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Honey Bees, Worker Bees, and the Economic Violence of Land Grabs

Melissa Chadburn | Longreads | April 1, 2019 | 3,024 words
Posted inEssays & Criticism, Feature, Featured, Nonfiction, Story, Unapologetic Women

Honey Bees, Worker Bees, and the Economic Violence of Land Grabs

Melissa Chadburn challenges her own belief that environmental justice issues are reserved for people of privilege.
Don Farrall / Getty, Photo illustration by Katie Kosma

Melissa Chadburn | Longreads | April 2019 | 12 minutes (3,024 words)

This essay was supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a journalism nonprofit organization.

“One bad thing about me is that I don’t give a shit about the environment.” That’s what I told my smart, edgy friend when we were walking to get coffee one day. I admitted that I suck at recycling, and that what I care about is workers, “not like, being vegan and shit.”

“Yea fuck those bumper stickers with the panda on them,” she replied.

The truth is I didn’t think those worries were for me, the type of planning and research it takes to be green. That was a concern for people living a different quality of life, people who carried around large glass bottles filled with distilled water, ladies in lululemon pants who consistently applied Burt’s bees lip balm, ate cacao energy balls, and drove hybrid vehicles. No, caring about the planet was off limits for me.

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