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Kern County California may seem like a modern-day Mesopotamia because of its richness in natural resources, but the county is plagued by a multitude of problems: agricultural pollution, such as groundwater contamination and pesticides, and the usurpation and depletion of land by oil and industrial corporations.

My name is Kristy González and I was born and raised in Bakersfield, California—the county seat of Kern. I grew up completely unaware of the proximity of danger to my home. Less than 100 feet away from my house is an alfalfa field, another 20 feet away is an almond orchard, and adjacent to that is a grape vineyard—each of these fields, and consequently my neighborhood, are sprayed seasonally with toxic pesticides. Some wonder why people live so close to agricultural farmlands. For those of us living in Kern County, it’s due to the takeover of land by large oil corporations.

Unfortunately, the people of Kern County are the ones most affected by these problems. Perhaps the only way to better the county is to shed light on the stories of Kern’s people.

 

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