Friday, September 5, 2008

Hurricane Season

If you read my little profile on the right side bar, you will learn two interesting facts. I was born in southern Louisiana and nowhere in my genealogy are there signs that indicate I should be doing this type of work.

My family that still live in Louisiana went through Katrina while some of my cousins watched from afar in Iraq. Many of the men and women from Louisiana who were serving in Iraq where shipped back to help with the relief efforts of Katrina. Just two days ago when Hurricane Gustav hit many of those same men and women were deployed to New Orleans just in case.

Southern Louisiana is often called Cancer Alley. There are many many chemical plants and facilities in the area and cancer clusters in surrounding neighborhoods are off the charts. Both my mother and sister had hysterectomies before the age of 34 (my sister only partially) because of the first stages of cervical (my mother) and ovarian (my sister) cancers. My mother also has had thyroid cancer, high blood pressure, suffered a massive stroke at 45 that left her unconscious for several days, and was diagnosed with Addison's Disease when I was 5. My aunt had breast and then stomach cancer, which eventually killed her. And I can keep naming illnesses that family members have suffered and continue to suffer with but I think you get my point.

Louisiana is one hot toxic mess.

I had a near panic this past weekend when I watched and listened to news reports talking about how bad Gustav was suppose to be, those around me saw it. What I continue to think about is climate change and that big hot toxic mess where I was born. The impacts of climate change are just going to get more intense and mixing unregulated chemical facilities with 140 mile an hour winds and declining infrastructure looks to me like Breast Cancer on Amphetamines.

Instituting precautionary approaches to our chemical industry isn't just about me having something to do each week day between 9 and 5, it's about protecting what we have. What happens when you send little girls to a school that is built on a former municipal solid waste incinerator? That little girl might lose her ability to reproduce, because she is drinking contaminated water and playing in contaminated dirt. What happens when a category 5 hurricane hits a chlorine plant? Communities are going to be destroyed.

Superfund sites are also of great concern. Here is the official map of Superfund sites in Louisiana.

So that was all pretty despressing.

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