Compassion Verses Greed, Environmental Activism
Environmental and Human Rights activism-Click thumbnail to view full-size
Human Rights and the Environment are Entertwined
Human Rights, and the environment.
These two causes are intertwined more often than not.
When we look at the areas of North American U.S. who are riddled with the worst pollution, we will see poorer inhabitants, who are often in less educated States. Native Tribal Lands have been where in the past, not even thought of as human, they were not given a voice, and their lands are filled with "Bad Rocks," toxicity.
I live in Region 6 of the Environmental Protection Agency. We are the model of "pay to play" methodology of polluting land, air and water.
Region 6 consists of 66 Tribes, and the States of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico.
Industry is required to be permitted to pollute. In the Regulation industry of Region 6, that is called "Pay to Play".The first steps of the permitting process require an industry or business, who will be emitting some type of pollution to apply for permits.
They usually use engineering firms who specialize in helping industries get permitted. In the initial stages of permitting, once paperwork has been submitted to the State or Tribal Agencies 'protecting' the Environment (ADEQ, TECQ, ODEQ, NMED, and MyEnvironment for Louisiana. Each Tribe has it's own agency).
Public notices must be published in the newspapers, and let the citizens know what type of industry is applying for what kind of pollution permit; where the source will be located, what type of pollutants, and how much will be emitted.
The public notice is required, and some permits even require the notice, and public meetings. Public notices are usually ignored by the general public, as a bunch of fine print in the Public Notices portion of the newspaper. Located in the back of newspapers, and available at local libraries, they are easy to ignore, and harder for the average reader to understand..
Helpful links for average citizens who would like to have more of a voice
- Environmental Protection in Indian Country | US EPA
Tribal Portal has been developed to help American Indian communities and supporters locate tribal related information within EPA and other government agencies. The American Indian Environmental Office coordinates the Agency-wide effort to strengthen
- Laws & Regulations | US EPA
For on-line updates and information regarding environmental laws and regulations
Who Do Your Legislators Represent? Industry or You?
Public Meetings and Public Notices
Public notices are published in the newspaper everyday in the US. They are also held in Public Libraries so that the public can see proposed permits or other environmental permitting changes, show up at meetings, writing letters or make phone calls to have their will known.
It is a great system except for the average reader does not comprehend what is noted in public permitting notices.
These days more meetings are held in places where a person must pay to park, be guests in expensive hotels, or travel too many miles to attend.
A few years ago, when us environmentalists were fighting against the coal companies dirty operating habits, a major public meeting was held at a Hilton Hotel with only 3 days notice given.
The average person who is most affected by the storage of the waste by-products of a coal processing outfit does not have the elasticity of missing work to attend a meeting held out of town at a luxury hotel where parking is valet.
The average citizen does not understand regulatory language and can be put off immediately trying to make heads or tails of the permitting process.
College educated engineers, and industrial lawyers create the language in permits and not everyone understands it.
Industry pour millions of dollars of campaign finances for State and Federal legislatures, and media trolls who spread propaganda ads and posts showing how nice and lovely these companies are and how they are benefiting the community.
A public meeting is an invitation to any and everyone. Unfortunately for citizens who are parents, grandparents, care takers, and wildlife activists it is industry; especially big energy concerns who have attorneys and more money than god, and the ability to have people attend meetings and stay at the exclusive hotels, paying them good money to voice their opinions at these public meetings.
The average citizen can barely understand the words coming out of the mouths of the Protection Agencies as well as the engineers and industries.
The average citizen does not have millions of dollars to donate to Senators and Representative on State or Federal levels to have their worries attended to.
Today, it is a highly unfair system.
Environmental and Civil Rights Activism Since 1973
I can give thousands of examples where these ads and propaganda, have assisted industries in destroying whole environments, and bringing DNA destroying toxicity to entire peoples. There are YouTube videos featuring the Mining Industry, lamenting the permitting processes and having to operate within the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. The thing with them is, it is just a game. They want to win. The cost of pollution control devices, and operating clean is their responsibility.
Having been involved in environmental and human rights activism since I was a child. Oddly enough industries who feel they have the right to "progress" at any cost, cannot come up with any new lies. In the 1970's in Los Angeles*, California, our skies were dark grey with the particulates of lead from gasoline, and smokestacks that had no pollution control devices. This was actually causing a cooling to the Earth.
The petroleum industries, as well as the auto industries screamed, ranted, and poured propaganda out, that if they could not continue to operate with lead in autos and fuel, they would go out of business. They gnashed teeth and did away with environmental activists at an alarming rate; exclaiming that they could never make any profits, and that safety regulations, and pollution monitoring would stop progress.
At age 53, it remains a driving passion in my heart, mind and soul. I have no choice. It is a calling.
*Link to Emergency, the 1970's, show how dirty industries were in many of their episodes, because they were having to rescue folks. Also, you can see the dark polluted skies and wat-ers in these old episodes.
Safety Regulations Were Laughed At - Before EPA
Lack of Compassion - The Cost
There is an old saying, "Truth is stranger than fiction." I personally have found this to be true. As an activist for Environmental and Human Rights, there are situations we find ourselves in where we have to ask, "Is this really happening, and no one cares enough to do anything about it?"
Most North Americans today are so wrapped up in their hunting and gathering of stuff, that they do not want to have to be responsible for truths that will cause them to be uncomfortable, and again, be a responsible party to horror.
I have recently finished two mysteries that are considered fiction, but are based on facts. One is "Desert Wind" by Betty Webb, and the most recent "Where The Bad Rocks Live", by C.M. Wendelboe.
Betty Webb has many references to the decades of horror that happened to the visitors, residents, and Native Peoples who lived within 300 miles of the testing sites, and/or downwind of the tests; in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. After Hiroshima, in January 1951, the U.S. Government began Nuclear testing on American soil.
The Nation finally recognized a group called the Downwinders, who are still trying to find justice for what was a really bad idea. Testing by the US Government in 1997 still is finding health effects from the fallout, especially those who lived down wind. Oddly enough the Radiation Exposure Act, which compensates those who were affected, does not apply to the Native Tribal Peoples who have and still suffer the horrors of having their food sources, water, air and D.N.A. altered in a terrible way, because they are from Tribes and their sovereignty have not been recognized, and since many were not issued birth certificates, and/or social security cards, they are not People. Their generations continue to suffer.
The book, "Where The Bad Rocks Live" by C.M. Wendelboe, grabbed my attention immediately because "Bad Rocks" could only mean one thing to me, and that was Uranium. The result of decades of unregulated, and / or under-regulated mining on or near Indian Country has caused terrible damage to the Human Health of the Tribes who inhabit the Badlands. There is very little voice for the Tribes, and there is no justice. Their food and water sources have been corrupted, and continue to cause miscarriages, in humans and cattle, cancer rates that are out of the ball park.
There are images available for the cancers, and birth defects experienced by many of the Tribal Nations all over the West and Midwest. Greed = Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository proponents have always quantified the safety of storing spent Uranium Fuel Rods by indicating that "nobody lives there anyway."
Greed blinds industrial players to who is human, and who deserves compassion and care. Greed makes as much money as possible for the fewest amount of people, leaving the average person to pay taxes to clean up their abandoned messes.
The Human Radiation Experiments By Alan R Cantwell Jr., M.D.
On American Soil - Lack of Compassion? or just a bad idea
© 2012 Lori J Latimer
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