Environmental Justice Grit in the Borderlands

Environmentalists make terrible neighbors, but great ancestors. – David Brower

It would be difficult not to notice a common thread of diligent, dogged persistence across the broad spectrum of environmental justice activism. This tenacity, coupled with a long view of the world and a whole lot of hard work, is what makes for some of the most successful environmental justice campaigns.

While success cannot be measured in one brief moment or win where environmental issues are concerned, each victory adds to the larger picture of global environmental awareness and health of the planet. Multiple stories of such environmental justice grit can be found in the collections at The Bancroft Library and one collection in particular is the newly opened records of Arizona Toxics Information.

Focused primarily on environmental concerns in the Arizona/Mexico border region during the 1970s through 1990s, Arizona Toxics Information was founded by conservationist Michael Gregory in 1990. The collection also includes materials collected by Gregory before Arizona Toxics Information was established when he worked with the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter and grassroots environmental groups. Gregory had been employed by the United States Forest Service in the early 1970s and had witnessed the spraying of herbicide 2,4,5-T in national forests while he was stationed at fire outlook towers. 2,4,5-T is one of the main components of Agent Orange, which had already been banned for use in Vietnam due to its known harmful health effects and birth defects. From there, Gregory set about to research, collect information, write articles and lobby to end the practice of herbicide, pesticide and insecticide spraying in national forests and range lands.

In addition to the fight for pesticide use awareness and regulations, Arizona Toxics also ran several successful campaigns to shut down the Phelps-Dodge Corporation’s Douglas Reduction Works (copper smelter), the ENSCO hazardous waste management facility (PCB incinerator), and to improve the overall air and water quality of Arizona. As the Environmental Protection Agency’s Integrated Environmental Plan for the U.S.-Mexico Border Area and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) were being drafted in the early 1990s, Arizona Toxics Information lobbied and organized grassroots groups on both sides of the border to share information and rally for a multitude of environmental commitments in the agreements. These commitments included providing the public the “right-to-know” about pollutants being released from factories on both sides of the United States-Mexico border, regulating maquiladoras (factories in Mexico that are generally owned and operated by foreign companies which assemble products often to be exported back to the country of that company), and developing emergency disaster plans to respond to hazardous waste accidents.

The current status of NAFTA casts some doubt on the future of these agreements. The opening of the records of Arizona Toxics Information provides timely documentation of hard-won environmental justice victories on the US-Mexico border.

The processing of the Arizona Toxics Information records is part of a two-year NHPRC-funded project to process a range of archival collections relating to environmental movements in the West. A leading repository in documenting U.S. environmental movements, The Bancroft Library is home to the records of many significant environmental organizations and the papers of a range of environmental activists.


New Books in Literature for October

As fall approaches and the weather begins to cool down, it’s the perfect time of year to curl up with a slice of pumpkin pie and a good book. Where better to find your next read than the library literature collection? The books we recently received have something for everyone—whether you’re looking for poetry, prose, or criticism.

Check out the rest of the new acquisitions!

Want a book that we don’t have in the library? Request it here.



New Portal for Digital Collections of UC Berkeley’s Japanese Special Collections

Manuscript2-IzumiNikki-sm-1.jpg
Tsuchiya, Ayako 土屋斐子 b. 1759 . Izumi nikki 和泉日記 [Diary in Izumi Province].
Hand-written manuscript, after 1809. 
From Japanese Manuscripts Collection.

Since 2006, the Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto, Japan) and the C. V. Starr East Asian Library have been engaged in collaboration to digitize parts of the Library’s Japanese special collections. Today we are pleased to introduce a portal website for these digital collections, which provides free access to digital surrogates of the following UC Berkeley’s rare and historical sources related to Japan for research, teaching, and exploration. In addition, the portal also provides access to digital images provided by other research institutions (see Berkeley Joint Project, Rare Book Database, which includes over 90,000 titles of Japanese rare books).

Old and Rare Books 古典籍: A small selection from the Library’s Edo printed books and manuscripts collections, mostly from the Mitsui collection acquired in 1950. The collection includes the links to digital images of 760 titles in the Database of Pre-Modern Japanese Works provided by the National Institute’s Japanese Literature.

Copperplate Prints 銅版画: Consists of ca. 2,400 individual prints produced in Japan between 1855 and 1920, distributed in various formats. The collection originally owned by Mitsui Takakata (1867-1945).

Sugoroku Sheets 双六: Consists of ca. 150 sugoroku sheets produced in Japan in the Edo through the Taisho periods. The collection originally owned by Mitsui Takakata (1867-1945).

Fine Art Auction Catalogs 美術品入札目録: A small selection from the Library’s art auction catalog collection printed during the Meiji through the Showa periods, mostly from the Mitsui collection.

To browse all the digital surrogates, click “search”  or “検索” button in any of the above mentioned databases. New materials are added periodically.

For any questions, contact Toshie Marra at tmarra@library.berkeley.edu.

 


Now Online: Images from Glass Negatives of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition

Palace of Fine Arts building, Panama-Pacific International Exposition
Palace of Fine Arts (BANC PIC 2015.013:50522–NEG)

The Bancroft Pictorial Processing Unit is proud to announce that The Edward A. Rogers collection of Cardinell-Vincent Company and Panama-Pacific International Exposition Photographs has been organized, archivally housed, individually listed, and made (substantially) available online. This work was accomplished over two years, thanks to grant support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and, of course, careful hard work on the part of many library staff.

In this blog posting, Project Archivist Lori Hines describes some of the most challenging (and rewarding) work; preserving and providing access to fragile and often damaged glass negatives.

 

Handling Glass Plate Negatives: A Lesson in Mindfulness

The Rogers collection of Panama Pacific International Exposition photographs, received as a gift in 2014, includes over 2,000 glass negatives. These fragile items required special handling and archival containers with padding. Hardest to work with were approximately 150 oversize glass negatives ranging from 11 x 14 inches to 12 x 20 inches. Antique glass can become brittle and, of course, is heavy. From handling to wheeling the negatives back and forth to the conservation department and the digital lab, one had to be very conscious of every move and step taken.

Stack of large glass plate negatives

This first photo shows how the negatives were received in the library. Note they have no padding between the plates and there are only original, brittle sleeves to protect them. A stack of ten or fifteen is very heavy and getting your fingers under one, to lift it off the stack, is challenging. The weight of the negatives on top of each other is also a risk — the antique glass can easily crack under the weight.

Large glass negatives in archival box

This photo shows how the negatives have been housed by library staff; vertically with corrugated archival cardboard around each. Our library conservators designed the housing to limit box weight, to provide protective padding, to protect the plates from abrasion as they’re removed, and to make handling safer.

Custom archival box for large glass negatives

 

The largest plates, at 12 x 20 inches, needed another housing solution because it was impractical to store them upright, but the weight of one on another was a concern. The Library’s Conservation Department built custom trays to hold each 12 x 20 negative, with just three plates (and their trays) in an archival box that is stored flat on a cabinet shelf.

 

Handling large glass negative

 

 

 

The negatives are handled on the long side of the glass to offer best support and, during the cleaning, housing, and inventory process, are rested on a piece of thin foam padding to buffer any impact with the work table.

 

 

About 10% of the negatives arrived broken. To be digitized, we had to re-piece the broken negatives together on a supporting sheet of glass, like a puzzle, then hand it off immediately to the photographer in the Library’s Digital Imaging Lab. The glass sheet with the broken negative on top was then placed on a light table, so it was lit from behind, to be captured by the digital camera. The light table and camera are visible in the background of this image.

Staff re-assembling broken glass negatives in the digital imaging lab

 

The results were often quite satisfying,  as can be seen in this example of a badly broken glass negative that was pieced together.

Broken glass negative, re-assembled, of Workmen On Tower
Workmen on tower. Edward A. Rogers collection of Cardinell-Vincent Company and Panama-Pacific International Exposition photographs. BANC PIC 2015.013: 02916–NEG

 

The finding aid describing and listing the entire Rogers collection, with more than 2,000 digital images, may be viewed at the Online Archive of California.

To browse examples of images scanned from broken plates, try searching the finding aid for “negative is broken”, and navigating through the results, or by browsing this Calisphere website search that retrieves just the broken-plate images.

Special thanks go to Christine Huhn and the staff of the Digital Imaging Lab; Hannah Tashjian, Erika Lindensmith, Martha Little, and Emily Ramos  of the Conservation Department; staff of the Library Systems Office and the California Digital Library that worked with us to get the material online; to Gawain Weaver Art Conservation (contractors for preservation and scanning of panoramic film negatives), and to the Bancroft Pictorial Unit team that devoted much or their 2016-2018 work life to this effort: Lori Hines, Lu Ann Sleeper, and a crew of student staff.

 

 


Case Studies in Marijuana Policy: 3 Part Webinar Series

Want to learn from the experiences of other states working to develop and manage the effects of marijuana policy? Here are 3 webinars that are one hour long each that may help. Hosted by RTI International, these webinars are moderated by RTI experts and feature presentations from state representatives.

Marijuana Policy Webinar

Part 1: The Challenge of Edibles
Part 2: The Impact of Legalization on Youth
Part 3: Driving While High (available soon)

Note: Part 1 webinar requires Adobe Connect or Adobe Flash to view. Part 2 is a YouTube video. The slides are in pdf format.


Indoor Environments & Green Buildings Policy Resource Center

Would you like to easily search for other states’ laws for indoor air quality (IAQ)? For school environmental health? Then this resource might be of interest to you!

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) has developed just such a resource. Its Indoor Environments & Green Buildings Program provides information to support the development and implementation of sound policies to address key health and environmental issues in design, construction, operation, and maintenance of schools, homes, and other buildings.

In the ELI Policy Resource Center, you’ll find a database of state IAQ laws that cover a range of IAQ issues. As a subset of it, you can search for topics in school environmental health separately.

You’ll also find research reports on IAQ in homes and schools; policy briefs like the one on Indoor Air Quality in Nail Salons; and profiles of innovative state programs such as the Washington State Department of Health’s Guidance on Improving Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality during Wildfire Smoke Events.


New Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology (DART) Subject Filter

NLM PubMed provides search filters to aid in searching selected topics.Subject filters restrict retrieval to specific subjects. A new subject filter strategy
was recently added. The Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology (DART) subject filter was created to facilitate searching for subjects in the area of teratology and other aspects of developmental and reproductive toxicology.

This filter can also be used in a search as . For example, if you wanted to find articles on the developmental and reproductive toxicological effects of mercury, you might try a search like:
mercury AND dart[sb]

Found under the Subjects tag on the PubMed Special Queries page, you can scroll down to the name and simply click on it to run the search in PubMed. Once here, you’ll find this and other special pre-canned PubMed queries.

Want to see what the underlying search strategy looks like? You can view it online here.

When using these, you will want to review any of these search strategies that you may use to make sure they cover everything you want them to cover.


Best Babies Zone Basics: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you interested in eliminating racial inequities in birth outcomes? Would you like to see how one initiative tackled this issue? Then read on!

BBZ Basics is a step-by-step guide to implementing the Best Babies Zone (BBZ) approach. It is intended for both public health and non-public health organizations looking to start or build upon a place-based, multi-sector, community-driven initiative to reduce racial inequities in infant mortality.

The guide moves through six steps of a BBZ, including how to select a small, geographically defined Zone within a community; how to collaborate with residents and build resident leadership; and how to plan for evaluation. The guide also includes a number of tools and resources to help you in the planning process, such as a listing of online resources for health and social determinants data, a 2×2 priorities matrix, and more.

The BBZ Initiative began in March 2012 with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This guide was released December 2017 by the Best Babies Zone Technical Assistance Center at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.


NACCHO Policy statement on Cannabis

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has published a policy statement, Medical and Recreational Cannabis and Cannabinoids, to assist health departments considering approaches to medical and recreational cannabis within their communities. The policy statement was proposed by NACCHO’s Public Health Law Workgroup and approved by the NACCHO Board of Directors.


New MeSH 2018 terms now posted

Finding the Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) term for your search topic can often help you retrieve more relevant results and help ensure that you don’t miss articles.

MeSH is the National Library of Medicine (NLM) controlled vocabulary thesaurus which is updated annually. NLM uses the MeSH thesaurus to index articles from thousands of biomedical journals for the MEDLINE/PubMed database.

Every year, NLM reviews the MeSH thesaurus and considers changes in terminology. New concepts are constantly emerging while old concepts are in a state of flux, and NLM adjusts MeSH terminology and usage accordingly.

This year 113 MeSH headings were either changed or deleted and replaced with more up-to-date terminology. 471 new MeSH Headings were added to MeSH in 2018.

One major change is to the MeSH vocabulary for smoking and smoking-related terms. These have been updated and expanded for 2018.

Several smoking-related terms are now new MeSH terms. These are:

* Tobacco Smoking
* Cigar Smoking
* Cigarette Smoking
* Smoking, Non-Tobacco Products
* Smoking Reduction

Other new smoking-related MeSH headings to note are Smokers, Smoking Devices, and Smoking Prevention.

Remember that the new MeSH won’t have a lot of articles tagged with them just yet, and most are not retroactive.

The NLM has an online article that you can read if you’d like to learn more about changes in MeSH. It includes a link to the entire list of new terms.

Want a quick MeSH refresher? We have a MeSH Tri-Fold available for you. Or call us with your questions at 510-642-2510.