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A Tear in the Lens

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator University of North Texas Press PDF

A Tear in the Lens

Roy Flukinger

Sometimes the well dent is visible, where once a spring oozed; now dry and tearless grass; or it was covered deep, not to be discovered till some late day, with a flat stone under the sod, when the last of the race departed. What a sorrowful act must that be, the covering up of wells! coincident with the opening of wells of tears. These cellar dents, like deserted fox burrows, old holes, are all that is left where once were the stir and bristle of human life … henry david thoreau, Walden

The great educator Robert Coles was once showing the work of a number of Farm Security

Administration photographers—those lean and rich documents of America in the 1930s—to some young students. One student in particular, Lawrence Jefferson, was drawn to the work of Marion Post Wolcott—one of the less well-known but perhaps the most ethically committed of all these federal photographers. Coles was curious to know why and Jefferson had a succinct but telling response: “She’s more upset with what’s wrong than anyone else.”

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Plates

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator University of North Texas Press PDF
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Fruit of the Orchard

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator University of North Texas Press PDF

Fruit of the Orchard tammy cromer-campbell

Tammy Cromer-Campbell

I begin this story with a profound dream that changed my life. In 1993, I dreamed I was protesting with a group of courageous people from Winona, Texas, in a grassy field.

Background

Winona is a rural Texas community of 500 people living downwind of a toxic-waste injectionwell facility built in 1982. Photographs of these residents reveal the tragic results many believe are associated with toxic emissions and contaminants from the American Ecology

Environmental Services toxic-waste facility (formerly known as Gibraltar). The community was originally told that Gibraltar would install a salt-water injection-well facility and plant fruit orchards on the remaining land. Instead, trucks and trains from all over the U.S. and

Mexico came to Winona to dump toxic waste into the open-ended wells. No fruit orchards were ever planted. It was not until 1992, when the residents began to fear the long-term effects of the various emissions and odors emanating from the facility, that Phyllis Glazer formed Mothers Organized to Stop Environmental Sins (moses). In March 1997, the facility announced its shutdown, citing continued opposition by moses as the reason.

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Toxicological Myths

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator University of North Texas Press PDF

Toxicological Myths

Dr. Marvin Legator

In the never-ending battle to clean up our environment and make our world safer for humanity, individuals and organizations that profit from polluting the environment have developed a series of scenarios to obfuscate the human effects of exposure to toxic substances. The underlying assumption of toxic waste facilities, and frequently state and federal agencies, is that they know more about the technical aspects of toxicology than the victims of chemical exposure. This arrogance is often manifested in the unnecessary use of technical jargon and misleading or confusing factual information. Informed residents who are knowledgeable as to the adverse health effects of chemical exposure have repeatedly challenged the toxic waste facilities and frequently persevered in obtaining necessary remedial action. The informed citizens of Winona, Texas, are outstanding examples of how to fight for environmental justice and challenge the questionable assertions of the toxic waste facility as well as state and federal agencies. In 1997, moses (Mothers Organized to Stop Environmental Sins), under the leadership of one of our present-day environmental heroines, Phyllis Glazer, was instrumental in shutting down the major polluting facility in the community of Winona.

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Preventing Future Winonas

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator University of North Texas Press PDF

Preventing Future Winonas

Dr. Eugene Hargrove

The Limits of Environmental Justice in the United States

Concerns about environmental justice and environmental racism are usually focused on large population centers, and more specifically on the poor urban neighborhoods in which the majority of the residents are minorities, usually black or Hispanic. The Environmental

Protection Agency is currently looking into ways to deal with these environmental justice issues, focusing on the identification of problem areas. In these surveys, industrialized sites in urban areas stand out starkly in comparison with rural areas. Sadly, small towns do not end up even as a blip on the radar scope in these surveys. Moreover, given that the epa efforts are underfunded, the agency has no significant resources to devote to places like Winona.

Overcoming the Burden of Proof: Proving Harm

Once damage has occurred, the only course of action is usually legal, either to try to stop the pollution if it is ongoing or to seek compensation. Winning, however, is difficult because it is hard to demonstrate a causal connection between the actions of the alleged polluters and the alleged damage to human health, property, and the environment. Consider smoking and lung cancer. Smoking is a necessary, but not a sufficient, cause of lung cancer. It is a necessary cause because most people who have lung cancer also turn out to be smokers. It is not a sufficient cause, however, because there are also many people who smoke all of their lives without getting cancer. As a result, it is easier to explain the cause of lung cancer after someone has it than to predict that any particular person will get it. The case for smoking as a cause of lung cancer, nevertheless, is very strong because over many decades in the twentieth century statistics became available showing that most people who developed lung cancer also smoked. These kinds of statistics, however, are generally not available in air and water pollution cases. Usually there is not a single contaminant involved, but rather a mix of contaminants, and the mix of contaminants may vary from site to site.

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