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The Yonder Report: News from rural America - June 6, 2024

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News from rural America.

Audio file

Rural Americans get a lot more exposure to greenhouse gases than money to combat them, Colorado is running out of funds to feed hungry school kids, and Nebraska is documenting Latino residents' journey to the Great Plains.


(upbeat music)

For the Daily Yonder and Public News Service, this is the news from rural America.

Industrial air pollution and greenhouse gases impact a disproportionate number of rural Americans, while most goods made there are used in cities and suburbs.

Maria Dour is the lead author of a new report from the Rural Climate Partnership.

Rural America is the source of these emissions, but they are not the ones driving the demand that creates these emissions.

Dour's research shows more than a third of potentially toxic emissions are generated in rural America, mostly by energy production and agriculture.

Nearly half of that comes from power plants, with low income and rural communities of color most likely to face the health impacts.

Forty-seven percent of emissions from US power plants are based in rural America.

Not all that energy is being used locally.

That energy is being shipped out to the cities and suburbs.

Dour says priorities have to change because rural America gets little funding to help cut pollution, even though it's at the center of high emission industries.

Food justice advocates in Colorado want lawmakers to keep supporting a program that serves free breakfast and lunch to public school students.

Susanna Brown has more.

One in six Colorado children don't get adequate nutrition.

That's why Anya Rose with Hunger Free Colorado says the Healthy School Meals for All program is essential.

It's making a big difference for addressing food insecurity.

It's making Colorado a better place to live, a better place to raise kids.

The program started serving every K through 12 student during the 2023 school year, but participation was higher than expected and the money will run out at the end of next year.

Rose says it needs dedicated funding.

We're working on trying to bring forward a referred ballot measure that would raise additional funds for the program so that it could be fully implemented and sort of secure the future of the program.

I'm Susanna Brown.

In Nebraska, an oral history project is documenting Latino residents' journey to the Great Plains to create more understanding and community dialogue.

And for humanization of people who are frequently either villainized or just unknown.

Michelle Warren is a Spanish professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

She says the project, Coming to the Plains, uses interviews and video to illuminate the rich, diverse experiences of Nebraska's Spanish-speaking immigrants.

University archivist Lorena Weiss says they've long chronicled the state's early settlers, but at times have left out the challenges faced by immigrant families.

We wanted to make sure that all of our participants could access each other's materials and maybe find a sense of solidarity or learn from each other.

The project next plans to document other immigrant communities, like young Somali students whose families settled in Nebraska as refugees.

For the Daily Yonder and Public News Service, I'm Rose Brown.

For more rural stories, visit (upbeat music)