In March of 2012, NEJRC co-hosted the Environmental Action Conference. Organized by the Toxics Action Center, the event brought together 325 activists from across New England for a day of learning, sharing, skills trainings, and inspiration. More than 125 local groups cosponsored the event, and we brought together dozens of experts across the fields of environmental public health, environmental justice, and organizing.
Our keynote speakers were Lois Gibbs and Jan Schlichtmann. Lois Gibbs is the Executive Director of Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ). She shared her moving story of organizing as a young mother to evacuate over 800 families from Love Canal, New York, where homes and her children’s school had been built atop a massive hazardous waste site. Jan Schlichtmann is an attorney who represented families in Woburn, Massachusetts in the 1980s when nearly a dozen children died of leukemia after
their mothers drank municipal water that had been contaminated by chemicals dumped by W. R. Grace, Corp. His story was made famous by the bestselling book and adapted movie A Civil Action (he is portrayed by John Travolta in the film).
Besides the two keynote speeches, we offered twenty workshop for conference attendees on a variety of issues and skills, from fracking to composting and from lobbying legislators to gaining media attention.
Environmental Action is a chance for people to learn and grow – and then go back to their communities to work for a cleaner, healthier and safer environment.