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High Country News

High Country News June Vol. 52, No. 06

High Country News is the nation's leading source of reporting on the Western United States. Through in-depth reporting, High Country News covers the West’s social, political and ecological issues.

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English
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High Country News
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12 Ausgaben

in dieser ausgabe

2 Min.
don’t despair. dissent.

IT IS SAFE TO SAY that the pandemic will not end any time soon. The longer the crisis persists, the more we’ll need to seek out bright sides and hidden lessons, to find hope in isolation as we rediscover the value of connection with families, friends and neighbors — of hugs, nudges, high-fives and handshakes. For many, this period will rank as one of the most challenging times of our lives. At the same time, we are learning more about the ability of people to adapt and face difficulties head-on. That’s important beyond this bewildering moment, I think, because even as the pandemic continues, other challenges remain. Inequality abounds; the Earth continues to warm; and environmental protections are being dismantled at speed. In the name of liberty, displays of guns and…

4 Min.
letters

NO TRICK OF LIGHT I found Lynell George’s piece “No Trick of Light” (May 2020) profoundly moving. As an expatriate Californian living in Colorado, I was stirred by her references to a certain play of light, the peculiar sound of wind among native and non-native trees, the cooing of doves, and the ever-changing topography of desert and hills going down to the sea. Settling in the San Francisco Bay area as a young adult, I would take jaunts to Los Angeles, never fully understanding the geography until later years. It’s such a mega-phenomenon, sprawled across ranges and valleys, with a panoply of communities scattered up canyon or down coast, all blending together and still somehow unique. That Los Angeles is a city of great cultural significance in all its legendary opulence…

4 Min.
virtual house calls

BACK BEFORE THE TIME of coronavirus, Elizabeth Powers, a family doctor in the tiny town of Enterprise, Oregon, carefully examined patients in her office in an effort to arrive at a diagnosis and treatment. She still pays attention to the physical details — the color of her patients’ skin, their breathing, any signs of swelling — only now she does it via computer screen. “I’ll adjust their medication and talk about lab tests or follow-ups,” she said, treating them just as she did when they came to the clinic. “It’s very customizable, based on the patient’s needs.” Millions of workers in various fields have been pushed into cyberspace by the pandemic. Powers is one of them. For her, however, the transition was relatively smooth because Winding Waters Community Health, where she…

4 Min.
arizona’s new wave of activists

DRESSED IN MULTI-POCKETED beige vests and big hats, a group of elderly tourists gathered on a recent bright spring day at the edge of the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve in southern Arizona. Behind them, a dry-erase board listed the birds they’d seen so far that day: golden crown sparrows, vermilion flycatchers, violet-crowned hummingbirds. This 873-acre preserve, which is owned by The Nature Conservancy, takes up about 60% of the land in the town of Patagonia, a popular springtime destination for bird-watchers eager to check species off their list. After coming here, they typically move on to the Audubon Society Paton Center for Hummingbirds. Just a mile down the road, and beyond, the Forest Service manages one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the country. With a population of around 800, Patagonia is…

6 Min.
aid and isolation

LUCINDA CHARLESTON’S CHILDREN reminded her that she wasn’t young anymore. But despite their worry, she assembled an emergency public health team to tackle the Navajo Nation’s first coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic hit Chilchinbeto, a small town in the northeastern corner of Arizona, in mid-March. As deputy commander for the Navajo Nation Incident Command Center, Charleston was tasked with delivering aid, isolating the community and tracking the sick and vulnerable. During those weeks, Charleston (Diné) had one recurring thought: “I’m not the only person that has family. Everybody on my team, we all have families that we need to go home to.” The novel coronavirus has ravaged much of the world, yet its impact has been particularly acute on the Navajo Nation, where it is pushing the tribe’s public health system to…

4 Min.
protesting during a pandemic

LATE ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON in April, protesters clad in face masks and bandannas gathered in a truck stop parking lot off the freeway between Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona. The posters taped on their cars read “Free Them All” and “Detention Is Deadly.” This unique protest, planned by grassroots groups, including Puente Human Rights Movement, a Phoenix-based nonprofit, and No More Deaths, a humanitarian aid organization, called for the release of detainees who are currently exposed to COVID-19 behind bars. The car-only rally was advertised on social media as a “COVID-safe” action. Using an app called Telegram, which functioned as a one-way walkie-talkie, organizers sent out audio instructions along with a map of the protest’s route. “Finding a way to do action even in such a weird and dramatic time is really vital,”…