Tag Archives: La Oroya

Environment  Sunday News & Observer: Pope gets pushback on environment

"The life of the plant is more important than anything the pope says." Photo by Jason Houstin

Emel Salazar in La Oroya, Peru: “The life of the plant is more important than anything the pope says.” Photo by Jason Houston

Every Pulitzer Center journalist must ensure that his or her work will be published or broadcast before a grant is considered. That’s the model. They pay expenses so that your work can fill the gaps of news organizations that want foreign reporting, but no longer have staff abroad. When my Pulitzer turn came around around again last spring, I called an editor I’ve long admired but never had the opportunity to work for: John Drescher of the New & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. After explaining my project, he readily agreed to take one of my stories. I was thrilled.

So on Sept. 20, 2015, I had my first page 1 story in a Sunday daily newspaper since I left the News & Record in Greensboro in May 1998. That’s a long time before Sunday fronts, but given that the N&O practically cleared page 1 for me and published all 1,900 words I wrote, plus several photos, it was worth the wait. It’s funny, but in buying papers in Chapel Hill, I felt the same thrill I did when I was a kid, seeing my first byline in print.

Front page, The Sunday News & Observer, Sept. 20, 2015. Photo by Justin Catanoso

Front page, The Sunday News & Observer, Sept. 20, 2015. Photo by Justin Catanoso

Environment  Mongabay.com: Peru’s Conundrum: a Pope’s environmental message divides his people

The smelting that virtually killed a city in the Andes, and poisoned its people. And the people want it open again, even as the pope speaks out against such environmental oppression. Photo by Jason Houstin

The smelting that virtually killed a city in the Andes, and poisoned its people. And the people want it open again, even as the pope speaks out against such environmental oppression. Photo by Jason Houstin

I had the great pleasure to work with mongabay.com editor Glenn Scherer on this important story, that is as comprehensive as it is sad and vexing. As Glenn wrote in the subhead: “Big business and labor in one of the world’s most Catholic nations wrestle with the economic implications of Pope Francis’ revolutionary encyclical on the environment.”

The link to the story is here.

Seven decades of acid rain has changed the chemical composition of the surrounding mountains. La Oroya is considered on of the most polluted cities on earth.

Seven decades of acid rain has changed the chemical composition of the surrounding mountains. La Oroya is considered on of the most polluted cities on earth. Photo by Jason Houston