Last night, I attended ecologist, author, and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber's lecture at Ithaca College, where she teaches in the Department of Environmental Studies and Science.
Her titles include The Spoils of Famine: Ethiopian Famine Policy and Peasant Agriculture, Post-Diagnosis, Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment, Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood, and The Falling Age of Puberty in U.S. Girls: what we know, what we need to know. She's a current contributor to Orion Magazine and a future contributor to the Huffington Post.
Aside from a movie trailer, a visual presentation did not accompany her talk, but proved unnecessary, as Steingraber is not only incredibly knowledgeable in her field, but a captivating speaker and poet. Titled The Importance of Journalism and Independent Media in an Age of Ecological Crisis, last night's talk was broken up into three discussion topics: endocrine disruption, the need for chemical reform, and gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. Mixed in was autobiographical information and poetry.
In regards to endocrine disruption, Steingraber voiced a need for media representation to take responsibility off consumers and onto the government. Take for example the article from Oprah Magazine, entitled Problems with Plastic, which advises readers to "limit your exposure [to BPA] by not putting hot food or drinks in plastic containers." News reports commonly inform consumers to avoid specific products rather than pressuring the government to ban the use of such chemicals in manufacturing in the first place. Steingraber stated that it is impossible, even for an expert like herself, to avoid all products with toxic contents. For additional information about endocrine disruption, read Our Stolen Future.
The evening ended with a presentation of the movie trailer for Living Downstream, a documentary based on Steingraber's book bearing the same title.
A still from Living Downstream:
Ithaca College will present a screening of Living Downstream on April 3, 2010. Stay tuned for details.