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Global Community Monitor’s work to protect the public from health threats will be featured on 60 Minutes on Sunday March 1st.
According to 60 Minutes’ own show notes:
After a seven-month investigation, 60 MINUTES found that Chinese-made laminate flooring sold in Lumber Liquidator outlets across the country contains amounts of toxic formaldehyde that may not meet health and safety standards. Anderson Cooper reports.
In July 2014, Global Community Monitor released independent lab tests showing that Chinese-made laminate flooring sold by the Lumber Liquidators chain emits formaldehyde at levels far above the level requiring cancer warnings under California law.
Protect your family
If you live in California and have purchased laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators in the past several years, you can find more information here.
Join the fight to protect our health
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.
The power of the Buckets continues to grow.
From August 4th through 7th, GCM staff participated in and co-sponsored our 3rd international conference. The Campaigner Training Workshop was organized by our India-based partner Community Environmental Monitoring (CEM) and held at Deer Park Institute in Bir, Himachal Pradesh.
We are proud to report that we met the goal of the workshop by training and empowering new and developing environmental and social justice campaigners with practical and important tools to immediately apply in the work of their local communities.
We had an incredible turn out with 50 participants attending the training. These participants came from all over India, nine Indian states were represented: Tamil Nadu, Nagalaand, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Kerala, Delhi, Sikkim, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. GAIA India co-sponsored the event with us.
Participants from the host facility, Deer Park, also attended with staff representing Sweden, the Czech Republic and Germany. Deer Park is a Zero Waste facility and is currently actively campaigning on the issue in Himachal Pradesh.
Participants are active on issues ranging from air toxics/communities and industrial pollution, forest rights, zero waste, waste picker rights, pollution and tourism, and hydroelectric project expansions.
The conference began with introductions about the issues and challenges each community is addressing, and the rest of the time focused on workshops covering campaign/organizer tools.
Sessions on campaign and organizer tools included: Researching Corporations, Media, Developing Campaign Materials, Use of Data & Graphs, E-Activism, Fundraising, Photography, Bio Monitoring, Air Monitoring and Fact-finding missions.
Sessions on specific laws were also covered: Right to Information Act, Environmental Impact Assessment, Forest Act, and Public Hearings.
Also, two case studies were examined more in depth: the industrial community of SIPCOT Cuddalore and the pesticide endosulfan.
The weekend closed with a feedback session that included comments from each participant.
We are proud to be helping grow the international environmental health movement and are inspired by the dedication and energy of the activists and organizers who participated in the training.
Hilton Kelley, a tireless environmental educator, advocate for human-rights justice and role model has dedicated a great part of his activism to tackling the oil giants such as Shell and its defenders at Port Arthur, Texas, his home town and current residence.
Port Arthur, Texas has been the site of frequent Civil Rights and Environmental Justice complaints regarding refinery and chemical plant pollution and regulatory failures by the state and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Mr. Hilton could not stand by and see the destruction that refineries were bringing to the health and livelihoods of his local community.
Global Community Monitor (GCM) is very proud that Hilton Kelley’s work has gone hand-in-hand with that of our organization.
In 2000, Hilton attended training on bucket brigade air monitoring given by Denny Larson, Executive Director of Global Community Monitor. Here he learned that he did not have to rely on the state of Texas, or refinery air monitors that kept showing that the air in his foul smelling community was “clean”.
Three years later, with GCM’s assistance with training, funding and on-going support, Hilton received non-profit status for his own organization, Community In Power and Development Association (CIDA). As the founder of CIDA, Mr. Kelley also currently serves as Secretary and Director of GCM.
In 2006, CIDA and GCM blocked Motiva’s (Shell subsidiary) permit from the state of Texas to expand their existing Port Arthur refinery. This would have more than doubled its current production, making it the largest refinery in the nation. CIDA and GCM won major pollution reductions, a multi-million dollar community development foundation, and community safety measures. GCM has made this model available and has worked with communities near dozens of similar refinery expansions.
Because of his commitment and perseverance, Hilton has been presented with several awards such as the Texas Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice Award in 2002, Woodmen of The World Life Insurance Society “Conservation Award” in 2005, “Houston Hero” Award by Citizen League for Environmental Action Now (CLEAN) in 2006, Damu Smith Environmental Achievement Award in 2008, the Houston-Galveston Environmental Research and Outreach (HERO) Award in 2009, among others.
In 2008 the City of Port Arthur declared July 1 “Hilton Kelley Day” in honor of his outstanding environmental efforts.
Hilton has taken his local fight of Port Arthur to other communities around the United States, and around the world. Hilton Kelley has moved his local struggle beyond protest, toward informed advocacy and collaborative engagement in a regional dialogue on environmental health. He is regularly invited as a keynote speaker and guest speaker at national and international conferences which main goals are to educate politicians, policymakers and the public in general on the social and environmental impacts of the oil industry to the quality of life of local communities.
How would you fight back?
California’s San Joaquin Valley suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the US, second only after Los Angeles in terms of short- and long-term particle pollution. This pollution drifts up a narrow canyon connecting the valley floor to pristine mountain paradise communities, such as Frazier Park.
To add to this pollution burden, the middle school is located adjacent to I-5, the main transportation corridor between Northern and Southern California. It has been documented that 18,000 trucks pass this middle school every day.
Watch the video to see how Frazier Park community members are fighting for clean air.
In light of the awards season, the Air Hugger would like to commemorate this week with a special award, the Fracky for outstanding achievement in creating unsafe communities in the category of Natural Gas production.
And the nominees are…
Read the rest of this entry »
Anyone who’s been to multiple Town Hall meetings is well aware that some are nothing more than a dog and pony show, a public relations attempt to credit the politician with caring about community concerns. Well, for all you activists out there – don’t get too jaded yet.
Jean Quan, Mayor of Oakland held her first town hall meeting in West Oakland on Saturday, February 5, and over 200 community residents attended! The meeting was even structured with break out groups, based on a variety of community topics ranging from public safety to the environment. Each group was able to discuss and list out solutions in order of priority, on giant pieces of butcher paper which were then handed over to the Mayor herself.
In case participatory democracy in Oakland politics isn’t a highlight enough, the community actually identified tangible solutions in which everyone in attendance could agree on! One solution even appeared as a top priority in two of the break out groups. Sounds like Mayor Quan knows exactly what she needs to work on – Relocating the Recyclers. Read the rest of this entry »
Can pollution from natural gas drilling or other heavy industry turn homes into “Unlivable Property”?
Beth Strudley, a homeowner in Silt Mesa, Colorado filed a Constructive Eviction claim with her insurance company after doctors told the family to get out of the house due to chemical exposure. Constructive Eviction is when outside circumstances render the house uninhabitable, circumstantially evicting a person or family from their home. Read the rest of this entry »
The latest in the fight against the contamination of our air and water from hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of drilling for natural gas, came out of the State of New York. On December 12, 2010, New York’s Governor issued an Executive Order banning new permits for high volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
A step in the right direction, right? Or is there something so fundamentally wrong with the law that you would laugh if the lives of community members were not at stake? Read the rest of this entry »
On December 15, 2010, GCM’s very own Board Member and long time community partner, Suzie Canales, sent a loud and clear message at the first ever White House Forum on Environmental Justice.
“I did not come here to be talked to. I came here because I thought I was going to be able to voice concerns,” Suzie, a fenceline neighbor from Corpus Christi, Texas, said to EPA head Lisa Jackson as she stood up at the front of the auditorium. “The ‘Plan EJ 2014’ — these are bureaucratic words on paper. They do nothing for these communities.” Read the rest of this entry »