Updates Oct - Dec 99
The grass-roots environmental movement is largely invisible. Thousands of groups are working at the local level but they have no way to learn about each others existence, and therefore no easy way to communicate. A journalist looking for a grass-roots perspective on environmental problems or job safety may not know who to call. Someone concerned about policy at the state or federal level may not be able to find anyone who can provide a community-based perspective on environment-and-health problems.
The RACHELS staff has begun a project to identify local groups working on any aspect of "environment and health," including, of course, occupational safety and health. We call it, Making the Movement Visible.
Groups that are working on any aspect of "environment and health" at the community level are invited to add themselves to our public database of grass-roots environmental groups on the world-wide web (www.rachel.org). Naturally, organizations that service the needs of grass-roots community groups or job-safety groups are also welcome. To list your group (or some other group that you admire), just go to the "organizations" section of our web site (www.rachel.org) and add your group to the list. (Note:
Your listing will not become public immediately, so you may not see it for a few days. We review all entries, to prevent fake groups from being added to the list.) No matter where you are workingin Iowa, Ixtapa, or Istanbulif you have a community or workplace perspective on health and environment, please add your group to the database. Lets all do ourselves a big favor and Make the Movement Visible! Check yourself in at www.rachel.org.
It's interesting to observe the quick denials by the critics of the cancer maps just posted in the newspapers, radio, television, and on the Internet by the NYS Department of Health. These figures may give credence to a growing concern the public has with the spread of some cancers. Perhaps the critics are fearful that the public might believe that these figures may point forcefully to the countless allegations that discharges from local industries are the cause for many kinds of cancers.
What is interesting is that the critics are probably correct in stating that it would be incorrect to say that these figures prove any alleged connection with cancer and the location of industries. (Remember, John Travolta did lose his case in Civil Action.)
The hue and cry of these critics may well herald a litany of lawsuits before the door of the courtroom. For these figures, while they may not prove a cause and effect relationship at present, they probably will in the future. These welcomed figures, gathered under the impressive auspices of the New York State Health Department, are what many a tobacco company now must admit is the kind of camel's-nose peril that finally led to the proliferation of successful litigation against them.
Once provable facts and figures are brought against polluters, it creates a flood of such cases. Facts, in their fashion, when supported by good science and backed by a trustworthy agent, are most devastating. Facts give to the years of hearsay, opinion, assumptions, feelings, and public clamor the final bite they need to destroy deniability.
11/01/99: In Environmental Action, I've been contributing to these online petitions: