Editor’s Introduction: April 2013

by: Posted on: April 08, 2013

Welcome to our first Monthly Editor’s Introduction—published on the 8th of every month. This here should help you navigate our publication. Below you’ll find links and introductions to last month’s articles.

You might have noticed that readthedirt.org is looking a little different. Thanks to our successful Kickstarter project and generous supporters we were able to afford some transfixing additions to the website. The whole site has been updated, with the most significant additions being made to the Community Rights section and front page. We’ve also revised our mission statement, and published “Submission Guidelines.” The Kickstarter also funded our self-published new book “Read the Dirt: Best of the Early Years”—coming soon.


Without further ado, the articles:


The Story of Broadview Heights, Ohio: Broadview Heights, OH has introduced the novel community rights to pure water, clean air, peaceful enjoyment of home, a sustainable energy future, self-government, and natural communities’ right to exist and flourish into its municipal charter. Oil and gas injection wells, which violate these legal rights, have been banned in the city. Written by Tish O’Dell, resident of Broadview Heights

Middle School Elevates its Rights above Corporations’: We were invited to Sunnyside Environmental School of Southeast Portland, OR to speak to middle schoolers about citizen law making. They taught us a lesson. The students declare that humans come before corporations. Eli, a middle schooler, said, “It’s more powerful for people to know that kids care about this issue—without kids, the corporations wouldn’t even be there.” Read The Sunnyside Declaration. By Sunnyside Environmental School

Crude Oil Trains Proposed for Grays Harbor, WA: Citizens Challenge Permitting Process: Proposals to bring crude oil terminals to Grays Harbor are making local citizens ask questions. What rights do communities have to reject proposals that threaten their quality of life? Our current laws, our author states, “[subjugate] the rights of local communities to the rights of corporations.” She continues, “No legal process that permits destruction of ecosystem services that human life depends upon is legitimate.” By Donna Albert

Under the Radar: How a Multinational Corporation Quietly Bought a County-Wide Election: Citizens in Thurston County, WA put an initiative on the ballot to make its electricity publically owned. Puget Sound Energy (PSE), a foreign corporation, defeated the initiative after quintupling Thurston’s previous record for spending on a county-wide election. Does Thurston’s right to democratically make decisions about its electricity conflict with PSE’s rights as a corporate person? By John D. Pearce, a resident of Thurston County and former Chair of Thurston Public Power Initiative.

What a Difference a Degree Makes: Learn about the latest with regard to coal exportation in British Columbia, Canada, and why the surrounding region is up in arms about the lack of a democratic decision-making mechanism. Is such a mechanism a community right? By Kevin Washbrook, Director of Voters Taking Action on Climate Change

Big or Small: Who Will Grow Washington’s Cannabis Crop?: Washington State recently legalized cannabis. We hear from a man who urges us to recognize this opportunity to create a market of small independent cannabis producers. By David Stephens, Keep it Cottage

Read the Dirt: Changes on the Way: Our initial Letter from the Editor introducing our website updates and Monthly Editor’s Introduction.







An Addition to the Climate Movement-Civil Disobedience Toolkit: By Simon Davis-Cohen, Editor of Read the Dirt, via Truthout (Truth-out.org “Progressive Pick”)

Grafton, New Hampshire Adopts Community Bill of Rights That Bans Land Acquisition for Unsustainable Energy Systems: By Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, via CELDF.org

Highland Township Adopts Community Bill of Rights That Bans Toxic Injection Wells: By Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, via CELDF.org

Day One of the Occupation of Detroit: By Ron Scott & Shea Howell, via Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership


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Photo: Simon Davis-Cohen

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