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19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA
Our Neighborhood
by Robin Michals


Our Neighborhood juxtaposes places of daily life with the infrastructure of industrial production. If you live near a factory or refinery, you hear it, you smell it, you know that it can hurt you but you accept it because either you have no choice, or it is your best choice. Either your grandfather built the house when he immigrated from Mexico or this neighborhood is actually better than any other you can afford. You are resigned to the dangers clouding your future. It is familiar. It is your neighborhood.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report last fall stating that the global temperature will rise 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels between 2030 and 2052, causing calamitous worldwide damage. The need to reduce CO2 emissions is on a direct collision course with an expanding oil and gas industry, driven by increased hydraulic fracturing.

Resignation is to watch the smoke rise from a coal plant, a refinery, or a factory as it floats over the neighborhood where you grew up, raise your children, and grow old. Our grandfathers built this house, we all live here. There is no where else to go. We are resigned to whatever the future brings. We grieve for troubles to come and also for what we have lost. There is now a term for this form of emotional distress, it is: solastalgia.