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Love Canal - notes 1801

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York University
BIOL 1000
Nicole Nivillac

CitizenActivism for Environmental Health: The growth of a powerful New Grassroots Health Movement Abstract: Love Canal crisis- 2003 - 900 families had to relocate due to a leaking toxic waste dump with the help of community organization they were able to get enough power. They sparked new social justice movements. They said they were being targeted on purpose due to their economic crisis. The movement said that it's not only about justice and human rights but also about public health and environment  2003 marks the 25th anniversary of this movement/crisis- overcame multibillion dollar company and government - tells us that we the citizens can gain power to win their struggles  this movement awakened people to the toxic environment and to the environmentally linked health problems  new movement is to fight for the right to clean air, water, food, soil grows everyday – linked too health just not to keep the environment natural  grassroots strategy: build power at the local and state level in a good amount if states to influence federal level representatives and policies  traditional environmentalism used legislative strategies  main difference: traditional was focused in regulations/ grassroots is used to prevent - questions like why are there alternatives  both strategy has same goal: protection of the environment- both combined can create a huge difference  grassroots: important achievement is to build a diversified base if support - broad and deep includes workers, people of color, aboriginals, faith based organizations and rural/urban families , doctors, nurses, teachers transform the health care industry  what must society choose jobs or protection of the environment - grassroots leader say industries should follow practices that does not harm the environment or health The chosen ones  chosen ones are the community targeted by polluting industries - usually working class, low income, colors communities  grassroots believe these communities are purposely targeted hence it becomes justice and human rights movement as well not just about the environment  report by Carell Associates and a memo by Eply associates provide compelling evidence that communities are chosen  Carell report published: government said it did not represent the industry nor am approach to sitting  Eply memo:. Identify that these industries are put in places in which communities are least likely to resist (in both reports)  Chatham County:. Agreed to it due to the ample evidence - described the site election process - meeting in which 21 sites are possible and choose one - in the meeting sites are eliminated  those that make this decision are making economic decisions that violate human rights  the decisions they make are not scientifically based - pose a threat to human health  people of low income and color are forced to take these risks - mayor Bloomberg even admitted to this Fighting back  what these corporations and government do not know is that even these communities will fight back to keep - put their lives in the line  since these people put everything at stake their children and their homes which is all they have which is why they usually win  Carrying signs, held batches, undertaken civil disobedience is what they usually do- they wouldn’t have thought of doing this why? Law abiding citizens going against government big step to take  Fredrick Douglas: "He who wants change without struggle is like the farmer who wants crops without plowing". Control, confusion and conflict  groups that work within the system influence the sitting process face obstacles  the government pretend as if their interested when in reality they aren't  community leaders believe that when the truth is exposed the right thing will happen which causes the leaders to work day and night to prepare experts that will testify on their behalf  when the hearing comes and the people say what they want they realize no one cares and their information is not paid attentions to  the entire public participation process is basically to exclude the people that are affected the most by the sitting process  the hearing is scheduled at a time that is difficult for the people to attend. They attend and are only allowed 3 to 5 minutes to speak while the professionals are five two hours for both sides when the people are given chance what they say is unsupported or unscientific  the leaders know for that community to be the chosen one has to do with demographics not science but their still told to give scientific evidence The demand for absolute proof  grassroots leader need to overcome an obstacle to prove that the chemicals are saying true health problems it's not the polluters that need to prove this the burden of this is put onto people that are being effected. This is unjust and serves corporate interests at the experience if protecting public health  grassroots leader use common sense as their guide- their best asset is common sense and the people -  in almost every instance the claims made by the people have been proven correct by scientists  Woburn Massachusetts-.mothers discovered that the children that were drinking from the same well water were getting leukemia but when they bought this to the state they said there was no connection so they gave these maps that showed the cases of leukemia near pipelines from the same exact drinking water to the media health officials politicians - many years later the ester supply was closed down  san Jose California- mothers realized that many children in their neighbourhood were born with identical heart birth effects-.connected to water supply -.took years of fighting and pushing to prove it and shut down the contaminated water  Texas: cluster of children that were born with brains outside of skills instead of inside.Arizona and. New York: large number of boys with same testicular cancer  in each of these situations their concerns were bought to the authorities who made fun of their claims but eventually it was proven correct Movement on the rise  As more communities discussed events with each other they realized certain communities were purposely being chosen to be placed at risk from chemicals in the environment  they had to change this and did this by going out of the normal behaviour out on streets and stuff  movement began to grow and more and more communities joined in  workshops and meetings held to discuss how to do health survey or what type of testing is required to define a link between contamination and health affects  mass media began to cover different stories which strengthened the movement  thus movement is a serious organized network -, no office but the groups are connected through loose networks like spider web  it had strong base and encourages development of new leaders independence  these groups difficult to disrupt because it's not one single group but a bunch of groups /Accomplishments  grassroots achieved a lot in past two decades - laws have been passed  superfund: provides a pool of money to clean up hazardous waste sites up to 50 grand to hire technical experts - recycling is now important  1 thousand landfills closed  1982: grassroots leaders had a discussion to stop the landfilling hazardous waste - force corporations to leave how? Make it more expensive to bury waste than to reduce and reuse materials or substitute less hazardous materials how to do this? Close existing land fills from being built and increase transportation costs to ship wastes  it has been working- no federal law that prohibits the use of toxic waste but the people won't allow it to happen  passage if right to know legislation: began as worker issue workers that worked in plants wanted to know what they were working with  formed a coalition with nonlabor organizations and passed city specific right to know laws  other cities joined in problematic for the corporations why? Release of the information on the chemicals and having to fill out a different form for each city  this caused the right to know law to be passed  grassroots use same strategy for other issues - stopping Styrofoam packing  campaign eventually became big everyone began to join it restaurants began to say to Styrofoam. Eventually McDonald's banned with the continuation of many other stores banning it including schools and stuff  February 1994- bill Clinton signed executive orders on environmental justice issues in response to the powerful organized efforts of many other groups : it acknowledges that communities of color and los income communities receive more than their fair share of polluting industries and waste sites  provides guidance for federal and state agencies to examine whether communities of color or low income dress at being targeted on purpose and to review if cleanup process is different - used to stop dangerous facilities from being built Moving the movement beyond single issues  the public thought that Love Canal was an isolated issue but there were 30 grand other potential Love Canals  presumption of safety ended in 1994 when the effects of dioxin were released which causes cancer, depression to the immune system and causes developmental problems, infertility, skin disorders, children to get learning disabilities, attentions deficit disorder developmental problems  dioxin was given through food and even when mother breast feed their children  this gave grassroots an opportunity to reach a bigger public - Stop Dioxin Exposure campaign goal was to get to a sustainable society where dioxin was not present  worked with many different people from different professions - more than different people came to the third conference and coalitions were built  this caused Clinton to issue another executive order - Protection of Children from environmental health risks and safety risks- federal agencies to make it a high priority to use tofu and asses environmental health risks and safety risks that affect children Forming Coalitions  powerful coalitions are a good model for both broadening the movement and deepening it's impact  example: health care without harm : organization that transform the health care industry’s practices and purchases to eliminate pollution without compromising safety and care  how? Replace toxic products with safe alternatives- pressured Kaiser Permanente to change it's practices. Just as McDonalds was pressured before - big company change leads to little company change  other segments worked to identity the products and alternatives - close down of the medical waste incinerators and to lass locals laws around dioxin  dioxins resolutions were introduced in towns duties and counties  eventually Kaiser decided to phase out the use of plastics with chlorine after a debate Broaden the reach deepen the i
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