Cancer survivors can be a powerful lobby for change. We can show the human cost of past polluting practices. We can reimagine a future built on the principles of precaution, green chemistry, and green engineering. But only if we don't confine ourselves to the present moment. Living each day as if it were your last is not all it's cracked up to be. In fact, discounting the future and ignoring the past is how we've contaminated the earth with toxic chemicals in the first place.
Sandra Steingraber contributes weekly posts to the Huffington Post website. Here are her most recent posts:
How My Mother and I Learned to Speak About Cancer
(October 24, 2012)
My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 44. Three years later I was diagnosed with cancer myself — bladder cancer — and whatever discussion I might have had with my mom about the curiously depressing aspects of the parking garage walkway yielded to graver concerns. These were mostly unvoiced.
Cancer: The Public and Private Conversation
(October 3, 2012)
At age 20, while lying on a hospital bed in my own hometown, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Perhaps because the rituals of being a cancer patient are so far removed from public life, we sometimes presume its causes are likewise located in an interior, intimate place. And some of the roots of cancer are indeed found there. But cancer has a public dimension, too.
Fracking Truth to Fracking Power
(August 1, 2012)
The scientific analysis that is supposed to provide our Governor the facts and information he needs to make a crucial decision was crafted with the guidance of the gas industry, not of the state's scientists.
The Metaphors of Fracking
(July 18, 2012)
Fracking is a technology surrounded by metaphors that blind us to the data. Natural gas is called a bridge. And, claim its proponents, it will carry us to many good places.
Safe Hydrofracking Is the New Jumbo Shrimp
(June 4, 2012)
With an insistence on best practices, could drilling and fracking operations be made safe enough to be sited in densely populated communities — or even sparsely populated communities — without making the people who live there feel they are living in a war zone?
A Poem for the Marcellus
(May 2, 2012)
In honor of both National Poetry Month and Earth Day, I offer below a love song to the bedrock: the methane-suffused shale that geologists call the Marcellus, which now lies in the crosshairs of the oil and gas industry.
How to Have a Colonoscopy
(April 23, 2012)
Colon cancer is a leading killer. Colon cancer is highly preventable. The stakes are high. But so is public confusion about screening guidelines.
Cancer in the Ransom Note
(April 5, 2012)
Why should cancer patients in the United States and Canada — and those who love or diagnose them — care about a report about looming water shortages in distant countries such as South Africa and Argentina?
The President's Cancer Panel report has been provoking passionate responses. An attack by the nation's leading cancer charity against a report that argues for cancer prevention via stronger environmental reform deserves a closer look.
There is also a disconnect between what we in the scientific community know about the roles that chemical exposures play in the story of cancer and what cancer patients are told.