Photo: Tamara Leigh Photography for the Goldman Environmental Prize
“Warning! One or more of the chemical substances present in this facility have been found by the State of California to cause cancer, congenital and reproductive diseases.” Smoke billowing from the oil wells of the Allen Drilling Company intruded into the first photo of Nalleli Cobo. The smoke was incessant in front of the gate from which this inscription ominously looks out. It is the second photo in our post, here we tell the story of an environmental heroine in Los Angeles.
The sign in question reads in two languages, English and Spanish. For some time now, the world has been discussing ecological racism. There is also talk of it in University Park, a neighborhood where an oil rig has sprung up. We do not know whether the windows of Nalleli’s apartment show the city’s most famous sign, the monumental one on “Hollywood” hill.
Oil flows everywhere but is only mined in certain neighborhoods.
What is certain is that the darting expanses of oil wells, plunging drills into the ground with an equally ominous rhythm, have never gone as far as the slopes of Beverly Hills. Oil flows beneath the ground along random tracks. Who knows then if it flows, or if it stays stagnant in large black caverns. In any case, it is only mined in certain neighborhoods. The writing on the new signs Nalleli posts with her mother reads “People Not Oil Wells,” again in English and Spanish.