Editor’s Introduction: December 2013

by: Posted on: December 08, 2013

Read the Dirt has some exciting if not momentarily sad news to announce: We are going on sabbatical.

Simon Davis-Cohen, our co-founder and publisher, has accepted an internship with The Nation Magazine. We do not plan on publishing while on sabbatical. Dormancy, however, does not imply death; if you have information or inspiration you want to share, we may still have means to collaborate.

As we form relationships within the publishing world, we hope to offer you—our readers and authors—access to this expanding network. We believe that learning from and working with The Nation is a massive step in the right direction.

We are thinking long term; by no means are we burning out—we are transforming. When we come back, things will be different. Contact info@readthedirt.org and stay in touch.

Moving forward: Along with our typical links to and summaries of the month’s articles, here we are also providing links to past Editor’s Introductions.

Without further ado:

December’s Articles:

Occupy’s Not So Invisible Work: What do Naomi Klein, Occupy Sandy and the mathematics of predicting the future have in common? Originally published on Reader Supported News, by Simon Davis-Cohen.

The Devil In The Details of Local Law: A background story of a region fighting corporate industrial wind farming in New Hampshire. We learn about conditions that bring historically divided people together, and the nuances that differentiate successful from unsuccessful efforts to democratically govern American communities. In the process, the complexities and politics of sustainable energy are touched upon.

Bottled Water Facility Stopped, Local Government Replaced: Local civic action is powerful. Anacortes offers proof. Citizens in Anacortes stopped what would have been North America’s largest bottled water facility. The locals engaged to vote out a mayor who had governed for twenty years, as well as key members of the city council. Learn how it happened.

Don’t Tread On Us-A Message from Colorado: Colorado Springs, CO residents are in court, fighting for the right to vote on a Community Bill of Rights that bans hydrofracking within their jurisdiction. Below is a look back on how this all got started.

Making Sense of Recent Legal History: Did you know that our Supreme Court ruled—seventeen years ago—that corporations’ right to negative speech trumps citizens’/consumers’ right to know what they’re ingesting? Learn how it went down.

*Where Push Is Coming To Shove, USA: East Boulder County United statement on Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s lawsuit against Lafayette’s Community Rights initiative.


Getting Specific About What We Want: Rex Burkholder tells an American tale—incorporating his lessons learned as an urban planner into a broader discussion on how American communities are changing, and what we can do to create the communities we want. Of the dots connected include civic engagement, gentrification, sprawl, population density and transportation.


Burkholder is a repeat Read the Dirt contributor, Former Councilor for Metro Portland, OR regional government, and co-founder of Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Coalition for a Livable Future, and gettingto2100.org.

National Sovereignty At Stake: Read the Dirt intern Emily Petrovski does some background research on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Your sovereignty would appear to be at stake.

Finally, The Court Case We’ve All Been Waiting For: The first county to elevate its right to self-govern above corporate constitutional protections is headed to federal court.

Lessons Learned By A Federal Enforcer: Tim Ragen enforced federal environmental policy as executive director of the Marine Mammal Commission. He reflects here on what he learned:

An excerpt: “If we don’t take [social and economic factors] into account, we end up dealing with approximate causes of the problem, but never get driving causes. If we really want to solve environmental issues, we have to start looking at the ultimate causes…Were I to have that job again, I think I would be inclined to speak up more.”

Sacred Democracy-The Marriage of the Ethical and the Moral: In a look back on his previous columns, Damon asks, “what is it that marries the secular to the sacred?” Ultimately, he finds, democracy is the glue. He continues: “Just as the sacred has its underlying blueprint, aka the moral, the secular gives us its own overlying plan of action, aka the ethical.”

A Briefing On The State-Owned Bank of North Dakota: By Adam Gillman.


Past Editor’s Introductions:

April 2013


May 2013


June 2013


July 2013


August 2013


September 2013


October 2013



November 2013




Thanks for reading.

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