Inspirations: Contamination (Biodiversity)

As part of an ongoing effort to encourage further exploration of the topics raised in In Layman’s Terms, we will be updating posts with the inspirations for the pieces found within the issues. Check back frequently for more inspirations!

You can read “Oysters Restored” by Jan Ball, “To a Fish” by Nathlaie Kuroiwa-Lewis, and “What Gets Lost in the Fog” by Karen Weyant in Volume 1: Biodiversity.

Each piece tells of the unfortunate consequences of pollutants in our air and water supply. There are many examples throughout our history that humans have both knowingly and unknowingly contributed to harming the environment. Oftentimes we don’t know the full impact until incredible devastation has already taken place. That doesn’t mean it’s time to give up, but a reminder that we have work to do to make things better and a warning to be more diligent about our actions in the future.

Food Chains and Pollutants

Don Shepard provides a short and to the point explanation of how pollutants “stack up” in the food chain: Food Chains and How They Are Affected by Water Pollution.

Sharon Guynup at National Geographic explains how Toxins Accumulate in Arctic Peoples, Animals.

The EPA also has a useful pages regarding various pollutants that harm humans and the environment: Persistent Organic PollutantsPolychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), and Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs).

Nuclear Waste

Nathalie’s inspiration for “To a Fish” comes from On the Home Front, the Cold War Legacy of the Hanford Nuclear Site.

Terry Tempest Williams’ nonfiction essay The Clan of One Breasted Women is the first-hand account of unchecked nuclear testing affecting entire populations.

Eben Harrell interviewed Alan Robock, a Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University for a Time piece on the Regional Nuclear War and the Environment.


Read more about the dangerous fog that took lives in Donora, Pennsylvania in 1948.

If you’d rather listen, NPR also has a short clip dedicated to this deadly fog: Smog Deaths In 1948 Led To Clean Air Laws and another about London’s Killer Fog of ’52.

Do you have more to add? Insights into how these discoveries or people have influenced the world and people that inhabit it? We’d love to hear your comments below!

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