while covid does not see systemic injustices like racism, it does expose racism and other forms of systemic injustice in the world. (Woodruff) This is because there are many factors which contribute to elevated covid risk, and almost all of these factors are not distributed evenly among groups of people. For example, particulate matter in the air from things like road pollution leads to a dramatically increased risk of death from covid for people who live in polluted neighborhoods. (Wu)

    When we see the AQI reported for smoke from wildfires, we are usually seeing the number of micrograms per cubic meter of particulates with a size of 2.5 microns. This number is called the PM2.5 and it also comes from things like vehicle exhaust. (EPA) Research by X Wu at Harvard this year found that an increase of just one microgram per cubic meter leads to an 8% increase in the risk of death from covid. (Wu)

    Let’s look at a concrete example. There are two major freeways which run parallel across the city of Oakland. One of them passes through rich white neighborhoods in the Oakland hills. The other passes through poorer Black and Latino neighborhoods in the lowlands. About half a century ago, the rich white neighborhoods in the Oakland hills “temporarily” banned truck traffic on the freeway that goes through those neighborhoods. This ban has since been made permanent. (Pimentel) The effect of this ban is that all the freight trucks have to drive instead through the poorer black neighborhoods. This creates extreme differences in pollution between black and white neighborhoods in Oakland. As a direct result, according to the attached report from the Alameda County Department of Public Health, the average black person in Oakland is thirty times more likely to have a respiratory disorder than the average white person. The report also found that the average black person lives fourteen years less than the average white person because of these and other environmental disparities imposed on black communities. This is a clear example of protection from harm; wealthy white communities recognize the threat posed by air pollution and choose to shift that threat to poorer black communities. This protects white people at the direct expense of black people. This is systemic violence.

    With this historical backdrop and the evidence for a clear connection between air pollution and increased risk from covid, it should come as no surprise that we are seeing stark differences today in the covid outcomes of black and white people. A recent report from the California Department of Public Health showed that black people were hospitalized for covid at about 250% the rate of non-Hispanic whites. (Crowley) The report also showed that while black people make up just six percent of California’s population, they account for 11% of the deaths from covid. (Crowley) This already high death rate has gotten much worse in the last few months since the report was published, with current accounts of the black covid death rate reaching as high as 600% versus non-Hispanic white. (Tsai)

    In the words of Scientific American’s Jennifer Tsai, “Covid 19’s disparate impacts are not a story about race. They’re a story about racism.” This situation didn’t happen on accident or for unknown reasons. Wealthy white communities made a deliberate choice to shift harms onto black communities and treat them as sacrifice zones. This practice of moving harms onto less powerful communities is called toxic colonialism. We have centuries of examples throughout American and global history of this same pattern playing out. It’s not just air pollution that leads to these disparate impacts for black people; it’s the legacy of slavery, it’s the imposition of hundreds of years of generational poverty, the lack of access to healthcare, the lack of access to nutritious foods, the exposure to systemic violence and many other things which work together to produce these outcomes. (Tamene) We also have to think about toxic waste dumping sites. Black parts of Oakland have 400% more toxic chemical release sites than white parts of Oakland. These pollute the air, the ground, and the water. (Alameda County Department of Public Health) Furthermore, black people are not the only group impacted by these issues. There are countless marginalized groups being exposed to the same hazards and seeing similar disparate covid outcomes from Indigenous people to Hispanic people. (Tamene)

    The solution to these problems seems two-fold. We should ameliorate these impacts while also eliminating the causes. On the one hand, we need to give access to healthcare, nutritious food, and the other determinants of health which the impacted communities lack. On the other hand, we must eliminate the hazards being imposed on them by those communities which see better outcomes as a result. If freight traffic is too hazardous for Piedmont; then it’s too hazardous for West Oakland. Bans on environmental hazards should extend to marginalized communities whenever they are imposed by privileged communities. Choosing to shift your own risks onto others makes you culpable for that impact. This conclusion is a traditional liberal perspective on this issue. I think this argument has failed.

    While the argument holds true in theory, in practice it doesn’t leave any effective means of actually accomplishing what it sets out to accomplish. The problem is that you can’t force racist white people to share in the burdens they have already succeeded in shifting onto your neighborhood, and you can’t force them to take responsibility for the outcomes. A progressive solution must be more aggressive. The cost of doing the wrong thing must be high. The actuarial perspective is a powerful force. It seems to me that this is a major theme in the activism we’ve seen across the country this year. Police violence is one form of systemic violence against black communities, but air pollution is another form of systemic violence perpetrated on black communities with a more hidden but more significant impact. This realization seems to be coming into the zeitgeist in a new way this year.

    The fact that black neighborhoods are treated as dumping grounds for toxic waste and other forms of systemic violence cries out for a vigorous and urgent reaction. It is perhaps no coincidence then that the Black Panthers started in one of the most polluted sacrifice zones in Oakland. Many of the groups which were targeted for dismantling and assassinations by the FBI COINTENPRO program such as the Black Panthers have since transformed into nonhierarchical non-dismantlable organizations united only by a loose set of principles and the desire to demand change through direct action. I think we will continue to see this trend grow and resist systemic violence in our community as a result of the increased risk of covid.

    On the one hand, as we saw from Jennifer Tsai in the Scientific American article, covid exposes racism in the system. I propose that it also throws gasoline on the fire, accelerating the process by which the people recognize and articulate the threat they are under and stand up to demand change. We are seeing a huge increase in deaths and harms, but we are also seeing a huge increase in activism, community organizing, and community engagement under the new non-hierarchical, mutualist model. The nascent model of contemporary activism is itself an argument about how our communities should change to reflect a new sense of anti-kyriarchal interdependence and an end to toxic colonialism as a tool of systemic violence.



    Works Cited

    Alameda County Public Health Department. “East and West Oakland Health Data Existing Cumulative Health Impacts.” Published 03-09-2015.

    Crowley, K. (2020, April 17). African-American COVID-19 deaths ‘disproportionately’ high in California. Retrieved October 11, 2020, from

    EPA. Particulate Matter (PM) Basics. (2020, October 01). Retrieved October 11, 2020, from

    Ford, T., Reber, S., & Reeves, R. (2020, June 17). Race gaps in COVID-19 deaths are even bigger than they appear. Retrieved October 11, 2020, from

    Pimentel, B. (2012, August 06). Ban on Trucks Made Permanent on I-580. Retrieved October 11, 2020, from

    Tsai, J. (2020, September 08). COVID-19’s Disparate Impacts Are Not a Story about Race. Scientific American. Retrieved October 11, 2020, from

    Tamene, M. (2020, September 15). Why Black, Indigenous and Other People of Color Experience Greater Harm During the Pandemic. Retrieved October 11, 2020, from

    Woodruff, J. (2020, April 02). COVID-19 may not discriminate based on race — but U.S. health care does. Retrieved October 11, 2020, from

    Wu, X., Nethery, R. C., Sabath, M. B., Braun, D. and Dominici, F., 2020. “Air pollution and COVID-19 mortality in the United States: Strengths and limitations of an ecological regression analysis.” Science advances6, p.eabd4049.

    Outbound Flight by Timothy Zahn (Thrawn 0)

    How to describe how this book fits into the story of Thrawn? So this was the first Thrawn book which was published. I became aware of it after I finished the first Thrawn trilogy. So I’m ironically reading it last, but probably it should come first. There is a special sadness knowing this is the end until more books are published, but it’s a consonant note to end on.

    Outbound Flight

    In terms of the story, this book takes place after book nine and before book six. It’s all out of order and that’s part of the magic. I don’t think there is any correct order to read these books in. Honestly you could shuffle them all into any order and they would be great.

    The whole story is super interconnected and tangled and not linear in any normal way.

    This story ties a lot of loose threads together and fills in a few blanks between many of the storylines and characters from the other books. Particularly C’baoth, Ar’alani, Doriana, and Cardas.

    Spoilers and Theories

    I really don’t know what to make of Ar’alani’s role in this story particularly given Thrass’ role. It low-key seems like Thrawn and Ar’alani are playing Thrass against the syndicure but also it high-key seems like maybe that was not thought out at this point so it will probably be retconned later or something.

    I also found it interesting to see the emphasis on Cardas. He had a very brief role in the third series but like a super lot of back story which tied in with Yoda, so it seems like that will eventually be developed further. I wonder if he will get his own spin-off, though I’d rather see one about Karrde first.

    The whole Doriana/Thrawn thing answers a question I had from book six when Thrawn meets Sidious and Sidious asks him some questions and then he’s like “IT IS YOU!” Like obviously they knew about each other somehow but this explains that.

    Now that the Earth is turning into Tatooine, how practical is moisture farming?

    I wanted to work out a simple proof of concept and cost analysis for how to actually extract a meaningful amount of moisture from the air. This estimate includes the best prices I could find for each component of a reliable system which will continue to work for a period of ten years without maintenance or upgrades. It is sized for one-person. If you need to make enough water for more people, it would be more expensive and technically complex.

    Let’s start with the actual moisture removal process and then talk about powering it…

    Ok so this is a $43 dehumidifier which extracts 400ml per day of water from the air. This is the best price I could find.

    An average person needs about a gallon of water per day minimum to survive. A gallon is 3784ml which means one person needs ten of these running nonstop to provide a constant supply of enough water for them to survive. The total cost of ten of them comes out to  $430 for the dehumidifiers.

    Now let’s power our moisture farm…

    This dehumidifier needs 5 amps of power at 12 volts. This comes out to 60 watts per hour. That’s 1,440 watts per day per dehumidifier. Since we will need ten of them, that’s 14,400 watts per day total. This is a lot of power.

    Dividing that by the rule of thumb for five hours of average 100% sunlight per day, you get a solar panel size needed of 2,880 watts. 29 100 watt solar panels will provide that. At $82/each, that comes out to a total cost of $2,378 for the panels.


    Now you need an inverter to charge the batteries from the solar panels. Victron seels a very reputable one which works perfectly for this set of specifications. It costs $1,285.

    The last thing we need is the batteries. We will need to store enough power each day from the solar panels to run the humidifiers until the next day. Realistically, we would need more than that because sometimes it will be cloudy so this is a very conservative estimate.

    Battle Born Battery

    This is a very reputable standard current generation battery which gets thousands of charge cycles so it will last many years. It is rated at 12v and 100ah or 1,200 watts. Dividing our 14,400 daily needs by 1,200 we see that we will need 12 of these batteries. At $949/ea, that comes out to a total price of $11,388 for the batteries.

    Parts List & Total Cost

    TOTAL COST JUST $15,481!

    (Price per person)

    Data: Air Quality and Cooking

    I was curious what cooking does to air quality and nuclear radiation. We know that cooking meats releases naturally occurring radioactive materials just like wildfires do.

    For the curious, I was cooking bulgogi. As you can see, at 1:30 when I started cooking, there was a huge spike in the indoor air pollution in my home. In fact this level of indoor air pollution does qualify as “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” under the international standard.



    Now let’s look at the nuclear radiation aspect of cooking. This is less cut and dry…

    My sensors measure only beta and gamma decay, not alpha. These kinds of radiation have only moderate penetrating power, and so we would expect to see a lower level indoors with less change over time. The higher outdoor level comes from both solar radiation and the norms radiated by the wildfires. This data is the hourly average for Geiger cpm readings taken every minute.

    As you can see, despite a decrease in the ambient radiation levels measured outside, there was a slight increase in indoor radiation levels.

    It *HAS* to be you.

    Sorry this will be long and I’m asking something unreasonable of you.
    First, there was a dude named Alinsky who wrote a book called “Rules for Radicals.” I’m happy to share a copy of the audiobook. It was a simple set of rules for how to build communities. It spawned the field we now know as “Community Organizing.” Hillary Clinton wrote her thesis about this book. Barack Obama based his career on this book. I think in both cases, their core mistake was being first a neoliberal and therefore never truly examining their core assumptions before addressing the rules Alinsky developed. (The definition of radicalism is examining the root causes and neoliberals by definition are not able to do that.)
    Two, Alisnky’s rules, and what I’m about to say are sort of dangerous. They would be equally valuable to a nazi versus a progressive (Though Alinsky was a Jew so nazis seem unlikely to embrace him). In either case the rules show you how to build an extremely focused and powerful group capable of doing whatever you want. I used these rules to build a powerful antifascist organization in the Sierras last year which successfully dismantled multiple neo-nazi cells and did a lot more than that to be extremely aggressive in demanding progress from the institutions in place.
    Third, I recently took a class called “Black Online – Cyberspace, Culture, and Community” as part of my Racial Resistance degree. For the final project, I created a simple manifesto which was a synthesis of Alinskyan Tactics and social-media-based anti-racism.
    Fourth, the main argument I made is that when you say some really wild anti-racist shit or some really wild hard-marxist shit like “let’s start exterminating landlords,” people will react. The most important thing you can do is pay attention to who LOVES it (not likes it, LOVES it) and who gets MAD. Feel free to be vicious to the ones who get mad, chase them away, this will give you more opportunities to see who stans you. Alinsky is drooling in his grave watching you. Those who love what you’re doing are your stans. Stans are the foundation of the machine you *could* build to do the thing you’re talking about.
    The conclusion of my manifesto was that it *has* to be you. It can only be you. Whoever you are, whatever you’re talking about; it has to be you. If you believe in what you’re doing then do it; make it your cause. Kant said we can only consider the merit of our actions in terms of what the world would be like if everyone did what we are doing. If everyone shied away from the challenge of progress then nothing would ever change and nothing would ever get done. You don’t have to change the world but when someone deletes you; that should be the best feeling. Everything about who you are is a choice. You can choose to compromise your truth for those people that disagree with it, or you can choose to live honestly and let your surroundings reflect your truth. If you are right, then living honestly will make the world a better place.