The Goldman Environmental Prize is perhaps the most important—and generous—environmental tribute of its kind with an annual financial award that goes to grassroots environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continents. My Toxic Reality is about one of the winners, Hilton Kelly, who saw a need for someone to take a stand in his community of Port Arthur, Texas, a place where eight petrochemical refining facilities lord over that town’s residential areas. Hoping to reverse the severe economic and environmental decline of his hometown, and reduce the alarming incidence of respiratory and cancer-related illness, Kelly spent years learning all he could about policies governing industrial pollution. Then he galvanized his community to take action—to clean up historical damage and degradation and protect against future threats.
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