On July 26th, 2019, Edwin Dobb passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.

Over the span of his career, Ed’s work was published in Harper’s magazine, National Geographic, High County News, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. For 18 years, he was a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. In 2009, he wrote and produced, the documentary “Butte, America” about his hometown in Montana. Most recently, he was the co-founder of Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss, an international and multidisciplinary project focused on the extraction industry.

I could go on as Ed’s achievements and accolades…


A group of women from the town of Las Pozas in Guatemala has been campaigning against the palm oil plantations that have drained and polluted their local water source and exploited their fellow community members through low-paying work. Photo by Alessandra Bergamin (IG: @allybergamin)

As the world faces (or largely ignores) the impacts of climate change, extractive industries, and environmental degradation, communities of color and impoverished people are on the frontline of these crises. In 2019 alone, 164 environmental activists were killed while protecting their homes and the world’s resources from rich corporations and powerful politics. Because of this, the environmental justice movement has only become more urgent and more necessary.

For the past few years, this link between human rights and the environment has driven much of the work I do. From reporting on pesticides in California’s agricultural valleys to the problems of…


No one knows what’s causing the “silenced massacre”

Illustrations: Ellie Ji Yang

Each Monday morning, Jesus Gonzales, 47, heaves his body out of bed, loops a belt through his slacks, and drives half an hour to the outskirts of downtown Houston, Texas. After a weekend spent socializing and praying, he is tired and feels ill. His calcified hip is stiff and his left hand cannot curl beyond a fragile fist. A Spanish radio station hums in the background, and with every mile behind the wheel, he feels a little closer to relief.

For the past three years, Gonzales has been a patient at Houston’s Riverside Dialysis Center. (Elemental is not using Gonzales’…


Bay Area high school girl wrestlers make their own path in a male-dominated sport

All photos by Alessandra Bergamin

Sweaty and flushed, Maria Patino picks herself up off the padded floor and storms out of the training room in tears. For the past hour, a dozen or so girls, including Patino, have run laps, done drills and tussled with one another as part of their training for the Albany High School girls’ wrestling team. Beneath her long-sleeved top, Patino’s shoulder is taut with sports tape, bracing an injury she sustained earlier that year.

Today, pushed by her shoulder pain and the stressors of high school, she is on the verge of giving up.


As the cost of living rises, California’s SSI recipients — mostly low-income and disabled seniors — struggle to survive on less than $900 a month.

Robin Taylor rests her walking stick against the kitchen counter and unhinges her denture box.

Her kitchen is small but tidy and the smell of cat food, sweet and acrid, wafts through the room. It is, so far, the only sign of Taylor’s biggest luxury: her three cats.

Leaning on the beige tiled bench for support, she cups one half of her teeth and rations an adhesive across the gum-like rubber. A few drops ooze…


The spires of Mount Oakleigh barely visible through the smoke. Photo: A Bergamin

Thru-hiking a Bushfire

Alessandra Bergamin | Originally published at misadventures.org

Inside the silver billycan — a cooking pot that is deeper than it is wide and cheaper than it is sturdy — a small mountain of lentils is bubbling and spluttering, gently tapping at the underside of a closed lid. They are plump and steamy and make a squelching sound as though they are wading through mud rather than becoming the dahl that will soon be dinner.

In the communal area of New Pelion Hut, the German couple we met on the first day of the hike is seated on the wooden picnic…


The Saunders Case Moth can best be described as what you get when a lizard and a caterpillar decide to evolve — together.

At the beginning of summer, in a backyard in Melbourne’s northern suburbs I watched, dumbfounded, as some sort of thick worm inched its way across a handrail. It’s not exactly unusual for worms or grubs or caterpillars to crawl around outside. Except this thing, wasn’t crawling. It was clawing.

At around five inches long, it was a shiny black with orange stripes and a rounded, nub of a head to match. Its underbelly was covered in a…


Field work is supposed to be where ecologists get to play Indiana Jones. But in reality it often involves waiting — and lots of it. Originally published at baynature.org.

Photo: A Bergamin

IF FISHING EXCUSES ANY ABSURDITY, as the writer Randy Wayne White once wrote, then there is no excuse needed for the small chunk of chocolate iced donut that has, in the name of science, just splashed into a pond in the South Bay.

We were visiting in the early spring, when there was enough early morning sunshine to warm the water, coax the fish out of their lethargy and remind them that they were hungry enough to bite down on a piece of squid dangling on the end of a hook. …

Alessandra Bergamin

Freelance journalist and photographer. Subscribe to Defender, a newsletter about the global environmental justice movement: https://buttondown.email/defender

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