2011IndiaConfJessicaWhile GCM focuses on clean air, we are about people: the fenceline neighbors, our generous donors, and our staff.

So for this AirHugger post, we want to highlight on of the key individuals that is GCM: Jessica Hendricks, Program Manager.

She’s also a regular voice here on AirHugger!

1) You have a strong background and interest in social justice work. What drew you to work with GCM?

JH: I’ve always been committed to social justice issues but know environmental issues are crucial for my generation.

GCM offers the perfect mix of human rights, social justice and environmental issues.

We’re not just talking about composting at home and using energy efficient light bulbs –we are holding huge corporations responsible for their impact on the environment as well as community health. Should companies actual profit off of the health of their neighboring community members?

2) What has been the wildest experience as a GCM trainer?

JH: Wyoming!!  The community members we’re working with continue to blow my mind.  These folks are the complete opposite of what you’d imagine an environmentalist to be.

Many are ranchers wearing cowboy hats and own multiple weapons – shotguns, rifles, handguns, knives, etc. – and they’re all over the place: one in the truck, one under the bed, one by the door.

I had to take a moment and realize I’m not in California anymore. On top of that they make jokes about who didn’t wash their hands after castrating a bull.

Yet, one of the community leaders (gun, cowboy hat and all) teared up when thinking about the fracking well that has just been drilled at the spot where he proposed to his wife.

I realized that these issues we’re working on cross a lot of boundaries.

We’re not just a Bay Area environmental group. We’re part of something bigger. Something that greatly impacts the health and safety of everyone’s health.

Normally when we ask for health impacts from community members, we get things like sore throats, burning eyes, etc.  In Wyoming, we’ve got seizures, brain damage, fainting, growths/lumps.  The whole thing was so real that it was almost surreal.

I knew at that moment that, there is nothing else I could be doing right now, nothing that is more important.