By Tom Griffith, Martinez Environmental Group
The Community-Based Science for Action Conference begins this coming weekend! Co-hosted by Global Community Monitor, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, and Public Lab, it will be an opportunity for learning, sharing and networking with the goal of giving citizen scientists the tools to win cleaner communities.
The keynote speakers will be: Goldman Prize winner Hilton Kelley, and General Russel Honoré, commander of the Joint Task Force Katrina. In addition to a packed schedule of sessions, there will be a toxic tour on Saturday and a jazz dinner on Sunday.
On Saturday, November 15, a Toxic Tour centered on Coal Dust Testing in Plaquemines Parish, LA, will be led by Plaquemines Parish Community Monitors, Louisiana Sierra Club, and Gulf Restoration Network. The tour will include three communities in Plaquemines Parish:
- Ironton– Stop will include meeting with community leaders for local history. Discussion of the proposed coal export facility, RAM, directly adjacent to Ironton. View of the proposed Wetlands restoration project. Hear results of the current air monitoring project
- Myrtle Grove– Meet with community leaders & discuss issues about nearby coal export UNITED BULK terminal & lawsuit.
- Woodpark– Visit adjacent community of Woodpark, 250 feet from coal export operation.
Then it’s Saturday night in the Big Easy! Let the good times roll!
The conference proper begins on Sunday, November 16 at the historic Old U.S. Mint in New Orleans. Denny Larson of Global Community Monitor and Anne Rolfes from the Louisiana Bucket Brigade will open the event. Sunday’s keynote speaker will be Goldman environmental Prize winner Hilton Kelley.
The day will include a Community Success Stories panel with:
- Jackie James-Creedon, Citizen Science & Community Resources: Tonawanda Coke Campaign,
- Luis Olmedo, Comite Civico del Valle: IVAN Online,
- Jesse Marquez, Coalition for a Safe Environment: LA & Long Beach Ports, and
- Laura Cortez & Maria Reyes, Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma: LA & Long Beach Ports.
The panel will be followed by the day’s break out sessions. After the day’s work, participants can enjoy a leisurely walk to a hosted dinner in the French Quarter!
On Monday, November 17, the conference continues with a sampling tools demonstration, and welcome by Public Lab’s Shannon Dosemagen. Monday’s keynote speaker will be General Russel L. Honoré. His remarks will be followed by Monday’s break out sessions.
The timely and useful session themes for Sunday and Monday include:
- Community Science: Scientific research conducted by everyday people as part of a collective effort to improve environmental conditions in the area.
- Extreme Energy:Increasingly risky environmental and public health trade-offs are accepted as the status quo in the ravenous pursuit of energy.
- Partnerships: Successful collaborations amongst Community Based Organizations, Community Members, Non-profit Organizations, Academic Institutions, Foundations and/or Government Agencies.
- Advances in Technology: Developing innovative monitoring tools.
- Sharing: Communicating data and results to and with the public to educate and activate.
These break out sessions will be hosted by an impressive group of environmental and health activists:
Calvin Tillman, Shale Test; Ryan Grode, Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project; Becki Chall, Public Lab; Erica Gulseth, EarthJustice; Laura Cortez and Maria Reyes, Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma; David Fukuzawa, Kresge Foundation; Jesse Marquez, Coalition for A Safe Environment; Denny Larson, Ruth Breech, and Jessica Hendricks, Global Community Monitor; Jackie James-Creedon, Citizen Science & Community Resources; Joe Gardella, University at Buffalo (via WEB); Evan Marie Alison, Louisiana Bucket Brigade; Wilma Subra, Subra Company/Louisiana Environmental Action Network; Gwen Ottinger, Drexel University; Jill Kriesky; Scott Eustis, Gulf Restoration Network; Stephen Lester, Center for Health, Environment & Justice; Jeff Warren, Public Lab; Hilton Kelley, CIDA; Will Rostov, EarthJustice.
Check out the full schedule. Lots of exciting sessions and inspirational speakers. Don’t miss it!