Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Homophobia’s Hidden Carbon Count | Orion Magazine

Homophobia’s Hidden Carbon Count | Orion Magazine

So, this is the thing--my story, told above is just one of hundreds. Do the math on all the reasons that women don't take the bus at night and add that to the need to put one aspect of your physical safety above another. The pollution that is created by driving instead of using the bus ends up disproportionately impacting me and other women, low-income folks and kids living near raods.

The carbon count is part of the web. The one most visible.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

EPA Study Shows Poverty Is a Risk Factor for Heart Disease | Environmental Justice

EPA Study Shows Poverty Is a Risk Factor for Heart Disease | Environmental Justice

So, this is not new news but it does add to what I think is important.  We use the term "at risk"  when talking about endangered species of other living creatures. They are "at risk" of extinction. That is what ESA is intended to keep from happening. As you know,  my question is " R U Endangered?" What I mean by that is what this article highlights. If you are from a group of people that is an "at risk" group for premature death linked to environmental hazards then why shouldn't you be protected as an endangered person?

Join me at the Panama Hotel Tea House in Seattle for a community conversation. Share your ideas. MONDAY, APRIL 21 @ 6:30 pm

607 S Main St, Seattle, WA 98104

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Warning Signs: How Pesticides Harm the Young Brain | The Nation

Warning Signs: How Pesticides Harm the Young Brain | The Nation

Environmental Protections exist for Endangered Species when they are on the brink of extinction. What will we do to protect our habitat ( water, food and shelter) before individuals, their families and their neighborhoods are on the brink of irreversible catastrophe?

It is is important to find out what puts you and the people like you at risk and then organize and demand policy and practice changes to protect you and the other humans you love, know and don't know.

Monday, February 3, 2014

At Risk | Orion Magazine

At Risk | Orion Magazine

"Despite my comfort, I am acutely aware that I am at-risk"
Everyday I see myself crossing the intersections of race, culture, and environment. I have built an organization and my work at Urban Wilderness Project around magnifying those intersections because doing so gives me hope. It is clear that our fates are tangled. I hope that understanding how will move us to creating the change in our own lives that will benefit the whole.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Here is a little background on BPA.

The advice is like saying air quality is terrible today, stay inside. Hmm, how can I get to work? Buy groceries without breathing? While this might be a bit of hyperbole, it is pretty hard to avoid BPA. I have been working on it for a few years.

Oh, I know...what if the people in charge of our health said the risks were too high for long term public health protections? It might be easier to avoid if it wasn't everywhere.


BPA levels in fetal livers higher than adult exposures. — Environmental Health News

BPA levels in fetal livers higher than adult exposures. — Environmental Health News

So, not all of us can have our blood tested and prove our exposures to an onslaught of chemicals we can not avoid, but we can count on there presence in our bodies. The thing is it is a slow poisoning. At the level of daily exposures this chemicals does not produce acute symptoms or if it does we are not yet aware of the link. How much chronic illness can we tolerate? Obesity? We'd like to just blame that on the fast food, but we are learning that chemicals are disrupting the way our bodies function. Couple these stress factors in your body's eco-system with other stresses and estimate your risk of pre-mature death. That is the technical term for what we say at funerals, " She was young." Or, really only 58?

How many legs must be lost to the quiet bomb of diabetes? The fuse of endocrine disruption is lit. It has been for a long time. In some communities, where people have been disproportionally eating canned foods, the lining of which is BPA, how are the rates for obesity and diabetes? We have been spending a long time looking at what is in the can as unhealthy, now we know it is also the can itself.

How many generations of people are already walking around with livers that were exposed to BPA in the womb? What will their health outcomes be later and how will we know which chemical to attribute it to? Oh, that's right, we won't because there are lots of endocrine disrupting chemicals we are exposed to daily. It's a win/win for the those who do not have to take financial responsibility for the health crisis.

What if they had were required to mitigate the cost for the use of their product in support of individuals who consume their products? Like in England where there is a fee for excessive packing materials. Companies have to pay for the disposal.  Hmm. Now there is an economic incentive.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I decided to talk about being injured  because focusing on pedestrian safety and the impacts that non-fatal accidents can have on an individual, a family, an organization and a community may help people "Slow down, think about the impact you can have."  That is what the blue signs in Seatle read. These blue signs have replaced the yellow "Stop for me it's the law" signs that were everywhere when I moved to Seattle in the late '90's.

I am one person who relatively speaking suffered less harm than many others may have, but 15 months after being hit by a car while walking in the crosswalk, with the light, I am still recovering. A broken leg and a broken ankle are nothing compared to traumatic brain injury and other horrifying changes that could have taken place as a result of being hit. Still, my work as an outdoor leader and my lifestyle as a walker and biker has changed. And NO, I didn't "get paid." Being hit is not like winning the lottery as some people seem to think, and others joke about in movies like "Office Space."  In fact, being hit by a car or a bus is often the punch line in a movie.

My situation is no laughing matter. Bodies don't endure even the slow ( 20 mph) of a car.  In fact, there is a legal term for my condition, it is called "not being made whole" by the settlement. 
Sounds biblical doesn't it?  

 It means there wasn't enough money to put humpty dumpty back together again. Not physically, not mentally, not emotionally and not financially. Not good.

I was hit by driver not paying attention  about two weeks AFTER recommitting to being greener by giving up our family car. Ironic? It opened the door for understanding a lot of issues and the connections to sustainability. Those connections are the subject of my new collection of flash non-fiction essays titled, Black and Blue and Green All Over: My Fight for Sustainability. Soon to find the perfect publisher.

I would like to help other people protect themselves as they go greener. My hope is to that by sharing my story, the story of a youth in my program whose grandmother was hit and killed and the story of a volunteer for our organization who was hit while riding her bike people will see that an accident has tremendous and preventable ripples.
Pedestrian safety is just one of the musings. There are lots of ways that our fight for sustainability could be a TKO.