Spring 2011 – Post your “ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE” topical homework here:

  • Find and read an article (online or in print) and post a link or citation on your topic, with a sentence or two summarizing the most useful points, for at least one item per class meeting.
  • You may post additional links (with or without summaries) for some extra credit.
  • Note any important points from your book reading that connect with or inform your research topic.
  • Folks on other topic teams are welcome to make comments, suggest links, or anything else that would be helpful to this team (this will also earn you some extra credit).


    39 Responses to “ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE”

    1. beverly1748 Says:

      GMO FLASH MOB Sun, May 1st 10am-12pm
      [i’ll send the song words next]

      Dear Friends,

      I am writing to invite you to join our GMO Flash mob and to attend the practice on Sunday, May 1st, at the Live Oak Grange — 1900 17th Ave, from 10am-12pm. Please confirm by 28 April that you will be joining us. Feel free to invite others of all ages to the practice who you think would be interested in participating.

      Please memorize attached song and come prepared to be creative and have fun!

      What’s a GMO Flash Mob?
      It’s short, 5 minute or so political theater piece performed in a public setting, recorded on video, and posted on YouTube. The intent is to bring like-minded people in the community together to make a statement about a clear injustice in our food system and to proposed a solution for affecting change. Through spoken word and song we will explain how we are all being forced to eat GMOs, without our knowledge or consent. Our solution? Label GMOs and let the people decide whether to choose or refuse to eat GMO food, and not the large biotech companies like Monsanto!

      Three people will record our performance, the video will be edited, and posted on YouTube. Then, we need to work together to make the Flash Mob go viral and reach as many people as we can with our message. We do this by posting the video on Facebook, e-mailing it to friends, family, and colleagues, tweeting about it, and challenging others to do their own GMO Flash Mob.

      Watch Two Walmart Flash Mob Videos
      These will give you a sense of what a Flash Mob looks like.

      Flash mob with just singing:

      *People with videos & video editing experience*
      If you are one of the people willing to film and/or edit our Flash Mob, please contact me to discuss what we need to ensure that a high quality video is produced.

      Thanks to all of you for your interest in making this happen!

      I look forward to hearing from you and to making this a fun experience and fabulous video!


      Lisa J Bunin

      1. beverly1748 Says:

        Here’s the script:


        Flash Mob Spoken word:

        Actor 1: Do you know that you’re eating genetically modified ingredients in the packaged food you buy?

        Actor 2: Yeah! GMO foods are created in the laboratory by injecting genes from one unrelated species into another. It forces plants and animals express new and unnatural traits. And, it allows seed companies to patent our fooood.

        Actor 1: GMO tomatoes have been injected with flounder genes to promote frost resistance, and pigs have been injected with human growth genes to make them grow faster.

        Actor 2: What’s even scarier is that GMO corn contains toxic pesticides in every cell of the plant?

        Actor 3: Yuck! That’s creepy! Sounds like some weird type of Frankenfood!

        Actor 1: Yeah! You can’t avoid eating GMOs because they’re not labeled.

        Actor 2: Really, they’re not labeled?

        Actor 2: No, of course not. Companies, like Monsanto, know that if they label GMOs no one would buy them. Would you?

        All Actors: No way! We need GMO labeling right now!

        GM Food Democracy
        (Sung to the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic)
        Lyrics by: Lisa J. Bunin

        Mine eyes have seen the dangers
        Of those awful GMOs.

        They are being forced upon us
        By agribusiness, don’t you know.

        Addicting farmers to weed killers
        Polluting communities, oh no.

        Is our government protecting us?

        We don’t want to eat Monsanto’s GM foods!
        Selling them unlabeled is dece~ptive and rude!
        We don’t want to eat Monsanto’s GM foods!

        Label GM foods right now!

        Consumers want food labeled
        So we know what’s inside.

        If GMOs are good for us
        Why do they have to hide.

        Why not label GMOs
        Let consumers decide?

        Give us GMO transparency!

        We don’t want to eat Monsanto’s GM food!
        Selling them unlabeled is dece~ptive and rude!
        We don’t want to eat Monsanto’s GM food!

        Label GM foods right now!

        We’ve seen big corporations
        Patent public’s precious seeds.

        Farmers sued for saving those
        They used to freely breed.

        Failure of our government
        To serve people and not greed.

        Is killing our democracy.

        We don’t want to eat Monsanto’s GM food!
        Selling them unlabeled is dece~ptive and rude!
        We don’t want to eat Monsanto’s GM food!

        Label GM food right now!
        Label GM foods RIGHT NOW!

    2. FYI – found at least two spiral notebooks that look like they belong to people in this group – one blue one that’s bound at the top, one with pictures of kitties on the front. I left them in rm 432, on the cart near the door, under the TV.

    3. First I wanted to give a definition of Environmetnal Justice, because I feel like it can be a strange term to many people. Here it is, straight from the US EPA:

      Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations,and policies. Fair treatment means that no group of people, including racial, ethnic,or socioeconomic groups should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal state, local, and tribal programs and policies. Meaningful involvement means that: (1) people have an opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health; (2)public contribution can influence the regulatory agency �
      s decision; (3) their concerns will be considered in the decision making process; and (4) the decision makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected.


      Here is a local article concerning farm workers rights. This is a world wide problem. Low income wage laborers suffer greatly and often their issues are unrecognized. Statistics show that little has improved for these people. Here are some interesting findings:
      In 2005, 75 percent of individual farm workers and 52 percent of farm worker families earned less than $15,000 a year; in 1998, 80 percent earned less than $10,000 and three out of five families lived below the poverty line.

      In 1998 and in 2005, the typical farmworker had completed only six years of formal education.

      In 1990, 68 percent of farmworkers lacked health insurance; 15 years later, 70 percent went without.

      In 2000, 81 percent of male farmworkers and 76 percent of female registered unhealthy weights, and 28 percent of men and 37 percent of women were obese.

      In 2000, 18 percent of male farm workers had at least two of three risk factors for chronic disease, 33 percent had at least one decayed tooth, and male farm workers suffered from iron deficiency anemia at four times the rate of the general male population.

      1. ybeaudoin4 Says:

        Great topic! I remember watching a program that showed how pesticides used on these farms affected not only the workers, but their children also. It was heart wrenching to see.

      2. ybeaudoin4 Says:

        Found this information from cdc:

        Here’s another site:

    4. beverly1748 Says:

      if corporations paid their taxes, not only would social services, schools & jobs be saved but there might also be money to develop much needed renewables to save the environment, save the planet.
      hope you’ll sign the petition & pass it on.


    5. http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_17703399

      Water is such a huge topic in the world. One of the biggest issues world wide is access to clean water. It is important to understand where your water comes from, instead of just turning on the tap, get informed. If more people were aware of the complicated issues underlying water politics I think people would be much more willing to cut back their excessive water usage. This article really brings up the questions of anthropocentrism versus bio-centrism. Do we sacrifice convenience for another species well being?

      If this article peaked your interest attend these meetings regarding the issues

      Desalinization Plant Debate

      Representatives from the city of Santa Cruz and the Soquel Creek Water District will debate members of Santa Cruz Desal Alternatives on the question of a proposed desalination plant.

      7-8:30 p.m. April 14

      First Congregational Church, 900 High St., Santa Cruz

      City Council Meeting

      Discussion of elements to be included in the city’s future Habitat Conservation Plan

      4 p.m. April 5

      City Council Chamber, 809 Center St.

    6. beverly1748 Says:

      …more facts about water worldwide & its affect on people’s lives on World Water Day. another organization, The Hunger Project that i’ve contributed to for years, is doing something worldwide about water & sanitation which is helping to improve quality of life & saving lives.


      1. kirsd Says:

        Water is so crucial. without it we cannot live. and what happens when we lose access to clean water sources? right now im really concerned about Japan. The radiation levels in the tap water are exceeding what is considered safe for children under one and nearly that safe for adults. if you ask me, any radiation in a water source is alarming. Right now bottled water is being imported and sent as relief to japan like crazy. first off the water is contaminated and the only water drinkable has to be sent there. secondly what is going to happen to all of the plastic from the bottles? this is a major problem. not to mention the exposure that the plant works and citizens are experiencing in both extremes. the earth is shaking and our solutions to problems are creating another cyclical problem.


    7. beverly1748 Says:

      Today is World Water Day & multinationals are forcing privitization of water, i.e. profits over people, while 1/5 of the world’s population has no access to clean water. Please read more & sign this petition:


    8. ybeaudoin4 Says:

      Ecuador Judge Orders Chevron to Pay $9 Billion


      This 17 year legal battle was “one of the largest judgments ever imposed for environmental contamination in any court,” states David M. Uhlmann, an expert in environmental law at the University of Michigan. However, Chevron intends to appeal the case, stating that there was fraudulent activity involved during the proceedings. The Ecuadorean villagers and tribes will also appeal due to the damages and aftermath that occurred. The amount awarded was not the original amount promised by Chevron. What continues to infuriate me is the fact that Chevron is fighting the ruling, considering they originally agreed to pay $20 billion for the damage and destruction to the land and the people.

    9. African Farmers Displaced as Investors Move In

      This is a terrible example of governments having no possible sense of moral reasoning. This is such a blatant injustice against these people. The United Nations being in favor of it, stating its benefits for the villagers working for the large commercial farms moving in is ridiculous. It seems hard to believe that the UN has any interest in the well being of the locals, instead of the profiteering for big business. Interesting that this mentions Qaddafi as the owner. This article was posted December 21, 2010, right before the outbreak in Libya. I would be very interested to know what became of this, since Libyan insurgent citizens want to strip him of basically all of his wealth and the US issued a freeze on all of his assets. On a lighter note, something good happening in Africa! My friend Dani working in impoverished villages in Africa to teach people about permaculture and how to grow substantial amounts of food. All without any terrible monocropping and large scale farming. Permaculture FTW!

      1. ybeaudoin4 Says:

        Thank you for your post and the positive news at the end. It’s often difficult to remember to be hopeful when you read an article like this. I just think of the displaced families and how fellow human beings can act so barbaric to one another. All in the name of money, greed and power.

    10. dpjollygreen Says:

      As long as we’re posting links I may well add one.


      Mines along rivers typically have a sluice that runs down into the river, filling it with vast amounts of silt, basically stuff they’ve filtered through looking for whatever and are now disgarding in order to proceed further into the mountain. The silt makes it difficult for fish life to breath and basically chokes out anything with gills. Some would say that they’re just fish, but to those who fish it’s a way of life and a means to feed their families.

    11. ybeaudoin4 Says:


      I found this posting that has links to other supporting articles. It talks about mercury exposure and the effects on the body. For those who at the worst exposure, such as miners, there is little to no help for them. The posting continues to discuss the diamond mining industry and those attempting to make a difference.
      It has opened my eyes to the fact that while we may have good intentions and take action to help, we must see things through to the end.

      1. kirsd Says:

        mercury is so dangerous and seems to be in everything now. as if the ways in which we build homes on water tables, dig into the earth to extract coal, or consume the mercury content in our fish isnt enough we inject this dangerous heavy metal into our bodies. Vaccinations contain Thimerosal which is a compound that is 49.6% mercury by weight. It has been part of the manufacture of many vaccines since the 1930s to kill bacteria that might enter the vaccine during the production process and as a preservative to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination of vaccines during their clinical use. Many opponents to vaccinations argue that this mercury exposure is now linked to the widespread occurrence of Alzheimer’s and autism. This is alarming seeing as vaccinations are required for children to attend public schools. Without these shots they can not attend school and through receiving them their parents are exposing them to potentially very dangerous compounds. Heres a link to an interview by environmental lawyer Robert Kennedy Jr with Dr. Boyd Haley a leading international expert on mercury toxicity. http://youtu.be/9njQLK9AVyg

      2. kirsd Says:

        related, there are other instances where vaccinations are not only potentially dangerous but when wrongfully administered can cause life instances which would not have happened otherwise. this articles about a toddler who developed a rare case of leukaemia after being wrongfully given a vaccination to prevent cervical cancer. its just shows we really just dont know what were doing. were moving away from a method of living with the land where everything in our environment had a purpose and was a possible cure. were losing our knowledge of the cure and instead are giving our kids diseases.


      3. beverly1748 Says:

        thank you so much for finding & posting this. i am glad to have listened to the whole interview & i am really pissed at the medical industryin general & my doc specifically. i have a chronic auto immune disease which causes a compromised immune system so i was told by the doc to get a flu shot esp because of my tendency toward respiratory illnesses. before getting the shot i spoke with the person administering it asking about the dangers of thimerasol. she assured me that she had just been to a professional seminar on the subject & was told that the amount of thimerasol in the flu injection was equivalent to that in a serving of salmon, which is supposed to have the lowest amounts of mercury of fish. within a couple of hours i had full-blown flu and continued to have it for 7 months with only 2 periods of 2 wks without it. my doc claimed, as she always does when i have a drug reaction, that it was probably a coincidence. i didn’t get one for the next 2 yrs & have not had the flu. also, i have seen documentaries where parents have said that within hours or days their children went from perfectly normal to perfectly messed up & autistic after vaccinations.
        correction about one of the comments below: you CAN enter school without vaccinations if you say that it is against your religious beliefs. i did this with my son. on the other side of it, when my daughter was 8 months old & hadn’t had any vaccinations, she was exposed to a child from the Waldorf School here in S.C. where there was a huge epidemic of whooping cough (the pertussis part of the DPT shot) because no one was vaccinating their kids at that school. my daughter was rushed to the ER unable to breathe & had to stay in the hospital for a long time & could have died (75% of deaths from whooping cough occur in children <2y.o.). i was really scared & became an advocate for vaccinations. also, as a child myself during the '50's, many children were crippled for life by polio & we were advised not to swim in public pools because it was believed to be passed along in that way. that disease has been eradicated in this country. so, it is not just an easy black & white issue, but i appreciate this info & will pass it along to my doc.
        btw, the robert kennedy in this interview is the son of assasinated Senator Robert Kennedy & nephew of assinated President John F. Kennedy and he is a tireless environmental activist.

    12. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/striking-pcb-levels-found-at-new-york-school/#more-92554

      Thought this article was interesting. I think it is key that this is happening at public schools in lower income urban areas. To quote an interesting comment that sums this up that left by a reader on February 24th, 2011 “It will be interesting to see which schools are fixed first… I’ll wager they won’t be the ones in districts where the average income is below $50K…. not enough donor dollars there.”

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