October 18, 2001
It is a special pleasure for us to be on the phone with Mary Lou Sharon, who was a classmate of Steve’s at Naugatuck High School in Connecticut. They recently met up at a high school reunion, and we heard Mary Lou’s amazing story of activism in essentially shutting down a toxic dump in our home town.
Our Questions for Mary Lou Sharon
By way of background, when Mary Lou and Steve were kids in the 1950s, Naugatuck, Connecticut, was an industrial center, producing sneakers, synthetic rubber, agricultural chemicals, and brass products. The Naugatuck River held no life and changed color with industrial discharges, and the town often smelled of diverse chemicals that went up the stacks. Most of that industry is now gone, but the effects remain, and that’s where Mary Lou Sharon came in.
Your story begins in the 1960s, when you noticed trucks headed up the road near your house carrying waste to the Hunter’s Mountain landfill.
•What was in those trucks?
•Why were you concerned?
•You formed a citizen’s action group. Who was in it and what did you try to accomplish?
•In 1983 Hunter’s Mountain–renamed Laurel Park Landfill–was declared a Superfund Site. Didn’t that take care of your concerns?
•In the course of your activism, you were threatened and vilified. Why were some elements of the town opposed to your work?
•Despite the contamination, developers still wanted to build a number of homes up on Hunter’s Mountain. Please tell us the story of that fight.
•In April 2011, you were declared Honorary Mayor of Naugatuck as part of Earth Day. What did you do during your brief time in office?
•What advice do you have for other activists who are fighting difficult battles trying to preserve the environment and our health?
Thank you, Mary Lou Kosko Sharon, for being with us tonight and telling us this inspiring story. Our home town is a much better place to live, thanks to you, and we’ll look forward to seeing you down the road at Naugatuck High School reunions. Listeners, if you would like to learn more about this story, here are some links:
NY Times: “Action on Dioxin” http://www.nytimes.com/1983/10/14/nyregion/the-region-action-on-dioxin-in-connecticut.html
NY Times: “Two-Year Battle Won at Dioxin Site” http://www.nytimes.com/1983/10/15/nyregion/two-year-battle-won-at-dioxin-site.html
Naugatuck Patch: “Mary Lou Sharon: Naugatuck’s Earth Day Mayor for the Day” http://naugatuck.patch.com/articles/mary-lou-sharon-naugatucks-earth-day-mayor-for-the-day
Date: October 11, 2011
This week we will take up two Ecotopian topics. In the first part of the program, we’ll talk about electric automobiles. Our guest will be Stephanie Janczak, Manager of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Policy for the Ford Motor Company. She’ll be talking about some of the ways in which Ford is preparing to meet consumer demand for all-electric vehicles.
And then we will speak with Carl Ochsner, who is the Executive Director of Work Training Center, Inc., the northstate organization that provides services to people with disabilities and, among other projects, runs Fair Street Recycling.
Sorry, no show recording available this week
Our Questions for Stephanie Janczak
Stephanie is Manager of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Policy for the Ford Motor Company. Ford recently sent out a press release describing “20 Cool Places to Charge Your Electric Vehicle,” including some in California as well as others from Hawaii to New York. We’d like to ask about those places and, more broadly, how electric cars can contribute to a cleaner environment.
[Note to Stephanie: One cool place NOT on your list is the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico. Sierra Nevada has an impressive record of sustainable business practices and has a charging station in the parking lot outside its restaurant. Generally speaking, we found it difficult to go online and fine charging stations.]
Our Conversation with Carl Ochsner
Carl Ochsner is the Executive Director of Work Training Center, Inc., a northstate organization that provides services to people with disabilities. Most of us know WTC best for its Fair Street Recycling Center (with locations in Chico, Oroville, and Magalia), but the WTC has an amazing range of programs we’d like to hear about.
We’ve been talking with Carl Ochsner, Executive Director of the Work Training Center. For sure, listeners, visit their website <http://wtcinc.org/home/welcome.html> and see what you can do to participate in this very Ecotopian project.
Date: October 4, 2011
Our guest tonight on the phone is Peter Sale, an ecologist awho is Assistant Director of the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health in Hamilton, Ontario. He has taught at Sydney University, the University of New Hampshire, and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Windsor. His book is called Our Dying Planet: An Ecologist’s View of the Crisis We Face.
Part I: Our Dying Planet
Could you begin by telling us about United Nations University and the institute where you work?
How are you aligned with the U.N.? What areas/issues does the institute investigate?
Part II: Reversing the Trends
This is Ecotopia on KZFR and we’re talking with Peter Sale of the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health in Hamilton, Ontario. His book is called Our Dying Planet. We know that you don’t consider the situtation totally hopeless. In this segment, we’d like to talk with you about steps we can take to reverse the decline of our ecosystems.
Our guest has been Peter F. Sale, author of Our Dying Planet: An Ecologist’s View of the Crisis We Face, just released by the University of California Press. If you are interested in learning more about his work at the Institute for Water, Environment, and Health go to inweh.unu.edu/. You can read more about his book at petersalebooks.com, and ucpress.edu.
Thank you Peter Sale.