Skip to content
Grist home
All donations doubled!

Articles by Muriel Alarcón

Muriel Alarcón is a Chilean journalist based in Santiago, Chile. She holds a master of arts degree, focused on science, environment, and health from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she was a co-recipient of the Joan Konner Fellowship Journalism of Ideas. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine and MIT Technology Review.

Featured Article

Fire blazes through Manuela Medina's clothes dump in the Atacama Desert on June 12, 2022.

This story was produced by Grist and co-published with El País. A Spanish-language version can be read here. Reporting was supported by the Joan Konner Program in the Journalism of Ideas.

On the morning of June 12, 2022, Ángela Astudillo, then a law student in her mid-20s, grabbed her water bottle and hopped into her red Nissan Juke. The co-founder of Dress Desert, or Desierto Vestido, a textile recycling advocacy nonprofit, and the daughter of tree farmers, Astudillo lives in a gated apartment complex in Alto Hospicio, a dusty city at the edge of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, with her husband, daughter, bunny, and three aquatic turtles. 

Exiting the compound, Astudillo pinched the wheel, pulled over next to a car on the side of the road, and greeted Bárbara Pino, a fashion professor, and three of her students, who were waiting inside. 

They headed toward a mountain of sand known as El Paso de la Mula. Less than a mile from her home, squinting into the distance, Astudillo saw a... Read more