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Localized, grass-roots democracy 'only way' to combat corrupt, diseased system

September 3, 2011

Cindy Sheehan doesn’t sit down and relax very often. The internationally known peace and human rights activist just returned home to California from a two-week trip to Japan and soon afterwards embarked on a bus tour of the Northwest.

“Today,” she wrote in her blog for Aug. 21, “the Re-Creating Revolutionary Communities or Bust Tour kicked off our nine-city tour in Oregon and California with some exciting visits in Eugene, Ore.”

November 28, 2009

Editor's note: The Indiana stretch of the Ohio River Valley is one of the most toxic environments on Earth. On Nov. 24, I took a road trip to Evansville and Mount Vernon to interview John Blair, president of the environmental group Valley Watch, and Marcella Piper-Terry, an autism care provider who has collected extensive background data on her clients' environmental exposures. This story is the first in a series on autism and the Southwest Indiana environment. - sh


EVANSVILLE, IND. - John Blair readily agrees that Southwest Indiana is the perfect laboratory in which to explore the connection between industrial pollution and the increasing incidence of autism and other developmental disabilities. He has witnessed both sides of the equation in his three decades as president of the environmental group Valley Watch.

"We have distinct problems down here with neurological diseases," he says during an interview in his Evansville office on a cloudy, crisp November day. "... And we are under assault from almost every kind of toxic chemical there is."

November 21, 2009

Indiana citizens with autism are 20 percent more likely to be medicated than their counterparts are nationwide, according to an ongoing survey by the Interactive Autism Network (IAN).

One of every two Hoosiers with autism receives medication, whereas the national average is 41 percent. The disparities hold across the three main diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs):

  • Autistic Disorder - 22 percent;
  • Asperger's Disorder - 20 percent; and
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) - 22 percent.

The IAN data also show that Hoosiers spend less out of pocket caring for those on the ASD spectrum than the national average, $3,952 in Indiana versus $6,082 nationwide.

November 1, 2008

America honors recycling in November. You can be part of the celebration by committing to or renewing your commitment to recycle all you can.

Did you know that recycling is one of the easiest ways to reduce global warming? In support of America Recycles Day on Nov. 15, the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District (District) urges you to find out what's in your trash bag and recycle.

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency reports, "Recycling just 35 percent of our trash would reduce global warming emissions, equivalent to taking 39 million cars off the road and anywhere from 75 percent or more of our trash can be recycled."

The National Recycling Coalition states, "Nationally, recycling saves the equivalent of more than 5 billion gallons of gas, reducing the dependence on foreign oil by 114 million barrels." It reduces pollution, saves energy, and conserves resources.

April 6, 2008

The first CAFO supporter is in.

The e-mail came on a Monday. No name was attached, just an address and the initials DP. "We all love our technology," DP wrote, "TV's, Computers, I-pod's. I don't believe consumers will pay for a 1975 production system."

I'd like to start by saying I don't own an iPod.

All joking aside, although I really don't own an iPod, I'd like to make it clearer where I stand on CAFOs, considering I knew little about them until about a month-and-a-half ago. Based on the information I've learned in that time, the call here is not to eradicate factory farms, as CAFO’s are also called, though in a perfect world, we'd give farming back to the farmers.

Read more Amber blogs
Read more 'Indiana Environment Revisited'

March 22, 2008

The e-mails are pouring into my inbox. "Your articles and videos are excellent," "thank you for letting people know what is going on," I read. It's great to revel in the support from people who understand just what kind of wreckless establishment CAFOs are. And while the support is welcomed, I wonder where the other side is.

If CAFOs are allowed to be built without setbacks and to operate with effectively no regulation, there must be support for it. And I expected, somewhat, to hear from those people.

Read more Amber blogs
Read more 'Indiana Environment Revisited'

If the feedback we've received is an accurate reflection of how people statewide or nationwide feel about CAFOs, citizens want permits for CAFOs to be granted under the strictest of conditions and run with the highest standards of health and safety. Otherwise, Indiana's public-private CAFO alliance is a complete and deviant local assault.

One of two things are happening. Either CAFO supporters aren't threatened enough to defend their position or the majority of people in both rural and urban Indiana don't know about the problem. Of those who do, the sentiments are the same -- they are thrilled to have a media entity care.

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