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Why This Matters: Mona Hanna-Attisha, the Flint pediatrician who first documented the extremely high levels of lead in the city’s water, says that justice is crucial to the healing process. “I have increasingly come to understand that accountability and justice are critical to health and recovery,” Hanna-Attisha told the Washington Post,“without justice, it’s impossible to heal the scars of the crisis.” She hopes that bringing accountability to the highest powers involved in the crisis will help bring the public some peace, a resource that had eluded the people of Flint even six years later.
When the city switched to a new water source, the government ignored residents’ repeated complaints about health issues caused by city tap water. Michigan Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich recalls, “residents of Flint were repeatedly told they were crazy. They were belittled. They were harmed by the water physically, emotionally.”
Just last year, residents lined up in their cars to receive free bottled water for “World Water Day” simply because itcame from outside of their own hometown. Ananich sympathizes, “I can’t tell somebody they should trust [claims that the water is safe], because I don’t trust them—and I have more information than most people.”
Injustice Runs Deep: Flint’s predominantly white government has had longstanding tension with its predominantly Black populace. The population of Flint is 54% Black, compared to just 14% statewide. The dynamic only added to the pain faced by the residents of Flint, who felt that white politicians had left Black residents behind for the sake of saving money and ignored their pleas for help out of apathy for the local community. Nationwide, Black children are at a higher risk for lead poisoning, even in infancy.
In addition to Snyder, his health department director Nick Lyon and former adviser Rich Baird will also be charged. The exact details of the charges on the three men have not been made public, but already their lawyers have denounced the Michigan Attorney General’s decision. Lyon’s attorney claimed the move would be an “absolute travesty of justice” and Snyder’s representation called it a “smear campaign.”
Nevertheless, many see it as a light at the end of the tunnel. Gina Luster, a community activist, expressed disbelief, “finally, after 7 years of fighting for justice.” Ananich affirmed her relief, “I’ve always said that I think criminal charges are important, because I think it’s criminal what happened to my town.” He believes the indictment will show the people of Flint that “no person, no politician, no one is above the law.”
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Water experts say that worsening drought conditions across the nation may be here to stay. Extreme drought conditions in western states like Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico were once a semi-centennial occurrence, happening every 50 years. Now, these droughts are a common occurrence that disproportionately burdens low-income communities. […]
Turkey is experiencing its most severe drought in a decade after critically low rainfall over the past six months. Istanbul has less than 45 days of water remaining. Ankara, the country’s capital has 110. Other cities also face limited water and depleted dams, and farmers are concerned about crop failure.
Why this Matters: Things are so bad, the imams are telling their worshipers to pray for rain.
The costs of inaction on climate change keep rising — an additional $2.5 billion a year in just U.S. flood damage. A study published this week found that from 1988-2017, increased rainfall led to a total of $75 billion in damage.
Why this Matters: Flooding is one of the most common and expensive natural disasters and will only go up in the years ahead.
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