30%. Gone.

As of May, more than 5.5 million people had fled their homes as a result of the conflict in Syria. That’s nearly 30% of the country, or 1.5 million refugees outside of Syria and 4 million people displaced within the border. When I first read those numbers, I found myself imagining 1/3 of my building … Continue reading

How to Help Syrian Refugees

As their country enters the third year of a bitter civil war, roughly 4 million Syrians have fled their homes. At least 1 million have crossed into neighboring countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey. The rest are displaced within Syria, including a large contingency hiding out in Roman-era caves. And to make the situation … Continue reading

Bearing Our Own Energy Burden

The Keystone XL pipeline – once relatively unknown to everyone but energy execs and protestors – has become a major US election issue and the source of much controversy lately. The proposed pipeline would carry oil 2,000 miles from Canada’s tar sands through the US and down to Texas. Environmental activists have been fighting the … Continue reading

We Need Cleaner Air and Cleaner Hearts

Last week NPR featured a series on poisoned places exposing the ways polluted air continues to harm residents all over the US. When I heard this report on All Things Considered, I recognized the place immediately: thick fog, benzene in the air, burning eyes and throats, obscure cancers. Perhaps this was LaBelle, PA – the … Continue reading

Hunger + Hunger = Generosity

In researching a writing project, I recently came across what has to be one of the most beautiful stories in American history. Perhaps you’re already familiar with the Choctaw Indians and their incredible display of generosity during the 1840s. Regardless, read on because it’s worth the reminder: Beginning in the early 1830s, the US government … Continue reading

Washing Our Hands of Iraq’s Missing Million

I mentioned some scary numbers in yesterday’s post – in particular that anywhere from 250,000 to 1 million Iraqis have disappeared in recent years and not yet been found by their loved ones. These numbers come from three major eras in Iraq’s recent history: War with Iran: Enforced disappearances occurred relatively often in Iraq during … Continue reading

Going Local to Stop Displacement

Yet another reason to go to the farmers’ market! Around the world, federal governments and corporations have entered a new “global gold rush” – for agricultural land. They buy up property to use in the coming food crisis and cross national borders for the cheapest and most underused plots. But while purchasing these huge chunks … Continue reading

Good News Friday

Better late than never! Here’s some good news to take into your weekend: Rise of Activism Against Child Slavery in the Uzbek Cotton Industry: After a somewhat successful petition on Change.org meant to raise awareness for and protest the use of forced child labor in the cotton industry, activists are riding the momentum to demand … Continue reading

My Decade of War

I cried on September 11th because I worried it would affect my plans to attend NYU. Yep, I was that immature. I was in high school. Like most people I was also terrified that we were going to war, that the people I loved might die, and that the country as we knew it would … Continue reading

Beledweyne Banner Image

I’ve used the above photograph for a number of projects, including an adapted version for this blog’s header. It shows refugee huts in Beledweyne and was taken by a United States sergeant during official duties, which places it in the public domain. Beledweyne is one of the oldest cities in Somalia, but recent decades of … Continue reading

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