Give honey bees a chance in your neighborhood...Become one of the Save Oregon’s Bees!
Beyond Toxics is joining with our partners, Healthy Bees = Healthy Gardens to develop pesticide-free, honey bee-safe neighborhoods. Our goal is to develop large areas of Eugene that are pesticide-free and, to establish city policy to make our homes and parks safe for all living things.
Please join our Friends of Honey Bees Campaign. Hundreds of grassroots supporters of honey bees creates a wave of unstoppable action for no-spray, safe neighborhoods!
Here are two ways to take action. First, take the Honey Bee Friend pledge on our web site: www.FriendsOfHealthyBees.org. Second, we are asking 1000 people to donate $10 each to become a Friend of Honey Bees. This will support the construction of local bee hives and the cultivation of urban bee keeping.
By signing and contributing, you can have your home placed on a Bee Friendly Map and help your neighborhood eventually host a bee hive.
Bees are threatened by the use of pesticides. When bees come in contact with pesticides and herbicides on lawns, trees and plants, they bring that chemical back to their hives, which poisons their hive home and contaminates their honey. Pesticides are associated with colony collapse disorder, a mysterious condition where bees abandon their hives.
According to Pesticide Action Network, “Honey bees are a keystone, indicator species. Their decline points to (and will likely accelerate) broader environmental degradation in a kind of ripple effect.”
As more and more people participate, we hope to help encourage more gardens and more food production by protecting our honey bees. Ask your neighbors to sign the pledge so that your block can become Bee Friendly!
When your block is ready, we will put you in touch with our beekeeping friends at Healthy Bees = Healthy Gardens to arrange hosting your own hive. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Talking Justice in the Heart of the Community
By Lisa Arkin, Executive Director
“From the right to know and the duty to inquire flows the obligation to act.” - Sandra Steingraber
In April, Beyond Toxics, in collaboration with Centro LatinoAmericano, took 75 people on an Environmental Justice Bus Tour of the West Eugene Industrial Corridor. The goal of the bus tour was to bring public officials, policy makers, students and community leaders to lower-income neighborhoods to hear from residents about the environmental hazards they live with every day – to personalize the effects of pollution exposure by sight, smell and sound.
“When we take our children to the playground, the smell of chemicals overwhelms us. We can’t stay outside. It’s awful … as if a wall of chemical gas is enveloping us.”
This is how one young mother described what it is like to live across the street from a chemical company in West Eugene. Environmental justice research, both on the national scale and what Beyond Toxics has shown in our local communities, verifies that more pollution from power plants and industrial chemical factories are dumped on lower income neighborhoods where there are often more diverse communities.
Most people on the bus had never noticed the concentration of air and water polluters in West Eugene. Many said they had never considered what it must be like to raise a family less than one block from notorious polluters, like the creosote chemical manufacturer, JH Baxter, a company that has received more than 2000 air pollution complaints.
The people who live in the Industrial Corridor of West Eugene have not enjoyed the same right to clean air and water that the rest of us do in Eugene. By presenting the facts clearly and giving a forum for the voices of vulnerable residents, we were able to clearly demonstrate this injustice--during and after the bus tour.
Our next step is to take action to help our West Eugene neighbors have what we all want – the right to enjoy a healthy community. We can’t offer platitudes about upholding environmental protections while failing to protect the people most desperately impacted by polluted land, water or air. We appreciate the elected officials, local residents, school and agency representatives who joined the EJ Bus Tour to better understand environmental justice. Now we have the obligation to act on behalf of children and pregnant women who are most at risk for harm.
Healthy Air, Healthy Lungs
By Alison Guzman, Outreach Coordinator
(Healthy Air Oregon project)
When we asked a group of madres Latinas/Latina mothers living in Eugene what they thought about air quality and the environment they lived in, many raised concerns related to indoor air. Respiramos aire toxicos cuando limpiamos la casa (We breathe toxic air when we clean the home), they say. Many of these women support their families by cleaning homes and office buildings. Mention of cleaning products and problems with breathing and skin rashes was surprisingly common. Because of those concerns and as part of the Families, Health and Air Pollution project, Beyond Toxics, along with Centro LatinoAmericano, has been hosting asthma care and green cleaning workshops throughout Oregon.
We quickly found how much more common it is for people to be exposed to the use of toxic chemicals in lower-income and minority areas. Many of the reasons relate to poor access to information. When there is limited internet, or when materials aren’t readily available in nearby stores or when labels are not in your native tongue, it can become a challenge to understand how to help you protect your family’s health.
The workshops we have been giving these past 2 years have sought to address environmental health concerns, both inside and outside the home.
Sometimes addressing community air pollution problems can be overwhelming; a seemingly endless battle. Our experience has taught us that when people focus on what they can do in the home, they develop a sense of empowerment. The changes appear more immediate and, therefore, hope seems more within reach.
Stopping Coal in Oregon
By Lisa Arkin, Executive Director
One pound of coal dust expelled for every mile a train car loaded with coal travels – that is the estimated amount of air pollution expected from transporting coal through the Columbia Gorge, down the Willamette Valley and into the Eugene rail yard. Beyond Toxics is battling to help communities living near rail tracks stop coal trains from rumbling and polluting throughout their neighborhoods.
As an advocacy group working to end environmental injustice, we are concerned about the harm from coal dust accumulation from shipping massive volumes of coal. That is why Beyond Toxics filed a public records request with the Port of Coos Bay to find out what the real plans are to transport coal through our state. We were sent a bill for nearly $22,000! (The charges are being appealed.) That is how a coal corporation chills the public’s right to know and stifles our ability to take action.
We won’t give in. You and I know that the coal industry’s scheme to mine coal here and ship it overseas is destructive and unnecessary.
Stopping coal is about a number of issues that are at the top of any environmentalist’s worst nightmares – destruction of mountains and streams, fossil fuel dependence, air and water pollution, devastation to our coastal estuaries, global warming, climate justice, and the health consequences of exposure to coal dust and diesel particulate.
Oregon must stand up to Big Coal with a Big NO! We will be an active player to stop this threat. When you become a member of Beyond Toxics, you give us the clout to stop these corporate plans to use our lungs as the dumping ground for coal dust. Let’s work together to stop coal, and put renewable energy and children’s health first.
Please help us win by joining Beyond Toxics!
2011 Year in Review
The Spring 2012 Membership Drive is in full swing! Now is a great time to review how, working together in 2011, we have accomplished so much!
• Hosted Sandra Steingraber as a guest at the U of O. Included meetings with our members and special showings of her film, Living Downstream.
• Awarded an EPA Environmental Justice award for our ground-breaking work in West Eugene, for a second time!
• We held leadership trainings in the Latino community and helped establish the group, Madres para la Salud (Mothers for Health) and held more than a dozencommunity workshops on asthma prevention and green cleaning for communities suffering from high asthma rates.
• Our bill to reduce pesticides on all state lands received a hearing in the 2011 Legislature.
• Published a thorough report “Environmental Impacts Assessment of Highway Spray.” Our report and our work to stop pesticide sprays was featured on Public Radio International’s “Living on Earth” and four other prominent national media outlets (Center for Investigative Reporting).
• Initiated a Pesticide Panel at the Oregon Transportation Commission with guest speakers from Washington and California on reducing pesticides.
• We supported/sponsored/led 20 meetings of Madres para la Salud group and held 10 community workshops on asthma prevention and green cleaning for communities suffering from high asthma rates.
• Supported rural citizens in Josephine and Lane counties to hold coordinated rallies, demanding an end to aerial pesticide spray.
• Provided expert testimony before the Oregon Board of Forestry and represented residents’ health concerns on the Portland Air Toxics Solutions Advisory Committee.
• Sponsored--in coordination with Multnomah County’s Office of Sustainability--a series of No Idling! Awareness events on Portland bridges.
Thank you for your incredible support! Will you take a moment to join Beyond Toxics (or renew your membership) to help us continue our innovative and bold leadership for environmental health?
Please join us in welcoming three new Beyond Toxics Board Members!
Melanie graduated from Lewis and Clark College in 2005 and is currently pursuing an MBA in Sustainable Systems from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute. From 2007 to 2012, she served as Office Manager and Outreach Coordinator for Café Mam, a local importer of organic, fair-trade, shade-grown coffee. Melanie is active on the Beyond Toxics Development Committee as well as serving as Secretary to the Board of Directors.
Gwyneth’s work experience spans the business side of book publishing, graphic design/corporate identity in New York City to software development and website applications in San Francisco and now here in Eugene. Her professional career has spanned many key roles and helped her build a broad range of skills, including Director of Marketing, Director of Public Relations, Director of Business Development and Senior Sales Consultant. Gwyneth attended Hamilton College and Pratt Institute, lives in Eugene with her two children and enjoys running, gardening and painting.
“I have been thrilled to work alongside such inspiring, dedicated people under the exceptional leadership of Lisa Arkin and board president Ann Kneeland. I am amazed at the combined knowledge of the entire Beyond Toxics team, their hard work, and the impact the organization has made for a clean and just Oregon.”
Roberta (Bobbi) Lindberg, JD, MS
Bobbi is a retired water quality specialist who maintains her interest in the water quality of Oregon’s coastal basins. Her work for the state DEQ began in 1993 after she received an MS degree from OSU’s College of Oceanographic and Atmospheric Sciences. Before that, she was a Legal Aid attorney, for 12 years in Lane County, Oregon, and five years directing Micronesian Legal Services’ Pohnpei office in the Western Pacific, where she also pursued her dreams of scuba diving and living on a tropical island.
ALSO: Beyond Toxics is happy to have Ann Kneeland as our new Board President.
“I am absolutely honored to serve as the Beyond Toxics Board President. Beyond Toxics educates the public about the dangers of toxins in our homes and public places, calls for stronger protections from chemical exposure in our communities, and advocates on behalf of those diversely impacted by pesticides. As the mother of a young child, this work is profoundly important and inspiring to me.”
Michelle Holman has graciously stepped up to the role of Vice President.
We're very proud of our WONDERFUL volunteers!
Beyond Toxics Volunteers in Action...
My name is Bobo and I'm from Hong Kong. Bobo, a native of from Hong Kong, is currently a senior at University of Oregon studying Environmental Studies. "I've always been interested in cultural and environmental studies and wanted to work at an international level," says Bobo. "I'm also planning to do an internship in India in the fall to work on environmental equity. By volunteering with Beyond Toxics, it provides me a lot of hands-on and useful experience and prepares me for my future career."
Through Centro LatinoAmericano, Josefina has been helping Beyond Toxics on our West Eugene Industrial Corridor Environmental Health Project. She participates in a community group of women concerned about air toxics in their neighborhood who call themselves, Madres para la Salud/Mothers for Health. She and others from her group spoke to bus tour attendees during our April 13th EJ Bus Tour in a park across the street from a corridor of heavy polluters.
Douglas escaped from Los Angeles to the Eugene area in late 2011. He runs a reissue label, Yoga Records, and wrote Nature of the Beast: A Graphic Novel, about an interspecies gladiator tournament. Douglas has been an ongoing and valued contributor of photographs and video clips for our recent pesticide reform work and the Environmental Justice Bus Tour in Eugene.
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OTA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all contributions are fully tax-deductible. Please consider giving a gift of a Beyond Toxics membership to a friend or family member!