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Nov 20, 2019

News from North Dakota

Shane Balkowitsch's portrait of Greta Thunberg
Shane Balkowitsch's portrait of Greta Thunberg

Last month a small team from 3 Generations visited North Dakota to get an update on the environmental impact of fracking on Native Lands. Our visit overlapped with that of Greta Thunberg, so there was much focus on her blazing environmental message. We were lucky to get a preview of her glass wet plate portrait, by famed artist Shane Balkowitsch, which is now headed to The Smithsonian Museum. (see photo).

In Bismarck we visited with Dr. Biron Baker, a family medicine physician, who appeared in our award-winning feature film A Different American Dream. Here is his verbatim update on the impact of fossil fuel extraction on health in Western North Dakota:

“In 25 years of practice, I have encountered anecdotal and empirical evidence of a higher than expected incidence of respiratory problems in western North Dakota. Accounting for all other variables, the fossil fuel industry should be explored in more depth. No other industry in our state enjoys the expansive protection that the fossil fuel industry does.  Coal is particularly dirty, and the myth of “clean coal technology” has been perpetuated upon a poorly informed populace.  Natural gas flaring is the next generation’s “clean coal”. 

In New Town, on the Fort Berthold Reservation, Tribal Environmental Director, Edmund Baker shared information about recent oil spills and the role of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on public health. We were saddened to learn that the environmental damage by the oil and gas exploitation has been even greater than anticipated when we made A Different American Dream.  EPA regulations under the present administration has relaxed rather than increased oversight. Spills are up and consequences are down. 

Anecdotally we learned that some athlete runners on the reservation can no longer run outdoors due to the VOCs from flaring causing asthma in previously healthy individuals. What disturbing news.

And yet, we see hope in the activities and commitment of young people — from Greta Thunberg to the youth on the reservation like Jayli Fimbres (see photo) who are working to preserve their land and culture.

We have been sharing updates on our social media. Please follow these stories on our website, our Facebook pages and on our Instagram.

Thank you for your continued support of this work.

Environmental Director Edmund Baker
Environmental Director Edmund Baker
Jayli Fimbres and Sally White with team 3 G
Jayli Fimbres and Sally White with team 3 G
Dr. Baker at  the North Dakota Veterans Memorial
Dr. Baker at the North Dakota Veterans Memorial

Links:

Nov 19, 2019

The Syrian Civil War Takes a Grim New Turn

A survivor of kidnapping and slavery by ISIS
A survivor of kidnapping and slavery by ISIS

At 3 Generations we have been recording the stories of Syrian refugees since 2013. We are proud of our coverage of this human rights catastrophe which includes award-winning short and feature films.

And yet, the Syrian Civil War has now entered a perilous new phase both in Syria and neighboring countries.  Turkey recently launched attacks against the Kurdish forces who had been helping US and coalition forces fight ISIS and their caliphate. The abandonment of the Kurds is a tragic development. Not only are they the largest stateless ethnic group on earth, they have been brave allies, instrumental in the curtailing of ISIS. And, closer to our recent work at 3 Generations, they have helped buffer the genocide against the Yazidi minority in Northern Iraq and Syria.

Throughout 2019 we have been gathering stories of Yazidi women forced into slavery by ISIS. These brutal and heart-breaking stories will be appear on our new website in the coming weeks. Please look for them and support our work by helping us keep filming, editing and producing stories from the frontlines of one of the worst humanitarian disasters of the 21st century.

Your support makes this vital work possible. 

We thank you, and so do the survivors who have honored us with these devastating stories. Stories we have been sharing for the past seven years.

3 Generations filming a Yazidi family
3 Generations filming a Yazidi family
Filming a Yazidi leader in exile in Canada
Filming a Yazidi leader in exile in Canada

Links:

Oct 8, 2019

Endless Wars

The term “endless wars” has been much bandied about over the last few days. At 3 Generations we are aware that this means different things to different people.

Beyond a political statement, to those veterans we have met, listened to and filmed who suffer from PTSD, “endless wars” describes the on-going trauma they experience at home after their return from battle. This is the subject of our short film A Different Kind of War which will be featured on our new website next month. Please do look out for it after November 15th.

Later this month we will be focusing on the stories of Native American veterans. A higher percentage of Native Americans (19%) have served in the military since 9/11 — more than any other ethnic minority. Today there are over 140,000 Native veterans living. Their service to this country has been consistent and significant since before they were even granted citizenship. At 3 Generations we salute their service.

 
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