I’m Amanda Magnani, a Brazilian (photo)journalist and OptOut News’ climate editor. Every other week, I bring you the most important climate news from our network—with an extra serving of decolonial perspectives. ✨🌿
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Montana’s historic climate ruling 🌿 Extreme wildfires in Hawaii 🌿 One year anniversary of Biden’s “climate bill”
If you’ve been with us for a while, you know we don’t often get to start this newsletter with a celebration. But the main climate news that has won the world over the past week definitely calls for it!
In Montana, one of the main fossil-fuel producing states in the country, sixteen young people made history in what The American Prospect called “a new blueprint” for climate jurisprudence. For the first time ever in the U.S., a judge ruled that failing to consider the effects energy and mining projects have on climate was a violation of the constitutional right to a healthy environment, as reported by Idaho Capital Sun.
While other countries have already achieved to hold governments legally accountable for their roles in aggravating the climate crisis, this case represents the first time a lawsuit of this kind has succeeded in the U.S., DRILLED reports.
Also historic, however, were the wildfires that devastated the island of Maui, in Hawaii, which Grist covered extensively. While wildfires are not a rare occurrence in the region, climate change exacerbated this fire and made it the deadliest in more than a century. At least 55 people were killed and more than 2,000 had to be relocated to emergency shelters, adding to the island’s already critical housing crisis. The tragedy illustrates the point youth plaintiffs have been making in another ongoing lawsuit out of Hawaii. HEATED reported on that story.
Meanwhile, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which Biden called “the biggest step forward on climate ever,” nears its first anniversary. The bill, which pledged $391 billion for energy transition, is already making an impact, Maryland Matters reports. Yet, activists stress that the IRA also gives room for false solutions that obstruct phasing out of fossil fuels, Source NM reports.
🛢️ “The Climate Culprits Blocking Workers’ Heat and Wildfire Protections," by The Lever.
🛢️ “USDA’s climate grants for farms and forests run into Republican buzzsaw," by Minnesota Reformer.
🛢️ “State Natural Resources board thwarts public participation with end of livestream option," by Georgia Recorder.
Decolonizing Climate Change
🌱 “Navajo Nation gives updates on program to bring electricity to communities," by Source NM.
🌱 “Being A Black Woman in the Climate Tech Space," by Brown Girl Green.
🌱 “Centering Indigenous Leadership in Maui’s fire recovery,” by Yes!
To Lighten Your Heart
💚 “North Idaho volunteer group works to keep Lake Pend Oreille healthy," by Idaho Capital Sun.
💚 “Watch Joe Biden drag Lauren Boebert for celebrating Climate bill she opposed," by The New Republic.
💚 “‘Historic and Wonderful’: Ecuadorians reject oil drilling in precious Amazon Region," by The Real News Network.
Global South Corner
Photo by Armando Lara. Source: La Barra Espaciadora.
Last Sunday, August 20th, Ecuadorians went to the polls to decide a presidential election and the fate of a ban on oil drilling in the Yasuní National Park in the Northern region of their Amazon Forest–a place with one of the highest biodiversity in the world.
I spoke with Diego Cazar Baquero, Ecuadorian investigative journalist, editor-in-chief of the digital magazine La Barra Espaciadora and founding member of the Journalists Without Chains Foundation. He told me that the Yasuni region, which is most affected by the oil industry, is home to dozens of Indigenous nations, including peoples in voluntary isolation, most of whom are nomads whose transit could be jeopardized by oil installations. “Oil in that area is very dense, so drilling it is not only too expensive, but also more dangerous to the environment," he said.
While the majority of the country voted to ban the activity, the Amazonian provinces were against it. “In communities like those, oil companies use the strategy of reducing job alternatives, until they become the only option. So in spite of all the contamination, people want them to stay, as they fear losing the only source of income”, Diego explained. This region is also among the poorest in the country, meaning that profits never return to the territory from which the oil came.
You can read more about it (in Spanish) here.
That’s all for now, folks! If you’re a climate journalist and want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Discord group. Over there, I will share new opportunities and resources every week, and you can let me know who—or what—you want to see next on the Global South Corner.
If you have any questions or suggestions, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Obrigada and have a great week!
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