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'Excuse me, excuse me - you are not listening to me'

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I learn so much from my sister, Carol. She teaches me about being in the moment and listening. Carol, who was born with Down syndrome, has limited communication skills. If she is in a group and feels left out and "can't get a word in edgeways," as my mother used to say, she taps me on the shoulder and says, "Excuse me, excuse me. You are not listening to me."

In the last few weeks, there were a number of times when people and events relating to the environment tapped me on the shoulder insistently with "Excuse me, excuse me. You are not listening to me."

Nuclear legacy issues

Grants, N.M. (population 9,224), nicknamed the "Uranium Capital of the World," recently hosted yet another permit-hearing addressing cleanup of the Barrick Gold (Homestake) uranium mill site. The legacy of the nuclear age lives on in New Mexico, which has more than 450 of some 520 abandoned mines and mills in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The sites are the source of contamination of tens of millions of gallons of groundwater and countless acres of land, the brunt of which is Navajo. Health risks only now being studied seem to link cumulative exposure to lung cancer, asthma, cancer, kidney disease, hypertension, heart disease and autoimmune dysfunction. Catholic understandings on sacrifice take on new meaning for me as I live within a state known as the "U.S. sacrificial zone."

Read the full story at Global Sisters Report.

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September 26-October 9, 2014

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