Lois Gibbs speaks out against PVC.

Lois Gibbs speaks out against PVC.

Environmental Justice Panel at NYU:
PVC and Coal Corporations: Poisoning Our Communities & Destroying Ecosystems

On Wednesday, April 14th: Lois Gibbs of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice and Dea Goblirsch and Jeff Friederich of Climate Ground Zero and spoke at a panel on environmental justice issues entitled, " PVC and Coal Corporations: Poisoning Our Communities & Destroying Ecosystems." The event was sponsored by Students Creating Radical Change @ NYU.


Lois Gibbs, who became internationally known for her organizing efforts at Love Canal, addressed Dow, PVC, and Dioxin. At NYU, Lois Gibbs, founder of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ), kicked off a statewide speaking tour of NY colleges throughout the month of April. Lois founded CHEJ after winning the nation's first community relocation of 900 families due to a leaking toxic waste dump in Love Canal (Niagara Falls), New York.

At the event Lois discussed how her experiences at Love Canal connect with CHEJ's new PVC-free schools campaign. Lois explained why PVC is the most toxic plastic for our health and environment, how the PVC industry is poisoning environmental justice communities in Louisiana, and where PVC may be hiding on university campuses. Lois explained that chemicals such as phthalates and Dioxins are released by PVC and are linked to breast cancer, reproductive health problems, asthma, and learning disabilities. She encouraged NYU students to kick PVC off their campus by starting a new PVC-Free Schools Campaign, thereby standing in solidarity with environmental justice communities impacted by PVC's toxic lifecycle.

In preparation for Sunday's action against the Dow Live Earth Run for Water, Lois shed light on the crimes of major PVC producer Dow Chemical, which has poisoned communities in Michigan and around the world with their toxic production of plastics, pesticides, and other products.

At the event, Lois released CHEJ's new student activist toolkit.

Learn more bout the dangers of PVC in schools: CHEJ's PVC-free schools campaign is encouraging schools to ditch the poison plastic in favor of safer alternatives. We need your help to make it a success!  http://www.besafenet.com/pvc/

Lois will speak again on Friday at Pratt Institute. Details at  http://snipurl.com/loispratt


Dea Goblirsch and Jeff Friederich of Climate Ground Zero addressed address efforts to end mountaintop removal in Appalachia. Climate Ground Zero started out as a campaign against oil and tar sands in Montana and Canada. Upon requests by local activists working to end mountaintop removal coal mining, Climate Ground Zero moved to Rock Creek, West Virginia.

Coal River Mountain was the last mountain to remain untouched by mountaintop removal mining in the Coal River Valley. Climate Ground Zero's direct action campaign took off when Coal River Mountain was clear-cut in preparation for mountaintop removal in February of 2009. Since then over 100 people have been arrested in various actions on Coal River Mountain and other mountaintop removal sites in West Virginia.

Climate Ground Zero is not an environmental organization; it is an ongoing campaign of non-violent civil disobedience in southern West Virginia to end mountaintop removal. Activists at Climate Ground Zero believe that the irrevocable destruction of the mountains of Appalachia and its accompanying toll on the air, water, and lives of Appalachians necessitates continued and direct action.

In West Virginia, an overwhelming majority of residents are opposed to mountaintop removal mining. However, political interests are highly invested in the coal industry and the EPA and the West Virginia DEP refuse to take real action to protect the environment and the people of West Virginia.

In order to stop mountaintop removal, we need to awaken the country to the devastation that mountaintop removal inflicts on one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, Appalachia, and its people. Since Climate Ground Zero came to West Virginia in 2009, hundreds of activists have come to the coalfields and stood with the residents of West Virginia to demand an end to the destruction.

Climate Ground Zero is a project of the American Forest Alliance and works in cohesion with Mountain Justice, a regional network of organizations in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, that seek the abolition of mountaintop removal in Appalachia and throughout the country.

Learn more at www.climategroundzero.org

This article was adapted from promotional text by CHEJ and Climate Ground Zero.