The Environmental Injustice of High-level Nuclear Waste in the US – Cody Slama

Currently, within the United States of America there is over 80,000 metric tons of high-level nuclear waste, which is considered some of the most dangerous waste on the planet because it remains highly radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. The federal government seeks to consolidate all of this waste into either a permanent repository or a centralized interim storage facility. The current proposals to store HLNW, in a permanent repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada or in centralized interim storage facility’s in New Mexico and on its border in Texas, is an environmental injustice as both of these storage sites disproportionately impact primary people of color and those living below the poverty line. In addition, all three of these facilities, where the federal government is planning on storing all of the Nations HLNW, lack local support and consent from the targeted community’s. Yucca Mountain has been constructed, but faced enough public opposition to make it un-operational. The other two facilities, being built by private corporations, are currently going through a licensing process with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that would allow them to be constructed. If any one of these facilities began accepting waste, it would set into motion the unsafe transport of HLNW throughout the country putting the entire nation at risk, but more so, in the places where this waste will be stored for an indefinite amount of time. This nuclear waste has the potential to absolutely devastate the land, air, water, and peoples health. It is essential that the Federal Government move away from their current proposed solutions, that carry the weight of being environmental injustices, to alternative solutions that have public support and consent.

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Age Into Action- Joe Trevino

Many people have been conditioned by their social relationships, and by general public discourse, to view aging as an entirely negative experience. People are taught that aging is undesirable and that one should try to lessen the impact on their own lives as much as possible, both physically and mentally. These views have given rise to ageism. According to the World Health Organization, “ageism is the stereotyping and discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age; ageism can take many forms, including prejudicial attitudes, discriminatory practices, or institutional policies and practices that perpetuate stereotypical beliefs.” Ageism affects society just as much as other forms of discrimination such as sexism and racism, but ageism has one unique feature that many other forms of discrimination do not share—ageism will most likely affect everyone at some point. In an unending cycle of spreading prejudicial attitudes towards aging, parents teach their children their own values including that getting older is undesirable. Parental views imprint not only ageist attitudes but ultimately lead the child to view themselves negatively as they get older (Levy “Age-Stereotype Paradox” S118).

In response to this pervasive problem, I have created an age-positive, online community called Age Into Action to challenge the false notions of ageing that have permeated our society for centuries. Through engagement with others across the USA and the world, people who are experiencing ageism, those who have experienced it in the past, or those who feel they might be internalizing ageism, are able to see that ageing does not have to be a negative experience. Activities designed to help individuals break free from aging stereotypes are proposed to online  2 community members. The majority of activities are sustainability-based, meaning they encourage individuals to help not only the environment but also help the individual’s view of themselves and their communities.

Check out the full final report here and his website here.