In her book Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment, Sandra Steingraber writes, “We can change our thinking. Rather than viewing the chemical adulteration of our environment and our bodies as the inevitable price of convenience and progress, we can decide that cancer is inconvenient and toxic pollution archaic and primitive.”
A regular columnist for Orion Magazine, Steingraber is a cancer survivor who has taken her own experiences fighting the disease and created an impressive body of literary work — articles, books and poems — that chronicle the effects of industrial pollution on our bodies. Her latest book is called Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis, and in it she writes, “In the absence of federal policies that are protective of childhood development and the ecology of the planet on which our children’s lives depend, we serve as our own regulatory agencies and departments of the interior.”
She has arguably served as her own regulatory agency, contending that natural gas is even more dangerous for us than coal — “Fracking is not a bridge to the future. It is a plank on which we walk blindfolded at the point of a sword. There is no right way to do it.” She believes that natural gas is even more dangerous for us than coal.
The Sierra Club, which once dubbed her “the new Rachel Carson,” is another target. After Steingraber found out that the venerable environmental organization had secretly accepted $25 million from Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest gas drillers in the world, she wrote an open letter that began, “Dear Sierra Club, I’m through with you. Call some other writer your new Rachel Carson.” She continued, “The hard truth: National Sierra Club served as the political cover for the gas industry and for the politicians who take their money and do their bidding.”
She will discuss her work after the screening of the film Living Downstream, which tells the story of Steingraber’s life.
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