I N M E M O R I A M
CHARLES DAVID KEELING --- 1928 - 2005
MARLENE BRAUN --- 1959 - 2005
DAVID BROWER _____________ --- 1912 - 2000
THE MISSION OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL RELIEF CENTER
WALKING DOWN HOPE STREET
The Environmental Relief Center, a (501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is dedicated to a broad range of environmental concerns directly linking quality
of life with the protection of public health and the preservation of natural resources. Our mission is to provide support, advocacy, and funding to
community groups wherever environmental or public health concerns have united local interest. We believe public health and environmental health
are uniquely interrelated and therefore may be addressed with a singular vision. Our goal is the preservation of natural resources, biological diversity,
and healthful and sustainable communities.
We encourage the open forum process where cooperative dialogue and transparency of purpose helps to formulate jurisdictional policy decisions.
Local residents and stake-holders are encouraged to increase their participation in neighborhood councils, community forums, and decision-making
processes at City Hall. Among other community activities, The Environmental Relief Center supports town-hall meetings to encourage and integrate
information exchange among government agencies, health science institutes, business interests, and local communities.
During the past decade, the number of degraded and vanishing ecosystems has steadily increased due to conflicts of interest and jurisdictional
delays in the restoration and preservation of natural areas. Studies of the toxic effects of industrial pollution upon the nation's local communities
are now revealing the irreversible health impacts and often fatal consequences of reckless planning decisions, archaic laws, and the lack of funding
for regulatory enforcement.
The Environmental Relief Center is an activity-oriented organization, offering support for the environmental and health concerns of diverse
communities through a number of benefits and services. Our "Growing Green Together" nature walks, study groups, community outreach, and
educational programs have been developed to increase public enjoyment of the natural world as well as increase personal awareness of Earth's
fragile and endangered biological systems. Eco-Entertainment, a project of The Environmental Relief Center, enlists the talent of musicians, writers,
performers and others in celebrating nature through unique presentations of environmental theatre, poetry, music and documentary film.
Here, at The Environmental Relief Center, we view the earth as a global community, where effective environmental protection begins with individual
and civic commitment -- is sustained nationally through congressional and executive leadership -- and extends across borders through education
and shared responsibilities. The Center is proposing a new and dynamic shift toward personal dedication in the greening of cities and townships,
the protection of public health, and the restoration of degraded areas. We urge all who share our concerns to become active as leaders and
advocates for environmental preservation. If you are interested in joining us, or in developing an interest group in your area, perhaps we can help.
We would enjoy speaking with you and invite your inquiry.
Peggy Forster, Director
The Environmental Relief Center
J O Y H O R O W I T Z
PARTS PER MILLION:
THE POISONING OF BEVERLY HILLS HIGH SCHOOL
On January 31, 2008, In a special presentation at the Beverly Hills
Public Library, The Environmental relief center honored
environmental hero of the year
There will be a brief awards ceremony preceding the program
|Joy Horowitz, author of PARTS PER MILLION: The Poisoning of Beverly Hills High School, has written a vivid
account of how commercial interests often triumph over medical science and community protest. Neither parental opposition, nor toxic
tort litigation has interrupted or slowed the extraction of oil from beneath the playing fields and classrooms of Beverly Hills High School.
It is now well documented that industrial drilling operations on the high school campus have exposed generations of school children and staff
to hazardous levels of toxic chemicals.
Ms. Horowitz was raised in Beverly Hills and attended Beverly Hills High School. After learning that many of her former
classmates, teachers, and neighbors had been diagnosed with lymphoma and thyroid disease, Ms. Horowitz embarked upon a courageous
personal journey. Utilizing her professional skills as an investigative journalist, she began a review of the toxins released by industrial
drilling and studied the available data from research institutes and medical centers. She conducted hundreds of interviews with alumni and
patients. She spoke at length with school and city officials and industry personnel -- many of whom were evasive, or dismissive of scientific
data. Soon it became apparent there would be no acknowledgment from the oil industry, or from city or school officials that hazardous
drilling operations on the campus of Beverly Hills High School may be contributing to high rates of morbidity and mortality in Beverly Hills.
When a concerned and informed group, consisting of former students, patients, and families, initiated toxic tort litigation, a defiant and
well-organized defense team re-interpreted public testimony and discounted a body of scientific research -- a strategy which not only
influenced dismissal of the cases, but effectively demoralized the plaintiffs by casting doubt and uncertainty upon their claims. Drained of
energy and momentum, a vigorous and well- organized community protest was quickly reduced to a murmur, and soon a notable silence.
The universality of this theme can be observed in small towns and large cities across the country where geographically based epidemics of
illness and cancer are observed and recorded by courageous investigators who subsequently find that relevant medical evidence has been
distorted, or obscured by official disinformation and corporate denial. When the courts rule in favor of special interests and corporations
purchase public approval through the distribution of royalties, or other benefits, a polarization often occurs which divides friends and
neighbors and discourages further debate and action.
After reading PARTS PER MILLION, The Environmental Relief Center debated how best to honor Joy Horowitz for her elegant prose
and heroic determination to share her story. In the style of Silent Spring (Rachel Carson's expose of the chemical industry and the
excessive production and marketing of hazardous pesticides), the vulnerability of those who have been victimized by the reckless operations of
industry has been extensively and carefully documented by Ms. Horowitz.
Recognition of Ms. Horowitz, as our ENVIRONMENTAL HERO for 2008, continues the tradition of publicly honoring those who
have stood firm in defending the truth, and whose personal contribution has helped to reverse tragic patterns of illness and loss of life.
History tells us such heroic efforts have effectively turned the tide of local passivity and hopelessness. Within this tradition, we believe
heroes are ubiquitous in their local communities, frequently serving as primary catalysts in alerting others to reckless land-use decisions
and the resulting environmental hazards and degradation which are known to impact public health and destroy lives.
Barry Siegel, Author, and Pulitzer Prize-winning director of the Literary Journalism Program at U.C. Irvine, states in his
review of PARTS PER MILLION that Joy Horowitz raises important alarms in her " fierce, penetrating and vibrant challenge ... wisely
telling all of us to be aware -- and to care."
Here, at The Environmental Relief Center, we view " caring" as one of the defining characteristics of a hero. We are proud to have
chosen JOY HOROWITZ as our ENVIRONMENTAL HERO for 2008.
PLEASE NOTE: Not long ago, Ms. Horowitz was interviewed on, ALOUD, a local program filmed at the Los Angeles
Public Library. Her intelligence, technical knowledge, and subjective reflections profoundly moved an attentive
audience. The videotaped presentation can be viewed at www.joyhorowitz.com. Click on "Appearances" and enter
"Joy Horowitz" in the search window.
For an in-depth report on the toxins and compounds emitted by the extraction, refining, and use of fossil fuels, please
visit the Natural Resources Defense Council, w.w.w.nrdc.org/policy/reports.asp, for their study entitled, Drilling Down.
T H E E N V I R O N M E N T A L R E L I E F C E N T E R
ENVIRONMENTAL HERO - 2008
|H O M E P A G E
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