Freelance journalist focused on stories of both Kashmir culture and society as well as the rising tide of climate change.
Arizona’s deserts are home to the world’s densest forests of towering saguaro cacti. These cactus grow up to 50 feet during their lifespan, which can last as long as two hundred years. However, these stoic giants face a pervasive threat — poachers who dig them up under the cover of darkness to resell on a growing worldwide cactus black market.
Casket flooding has been a problem in Louisiana longer than climate change, but as sea levels rise and hurricanes become more powerful and frequent, burial solutions in the state need to evolve — and fast. Louisiana loses land the size of a football field to the rising tide every hour. But for Louisiana’s dead, the rising tides of climate change isn’t a nebulous prediction but a current reality.
“What happens when an entire society is suffering from PTSD?” asked Beyond the Breaking Point, published in 2009 by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma when addressing the mental health situation in Kashmir.
A poet famously wrote of Kashmir, “if there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here.” The steep, icy slopes of Sonmarg or the soaring Himalayan views are the sights that inspire poets and tourism magazines alike, but Kashmir is having a surge in a different kind of writing: passionate resistance literature against Indian occupation.
Audra Willis, a member of the Navajo To’hajiilee community, was only 39-years-old when she was decapitated and mutilated. The lively mother of six young children was close to her family and was known around her community as a hard worker and a good friend. However, she recently fell in with a rougher crowd. Passersby found her body in an arroyo in Four Hills, a middle-class neighborhood outside of Albuquerque. The last time her family saw her was on Thanksgiving. Authorities found her body mere days before Christmas 2017. In 2019, police broke the case and arrested a man for her murder.
The residents of Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana’s southeastern bayous are the first trickle in the coming wave of climate change refugees. For decades, the tribes (Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw and United Houma Nations) who once called the isle home have been relocating to safer land. 98 percent of the isle’s land has sunk under the rising tide since 1955, with nothing but a thin strip of land left.
At the base of the Himalayas near India’s border with Pakistan, Kashmir is a deeply troubled region that, despite oft-violent political turmoil and destitute poverty, still captures the fantasies of tourists. The mystical land, sometimes called “India’s answer to Switzerland”, is known as an exotic getaway, far from the unbearable heat of Delhi or Mumbai, that was especially loved by Bollywood icons. There were once over a dozen theaters screening Bollywood flicks. Those are gone now, all closed by 1990 after threats against “un-Islamic” bars and cinemas by a militant Islamic group called the Allah Tigers.
When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the globe, countries were plunged into a chaotic period of enforcing restrictions on activities, scrambling for medical equipment, and preparing their medical infrastructures for the wave of new patients. While nearly no region has come out unscathed, few have been as hard hit as Kashmir. Even before COVID-19, Kashmir had been through months of strict lockdown which, at one point, included a full internet shutdown imposed by the Indian government. While rudimentary internet services have been restored, stay-at-home orders are often difficult for Kashmiris to adhere to. Due to the slow-speed internet, many students and workers don’t have the services to work from home, medical professionals are stifled, and misinformation abounds.