Streams

Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Andrew Blackwell talks about traveling to the most polluted places on Earth and considers what they mean for us. Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places is equal parts travelogue, expose, environmental memoir, and faux guidebook.

Guests:

Andrew Blackwell

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Comments [8]

Sarah from NJ

I am a current NY suburb resident, but I am from Port Arthur. Thanks for the story. I think you started to scratch the reality of a place like that being "home". The pollution is a fact when you live there, but it is just a fact. It is people's livelihood and a great deal of just acceptance of one's 'lot in life.' I had been gone almost a decade before I could see it for the horrid pollution reality that it is, and to answer the question... yes... the refineries are gorgeous at night. You have to remember that that is the "landscape". You do not know anything different. You cannot imagine the glory of a Mt. Diablo in northern California or the rolling green hills in upstate New York. All those sparkling lights are captivating and it is home. As someone who has been gone a long time I now increasingly see it as a place that was raped by outsiders... they get the money and the oil. We just get the waste.

Jul. 13 2012 12:37 AM
Susan Zeiger

I think that it is sick to get your thrills by visiting people who are forced to live in polluted places. How privileged and depraved can you get.

Jul. 12 2012 12:50 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Just because a place doesn't look too bad, that doesn't mean its condition is acceptable or that the pollution there isn't dangerous to people & other living things. Maybe that's not what Mr. Blackwell meant, but it sounded that way. Is anything being done about these places?

Jul. 12 2012 12:32 PM
josh from washington heights

This is a great topic. I'd caution all of us NYCers, however, that many people consider where we live to be a toxic waste dump as well. They're partly correct. Our air pollution is really bad compared to those that live out in the mid-west suburbs.

Jul. 12 2012 12:31 PM
anonyme

What the heck are the youtube videos if he's seen nothing solid in the Pacific Gyre?

Cancer is an epidemic. Ask any oncologist.

Jul. 12 2012 12:27 PM
Jim B

Mr. Blackwell might like to visit Bogalusa, Louisiana. A large papermill sits at one end of town and the stench permeates the entire area for about 5 to 10 miles, 24/7. People say they get used to it. The cancer rate is really high.

Jul. 12 2012 12:26 PM
Sonya Blesofsky from Brooklyn

Hi Leonard,
Just fyi, this is a link to Revival Field by the artist Mel Chin. He undertook a project similar to what you mentioned about planting in polluted places.

http://melchin.org/oeuvre/revival-field

Cheers,
Sonya

Jul. 12 2012 12:24 PM

What did you drink if everything was polluted/contaminated?

Jul. 12 2012 12:15 PM

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