Dark Waters is the most important American film in a decade, although it squanders an opportunity to fully portray PFAS* contamination as the nationwide human health epidemic it has become. The film leaves out half of the story and that involves the military’s role.
*per- and poly fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) include PFOA, PFOS and 5,000 other harmful chemicals used in a variety of military and industrial applications.
The Hollowing Out of America, Up Close and Personal
On the Pine Ridge Lakota reservation in South Dakota, where our book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt opens, and where the average male has a life expectancy of 48 years, the lowest in the western hemisphere outside of Haiti, those who endured the long night of oppression found solace in traditional sweat lodge rituals, the Lakota language and cosmology, and the powerful four-day Sun Dance which I attended, where dancers fast and make small flesh offerings.
Massive corporations are blowing up mountains and creating environmental ruins in West Virginia. All this devastation, just to extract some coal.
We went to West Virginia to investigate mountain-top removal — which a way of extracting coal from deposits under mountains. Instead of drilling into the mountain and sending men underground to take out the coal in the traditional way, they just take the whole top of a mountain off.
Yet another coal miner was killed on the job this week, and journalist and author Jeff Biggers says that the situation has reached crisis level–that it’s a war on miners. He also notes that abuse of the land and abuse of the people who work on it has always gone hand in hand, so as pressure for mountaintop removal and new coal mines mounts, so do safety violations–the latest being a story broken by NPR, that a methane gas monitor at the Little Big Branch mine, where 29 workers died in an explosion in April, had been deliberately shut down.