Everyday Toxins

The Visibility Cloak: Creating Collective Attention

At an April 19 “Sustainable We” forum, the topic was how we make the invisible visible. Discussion leaders included Sarah Super of Break the Silence, who gives voice to rape survivors partly by telling her own story… Kathleen Schuler of Healthy Legacy, who works to reduce dangerous toxins in the home… and Shalini Gupta of Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy,…

Forum: The Visibility Cloak

“Sustainable We” Forum April 19, 2016 The Club Room at Red Stag  MPLSGreen/Sustainable We hosted a forum titled “The Visibility Cloak” as part of the citywide Fierce Lament activities coordinated by art activist Camille Gage. How are we making the rape of our land/air/water and people visible? How do important issues come to light — especially those that…

Creating a Healthy Legacy: Reducing home toxins

Kathleen Schüler, director of Healthy Legacy, has helped create legislation in Minnesota around creating less toxic children’s products. It might seem strange to think that toxins in children’s products is even a possibility, but many of our everyday products are created with chemicals — no one is particularly immune from exposure. Thanks to the work…

Seeding Change By Getting to the Table

Last year I had the pleasure of learning about the work of Dr. Cecilia Martinez and Shalini Gupta, co-founders of Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED), because of a writing assignment from Minnesota Women’s Press. On April 19, 2016, they participated in a discussion with me at the Earth Day-inspired Fierce Lament event, “The Visibility Cloak,”…

The Future Is… Toxins

John Warner, Warner Babcock

As I’ve mentioned, my father was an analytical chemist who went into plastics/polymers partly because of one of the infamous lines in The Graduate. He worked for Archer-Daniels and was a manager at Cargill, Bemis and other companies before, later in life, running his own analytical testing lab. I helped him write a few news…

When People Make Toxic Tides Shift

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  ― Margaret Mead In 2002, the Denver-based insulation company Johns Manville decided that the science (and market) around the dangers of formaldehyde were too strong to ignore, and it stopped using the chemical to make insulation. At the…

Forum: Who Regulates Our Toxins?

SustainableWeForumFlyer#1

At the first Sustainable We forum, “Parks, Pollinators and Pesticides,” 40 engaged Minneapolis residents talked about how our toxic chemicals are regulated, who makes risk assessments, where the scientific data comes from, and whether we trust governmental agencies with our safety. This is a lengthy overview of the process of how pesticides are regulated. U.S. Standards Compared…

Forum: Do Appearances Matter in Minneapolis Parks?

A related overview of our conversation of Sustainable We forum #1 focuses on the politics of pesticides — how are they regulated federally, enforced locally? Another article to come will look at why the Minneapolis Park Board allows them in some cases, and what the Park Board might be considering as revised policy. We also talked at length about how…