Radical Joy Revealed
October 8, 2014

Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places. We hope you'll enjoy these doorways into places that are both familiar and surprising, and we welcome your suggestions, stories, and photos. Click here to subscribe.

A Little Green in a Sad Place
Activist Rosa Amaro in lead-poisoned La Oroya
Rosa Amaro in her community of La Oroya, Peru.
Photo by Cecilia Niezen/Oxfam America.

La Oroya, Peru has consistently earned the dubious distinction of being named one of the world's 10 Most Toxic Places by Blacksmith Institute, an organization that monitors international environmental conditions. Since 1922 this town high in the Peruvian Andes has hosted a smelter for lead, copper, zinc, and sulfur dioxide. As a result, levels of lead in the blood of residents is three times that of the World Health Organization's acceptable limit, and 99% of the children who live there suffer from lead poisoning.


The American-owned mining company that ran the smelter, Doe Run Peru, went bankrupt five years ago and pulled out. The bad news about that is that most of the town was employed by DRP and many are out of work. The good news, of course, is that the land has slowly begun to recover. Rosa Amaro, a local activist, says, "You don't feel the chemical fumes in the air, and you can even see some green coming out of the ground. We would love it if it would remain the way it is right now."


Even in such heartbreakingly dire conditions people are able to see and celebrate a surprising and welcome gift of beauty from the Earth.



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On June 21 people around the world went to wounded places, shared their stories of what the places mean to them, spent time getting to know the places as they are now, and made a simple act of beauty there. To see the photos of the 5th annual Global Earth Exchange, visit our website. To read the stories click on the little "pins" on our world map.
Radical Joy for Hard Times is a global community dedicated to finding and making beauty in wounded places. Reconnecting with these places, sharing our stories of loss and despair, and making acts of beauty there, we transform the land, reconnect people and the places that nourish them, and empower ourselves to make a difference in the way we live on Earth.
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2014 Radical Joy for Hard Times | | trebbe@radicaljoyforhardtimes.org |