In 1978, Love Canal first hit the headlines as an entire community struggled with the fact that they were living on top of a toxic waste dump. Within weeks, a grassroots movement forced national decision-makers to pay heed, and the community was evacuated. Love Canal entered modern mythology as one of the most notorious environmental scandals in the world. Yet, 20 years later, homes at Love Canal have been resold, and some 50,000 similar sites remain.
Love Canal may never have become so widely known without the leadership of the young Niagara Falls housewife who organized her community and went on to become an international folk heroine: Lois Gibbs. In Love Canal: The Story Continues, Gibbs gives the blow-by-blow account of how she and her fellow residents first became aware of health problems caused by 20,000 tons of toxic chemicals buried beneath the ground. Children playing barefoot in their backyards were discovered to have burned feet, and alarming numbers of neighbors were plagued with mysterious diseases. Faced with denial and empty reassurances from government, Gibbs persisted, and eventually 900 families were relocated.
The Love Canal story was far from over, however. In this updated edition, Lois Gibbs continues the saga beyond the 1981 relocation to include the “containment” of the contamination, the habitability studies that led to the resettlement of abandoned houses, the success of New York State's lawsuit against the company responsible, and her founding of the Citizen's Clearinghouse for Hazardous Wastes - now at the forefront of a unique movement for environmental justice.
In 1998, as people across North America remember the 20th anniversary of this notorious event, Love Canal: The Story Continues will be of immense value to grassroots and community activists everywhere. Highly readable, the book will also appeal to a wide cross section, including public officials, students, and the general reader.
About the Author
Lois Gibbs is the Executive Director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. She is the recipient of over 20 prestigious awards including the Goldman Environmental Prize for North America (1990), and an Honorary Doctorate at the State University of New York at Cortland. The author of numerous reports, book contributions, and Dying from Dioxin, she has also been featured on many television and radio shows including Oprah, the Bill Moyers Show, and the MacNeil-Lehrer Report.
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