Environmental Tensions: 'We Are All Losing the War.' (Includes Related Article on William Reilly's Appointment of Environmental Protection Agency Secretary)

By Russell, Dick; Novak, Viveca | The Nation, March 27, 1989 | Go to article overview

Environmental Tensions: 'We Are All Losing the War.' (Includes Related Article on William Reilly's Appointment of Environmental Protection Agency Secretary)


Russell, Dick, Novak, Viveca, The Nation


The state of the environment has recently reached a level of visibility not witnessed since the Earth Day demonstrations of 1970. All the attention, which reached its a o amid last summer's tidal wave of beach pollution and a drought and heat wave that scientists warned might mark the onset of the "greenhouse effect," seems to have finally elevated the issue to an unprecedented place on both the national and global policy agendas. President George Bush has proclaimed himself a Teddy Roosevelt-style environmentalist, endorsed European efforts to save the ozone layer and appointed William Reilly, head of the World Wildlife Fund/Conservation Foundation, to run his Environmental Protection Agency.

But at this moment of urgency and opportunity, a tension between the increasingly militant grass roots and the environmental establishment in Washington threatens to divide the movement. With Reilly inside the whale, the mainstream conservation organizations believe they are at last about to see a serious governmental commitment to saving the environment. But many local groups fear, with some cause, that the well-heeled organizations lobbying in Washington are too ready to compromise with both governmental agencies and corporate polluters.

For thousands of men, women and children living hard by toxic waste sites or polluted rivers, the time for deals and the half measures they produce is long past. This is reflected in the growing number of mass demonstrations and even civil disobedience actions by desperate citizens plagued by unsafe air and drinking water. Last November, days after the national elections, hundreds of people marched for ten days along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, an eighty-mile stretch residents have dubbed "cancer alley" because of contamination ftom at least 136 petrochemical and other plants. Their demand: Reduce emissions and toxic waste to levels that will no longer threaten health.

On a weekend the same month, nearly 1,000 people from across California gathered in Los Angeles to protest the planned siting of a hazardous waste incinerator in an impoverished Latino neighborhood. Incinerators also raised hackles in Kansas in November, where 34-year- old Lauri Maddy -outraged by the lack of state concern about dangerous emissions from Wichita's Vulcan plant -handcuffed herself to a chair in Governor Mike Hayden's office. Her siege, accompanied by twenty supporters, lasted for four hours, until the Governor agreed to meet with her. Five days later, Vulcan canceled plans to build a second toxic waste incinerator, citing "the increased availability of E.P.A. approved incineration capacity" and "new cost estimates."

Last July, five South Carolina citizens who had been arrested for blocking hazardous waste trucks from dumping chemicals near their community's water supply were acquitted of civil disobedience charges by a Sumter County jury. Their plea of self-defense marked the first time that such a tactic had been used successfully by environmental activists since Sam Lovejoy was acquitted for sabotaging a 500-foot weather tower in 1974, an action that galvanized the antinuclear movement.

The efforts of small communities against polluters are no longer taking place in relative isolation from one another. Two national Bass-roots groups -the Citizens Clearinghouse for Hazardous Wastes and the National Toxics Campaign are expanding rapidly, providing advice and organizing skills. Richard Grossman, a Washington-based author and activist, has begun bringing together antitoxics organizers ftom various regions for a series of regular meetings, each one followed by a demonstration targeting a local polluter. In February, Grossman took his crusade to a black neighborhood in Texarkana, Texas, that includes two contaminated sites on the Environmental Protection Agency's "Superfund" priority cleanup list. The protest concluded with a two-mile march of residents and community organizers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Kansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, California and Washington, D. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Environmental Tensions: 'We Are All Losing the War.' (Includes Related Article on William Reilly's Appointment of Environmental Protection Agency Secretary)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.