Living Downstream

Earlier this week I mentioned one of the presentations that inspired me at Ecumenical Advocacy Days.

I also wanted to highlight the documentary Living Downstream, which was shown as a part of the  Eco-Justice Track at the conference.  Watch the trailer for the documentary below.


Living Downstream is based on the book of the same name by Sandra Steingraber, a cancer survivor who left her career as a biologist to focus on the links between environmental toxins and cancer.  The film follows a year in Steingraber's life, chronicling her personal journey and her efforts to educate others about environmental health.

Steingraber has been called "a modern day Rachel Carson," and it was moving to hear her story and her compassionate pleas for toxics reform.  The film shares shocking statistics, including that 60 to 70% of people in the US are exposed to atrazine daily, through water supplies or otherwise.  Atrazine is a widely used chemical that has been banned in the European Union and has been shown to have adverse reproductive effects.  

Steingraber makes the statement that "cancer is a human rights issue."

In the same vein, environmental justice is a human rights issue.  Environmental justice calls us to work to end degradation to God's earth that impacts the most vulnerable on a greater scale.  We are called to speak for the least of  these: the children of farmers who have  higher rates of cancer than non-farmers' children (stated in the documentary); the citizens of Mossville, Louisiana who live in the shadows of 14 chemical plants; the people of Appalachia whose water is poisoned by mountaintop removal coal mining.  The list goes on and on.  

Start working for environmental justice by taking part in National Call-in Days to protect the health of God's people and creation – taking place until Friday, April 1.  Ask your Senator to support chemical policy reform that protects the most vulnerable. 


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