On April 22nd we celebrate Earth Day. In the United States and in many communities around the world we will  make efforts to  spend time in nature: walks in local  parks and picnics on the beach.  We will also take time to join with others to help with park and neighborhood clean ups and to participate in Earth Day fairs where we may learn more about saving water and electricity and also why and how we can grow and eat healthy foods. Many of our Climate Mamas and Papas will be speaking at events to share more information about climate change, it’s causes and our options to slow it down. And, we will be watching how our government representatives, from the President on down, celebrate and commemorate Earth Day. Can they take the politics out of climate and environmental issues even for one day – we will see.

As we well know, we have no time for partisanship when it comes to climate change. Climate change knows no political boundaries, no party affiliation, no color, race or religion. Yet, certain parts of our planet, in particular low lying states and coastal cities are already being hit hardest by climate change. In many developing countries and in our own country, people of color, women and low income communities are those that are hit first and worst by the impacts of climate change. How we talk about these facts, and how people come to understand the urgency of the climate

Photo Credit: Emily Arasim

crisis are critical keys to unlocking our potential to act quickly in the face of the existential threat we have put in motion.

We are therefore thrilled to share with you an incredible journalism project, The Last Generation, created and launched by The GroundTruth Project and PBS FRONTLINE. The Last Generation is an interactive documentary film about three children who are among the Marshall Islands’ “last generation.”

The Marshall Islands may be one of the world’s smallest greenhouse gas emitters, yet it faces the direst consequences from rising global temperatures and sea levels. The Last Generation gets to the heart of what it’s like to grow up in a place that’s going away while also unpacking scientists’ evolving understanding of climate change and sea level rise. This is the story of a country in peril — told by 9-year-old Izerman Yamaguchi-Kotton, 14-year-old Julia Rijino and 12-year-old Wilmer Joel.

In 2014 in New York City during the United Nations Summit on Climate Change, I had the honor of interviewing Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a young mother from the Marshall Islands who delivered the opening address at the Summit. Kathy passionately and decisively spoke to our world leaders, sharing a promise she delivered to her then 7 month old daughter, Matafele Peinem, who was with her in the General Assembly Hall. Kathy was calm but incredibly forceful when she said that: “we all deserve to do more than just survive, we deserve to thrive.” Kathy made it all seem simple; at the end of the day, would we not all – world leaders included – do whatever it takes to ensure that our children will not only survive, but thrive? Sadly and as we know, it is more complicated than it should be. Many children including Kathy’s daughter, as well as Izerman, Julia and Willmer, will not have the opportunity to grow up and thrive in the homeland that their mothers and fathers knew and grew up in.

Please share Julia, Izerman and Wilmer’s stories with the kids in your life. Send this link to your children’s teachers so they too can share it with their students.

 

Climate communications research studies tell us that, “trusted messengers” are those who people listen to most closely and rely on for the truth. These messengers can be and are most often different people for different audiences. However children, as trusted messengers, are heard in a far deeper, clearer and more direct way then many of us will ever be heard.

Yours in hope and strength this Earth Week, Month, Day and Year…

Warmly,

 

Climate Mama

P.S. on this Earth Day eve, do share this link to grant funding for schools, after school programs and children’s clubs that Participant Media and the National Wildlife Federation have created. The grant application is really, really easy to fill out; do it today as the applications need to be submitted by Earth Day 2018!

 

 

 

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On March 24, 2018 I marched in Newark, NJ to raise attention to gun violence and the need for sensible gun laws. Many of our Climate Mamas and Papas marched in their cities and in our nation’s capital.  On April 14th, people across the country will once again march for science; for reality, for our future and now.

There ARE so many marches these days, marches for jobs, teachers, equal pay, for tax reform, for healthcare, for immigrant rights, for women’s rights, for science and more – all of these marches are demanding and standing up for the truth; sadly a rarified commodity these days.

Think for a moment about how amazing, important and incredible it is, that in the United States we are free to march, to express our opinions and to have our voices heard, even when they don’t necessarily agree with the opinions of those in charge. We need to be on guard, as these rights to express our views and to protest, are in fact being threatened in many states across the country, but that discussion is for another time. Continue reading

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“Be the change you wish to see in the world”..
No one says it better then Ghandi…!

Earth Hour this year coincides with student led marches – the March for our Lives – all across the United States and around the world. These marches are demanding an end to gun violence and mass shootings and are a powerful way for us all to say “no more” to the status quo. Our children are our future and they are taking their rightful place – front and center – showing us that they will not allow complacency on issues and areas that impact their lives in negative and harmful ways. Our children are the change we wish to see and as their parents, it’s our responsibility to be there: beside them, behind them, or in front, wherever we can help them be heard, seen and lead.

Find a  march or rally near you and go together as a family – there are more then 830 taking place! Talk about the day and the world around us and how we all can “be the change.” Then, together as a family, turn the lights off at 8:30pm – wherever you are –  and celebrate the power of our children. Make some noise and remind each other that the future is now and it is in our hands to shape, change and create.

Use this special family time to plan a daily, weekly or regular activity where you and your kids are the change that changes our world for the better. Really talk to your kids about how you feel about our changing climate, about gun violence, about issues of grave concern and hope for your family,  and listen deeply to your children as they share with you how they feel. Acknowledge that climate change is scary – but show them that in the face of what seem like intractable issues such as gun violence – our children are leading, standing up and waking us all up to the realities we face and the clear path we must take  –  we CAN and WILL face scary monsters together, head on, and make them run away!

Here is a word matching game to share when the lights are out. Can you match the words below with the family they are associated with?

POD, COLONY, BALE, WARM, ARMY, HERD, POSSIBLE?

Watch this short film by the World Wildlife Federation with the kids in your life and find the matches.  We are all so closely connected, yet our planet is out of balance. All the amazing species (including us) that have evolved over millennial on our wonderful home face threats and threat multipliers, many of which we have created – knowingly and unknowingly. We can be the change; the future is NOT written.

Remember our Climatemama motto: “Tell the truth; Actions speak louder then words..and; Don’t be afraid…”

Yours,

Climate Mama

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March 8th is International Women’s Day and is observed as a national holiday in many countries around the world. I want to share some of my thoughts with you on this special day.  I feel strongly that women are central to creating a culture that will make, create and facilitate policies and actions that successfully build a livable and hopeful world for us and our children;  as we live climate change together.

First though, a little background that you can share with the kids in your life on the history of International Women’s Day. The day was first “established” in the early 1900’s as an opportunity to unite women in the campaign for women’s rights to work, vote, and be trained to hold public office and to end discrimination. For so many reasons, particularly in this day and age of #metoo, we clearly must continue to mark the importance of this day for the same reasons – we are obviously not there yet. Also, this day is a marker to acknowledge and celebrate women who have taken a stand and are doing so now, for women’s rights and voices to be heard and upheld. In many countries, and in our own country, women still are not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally and in the USA, women’s education and health often are not supported adequately or equally. Violence against women in a myriad of forms continues to be perpetrated too often and regularly without penalty.

Today, I see and feel a part of a real movement building among women across many networks and from a wide range of backgrounds and beliefs. This is a movement built on the difficult and mounting challenges that climate change, corporate power, ineffective government and greed are placing on us and our planet. While this movement is not yet clearly defined, it is taking shape and has many tentacles. This is a movement that is built upon the belief in a bright future for our children based on clean energy, access to abundant food, clean air, potable water and social justice for ourselves, our families and for the world community. Every day I feel excited, exhilarated and passionate – and I have to admit, I am scared as well. I am part of this movement and I strongly believe that women will be the change agents we need to move us forward successfully. The 2018 mid-term elections in the US will be a telling point as we see the power of women surge at the ballot boxes and as we too run in large numbers as candidates for elected office.

Continue reading

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As Climate Mamas and Papas we look for small and large ways to show we are taking climate action. We find opportunities to demonstrate our resolve to “walk the walk” on sustainability and to build climate hope and a livable future and now. We regularly take stands on issues; we make our voices  heard by elected officials, and we support companies and organizations that are leading the way forward.

As parents, life is hectic – juggling home, work, and multiple schedules –  as we try to find time to just “be in the moment” with our families. We wanted to introduce you to our “go to” card and invitation company, Paperless Post which helps us find time and also accomplish tasks that otherwise could be time and energy consuming. Our Climate Mama, Harriet, began using Paperless Post soon after it was founded in 2008, when a young brother and sister team James and Alex Hirschfield, then in their early twenties,  established this innovative company. Paperless Post is 10 years old this year and has survived the test of time and of competitors –  and continues to thrive, innovate and be a leader in the on-line invitation field.

Over the years Harriet has used Paperless Post for both of her children’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah invitations, for birthday parties, for Climate Mama invitational events and for a wide range of birthday, wedding and anniversary greetings, thank you’s and sympathy cards; as well as just to say hello! Unlike some other one-line card and invitation companies, there are no ads, you pay directly on the site, and you can use free or fee based invitation and card designs.

 

The cards and invitations are easy to modify and make personal, and the invitation RSVP’s are easy to track and follow up. Harriet has recommended Paperless Post to a wide range of friends and family and continues to be impressed with regular updates, new designs and technology innovations.

Paperless Post feels personal. When you receive a Paperless Post invitation it opens like a card you would receive in the mail. It has a stamp (which you can personalize) and the cards and invitations are beautiful, fun, simple, elegant and sophisticated – whatever you want them to be. We love Paperless Post and highly recommend it!

Give Paperless Post a try, and let us know what you think. As we live climate change, the examples we set for our children, neighbors and friends are so important. The more we can show that we are giving thought to how each action and activity we take impacts our footprints on our planet, the more hopeful our future and now becomes.

Yours,

 

Climate Mama

Note: We have received Paperless Post coins to tryout the service and share our experience. As with any product or service we discuss on our site, our opinions are our own, and are not influenced by any outside sources. We would never recommend a product or service we would not use ourselves, nor would we share information about a product or service we do not feel is taking a stand on climate and sustainability.

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Could a ban on fracking drilling be enough to protect the land, flora fauna, people and WATER of the Delaware River Basin? Would water withdrawals from the Delaware to enable fracking in other regions, including as well the storage, processing and discharge of frack waste in the region – put the land, flora, fauna, people and WATER at risk, even if a drilling  ban is in place? This possibility seems incongruous at the very least and in reality –  completely incompatible!

According to the Delaware River Basin Commission website: “A breakthrough in water resources management occurred in 1961 when President Kennedy and the governors of Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York for the first time signed concurrent compact legislation into law creating a regional body with the force of law to oversee a unified approach to managing a river system without regard to political boundaries.” 

What an amazing concept! Although as with any governing body, it does have flaws – non the less the Commission has been effectively working to protect the basin for more then 50 years;  the concept is being emulated and replicated around the world.  Currently, the Commission has an opportunity to show the world what “Water Protectors” really look like.  From where we sit, being a water protector must mean supporting a complete fracking BAN in the Basin. This trumps the half measures that are being proposed  by some.

One Thursday, February 22nd, our Climate Mama Harriet, attended  Public Hearing No. 5. on the Delaware River Basin Commission’s Draft Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations. 

It is worthwhile and important to note, that while the Commission is represented by 4 state Governors and the federal government –  hearings on the Draft Fracking regulations were ONLY held in Pennsylvania. New York, New Jersey and Delaware residents had to travel to PA to be heard.  The Basin watershed provides water to more than 15 million people in all 4 states. We too, should and must have a voice as these critical regulations are finalized.

Harriet’s full statement is included below. Click on the public hearing photo to listen to some of the testimony from the February 22nd hearing.

The Commission is taking comments through March 30th. The Delaware River Keeper Network has made it very easy for you to comment on the record and learn more about what is at stake.

Sign up for Watershed Wednesday’s weekly actions. Join us as well and Sign on to a petition to protect the Delaware and call for a permanent fracking BAN.  

Send in your comments directly:

Written comments will be accepted by the Commission through 5 p.m. on March 30, 2018 Written comments should be submitted – along with any attachments – through the Commission’s online comments webpage at http://dockets.drbc.commentinput.com/

Hearing #6: March 6, 2018: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.; This will be a moderated public hearing by telephone. Members of the public are encouraged to listen by calling 1-866-831-8713 and asking the operator to connect them to the DRBC call. Those wishing to address the commission at this hearing can register for an opportunity to speak at http://bit.ly/2pdqxQ9.

Yours,

 

Climate Mama

 

February 22nd, 2018

 Draft Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations Public Hearing No. 5

Written Statement as prepared for delivery to the Delaware River Basin Commission

Harriet Shugarman[1]

Greetings, I have travelled here today from northern New Jersey and welcome the opportunity to address each of you.

I am speak as a representative of ClimateMama, a national organization with members from all of the Basin States and in my capacity as the New York City Chair of the Climate Reality Project. I am also an adjunct professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey where I teach a senior level course on Global Climate Change Policy.

I know you have heard many thoughtful arguments already I would like to focus my remarks on climate impacts that threaten the Basin. The realities that climate change already brings to bear on the region must be considered, as must the future climate change impacts – these, as best we can.

I am not sure how closely you been following the arrival of “Day Zero” in Capetown South Africa.[2] Cape Town is a sophisticated city with sustainability programs that serve as models around the world. Yet, as early as July 9th of this year, the taps for nearly 1 million people will be turned off. The drought that has created this near “Mad Max” scenario came seemingly out of no where, in the last 3 years.

Arriving at a water budget is not an easy task; particularly as we live climate change, yet it is one I know that you as guardians of our Basin, are working to arrive at. With the impacts of climate change ever present, anything that threatens the flora and fauna that rely on the Delaware to survive and the access of more than 15 million people to the clean and reliable waters of the Delaware, must be stopped.

Earlier this week, astonishing scientists, the Arctic recorded temperatures above zero, 45 degrees more than normal, this with no sunlight. This is not an anomaly, it is something that has happened numerous times over the past few years[3]. This occurred as we in the northeast are also baking in an unseasonably warm February for the second year in a row, New York City, DC, Boston and Portland Maine all set new high temperatures this week, while Pittsburgh broke a 127 year heat record – hitting 78 degrees yesterday. These types of extremes are happening with more regularity and frequency all around the world.

This past summer, New York magazine published an article called, The Uninhabitable Earth.[4] It looked at the “worst case scenarios” of unchecked climate change. As policy makers, we often use the middle of the standard deviation when assessing possible scenarios; there are no clear studies that tell us how soon or when climate impacts will be catastrophic. This article called on us to look at the worst case scenario, one and two standard deviations away from the norm. There was push back from all sides, including the climate science community. Yet, should we not use the precautionary principal when considering something as critical as our access to fresh water?

I am sure that some of you, like me are parents, or grandparents, uncles or aunts. Climate change is happening on our watch. It is our job to do what we can so that our children have a chance at a safe, healthy and livable future. The United Nations speaks about common but differentiated responsibilities; or as my kids like to say, those that can go big, must. Please visualize your children and mine as you make this critical and very big decision.

As we have seen, time and again, “unexpected” and “unimaginable” scenarios do occur, we can only control that which we can control. You control what happens next. Anything short of a complete ban on drilling and fracking related activities, including, water related withdrawals and storage of waste water would be a dereliction of your stated vision and of your leadership.

Thank you.

[1] Contact: Harriet@climatemama.com

[2] http://coct.co/water-dashboard/

[3] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2018/02/21/arctic-temperatures-soar-45-degrees-above-normal-flooded-by-extremely-mild-air-on-all-sides/?utm_term=.77df1d363175

[4] http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html

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Jamie Anderson may be the best female snowboarder in the world. With a gold medal in slopestyle
at the South Korea Olympics; Jamie successful defended her gold medal title from the  Sochi Olympic games in 2014.  In case you missed our interview with Jamie back in December 2013, we wanted to repost it here for you to read and share with the kids in your life. Not only is Jamie an amazing snowboarder, she also has a deep understanding about why and how we should all take care of our planet. Jamie is an outspoken champion with Protect our Winters, which is working hard to mobilize positive action on climate change. When we talked with Jamie just before her Sochi gold medal win, she shared with us her work on sustainability programs in her hometown of South Lake Tahoe and her support for and promotion of sustainable living.

CLIMATEMAMA INTERVIEW WITH JAMIE ANDERSON: REPOSTED FROM DECEMBER 2013:

Very often, my work on climate change education and advocacy opens a “door” to something or someone surprising. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Olympic hopeful Jamie Anderson, a six time X Games medalist, and one of, if not THE, top-ranked female snowboard slope style riders in the world. Not only did my kids think I was pretty cool to have this opportunity, but after speaking to Jamie, I was also incredibly awed, impressed and thought I was pretty cool too! Born and raised in South Lake Tahoe, Jamie first learned to snowboard at the age of nine. One of eight siblings, she is health conscious and environmentally aware, and as I learned first hand, takes the drivers seat when it comes to supporting and promoting sustainable living.

Just 23, yet so very poised and seemingly an old soul, our conversation ran the gamut, from talking about Jamie’s new Nintendo Wii U game, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, to her down to earth, and very literal connection with nature. We discussed how and why we need to slow down and be “mindful” of our actions if we hope to create a sustainable future for ourselves, and our families. Continue reading

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When we become a father, mother, aunt, uncle, and grandparent for the very first time, our world changes forever; it really does. Holding our newborn for the first time envelopes us with feelings of incredible joy, but also with feelings of overwhelming responsibility. I certainly felt this way when both my children were born, and I hear directly from so many of our Climate Mamas and Papas that they feel this way too.

United Kingdom based climate scientist Adam Levy became an uncle for the first time in late December 2017. Adam has worked on climate change for a long time and even has a climate communication channel on YouTube, Climate Adam.  We wanted to share with you one of Adam’s wonderful videos, one that he created a few hours after his niece was born. We think it captures so many of the emotions we Climate Mamas and Papas feel when we welcome a newborn into this world; those of sheer awe at the miracle of birth and yet at the same time the overwhelming sense of concern because of the realities of our climate crisis.

Adam makes a pledge –  to himself, to us and to his niece –  to work hard to help the world be a kinder and safer place. We at ClimateMama agree wholeheartedly and pledge to do the same.

Thank you Adam.

Sincerely,

 

Climate Mama

P.S. If you haven’t already, check out some of the videos on More Than Scientists. You will find climate scientists speaking out in their voices as parents, uncles, aunts and teachers; all sharing and expressing their hopes, their concerns and their dreams.

 

Baby Photo by Chiến Phạm on Unsplash

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The Bedford 2020 Climate Action Summit, will take place in Bedford Hills, New York, on February 3, 2018. Climate Mamas and Papas from New York State as well from neighboring states of New Jersey, Connecticut and beyond,  will come together at the Summit to learn and share ideas  that look seriously and deeply at ways to address the urgent need for immediate, local and regional action that creates and implements solutions to the climate crisis we all face. Our children are watching, and we are showing them there are a multitude of positive ways forward. It’s not too late to Register!

Learn more about the Summit, it’s history and it’s importance in this excellent post by environmental journalist and author, Jan Barry.

Community Green Organizing

by Jan Barry

One town’s action plan addressing climate change and other environmental issues began nearly a decade ago in a community event at the high school on a wintry Saturday morning. The “Bedford Environmental Summit” was called by the town’s garden club and its energy advisory panel. One thousand people showed up.

The latest step in moving the town environmental action plan along is the Bedford 2020 Climate Action Summit scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 at Fox Lane High School in Bedford, NY. Even for people who can’t attend this event, the innovative eco-group has provided lots of useful information on its Facebook page and website.

The civic group’s mission “is to lead, organize and promote a community wide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020 and to create a sustainable community that conserves its natural resources,” the local environmental organization states on its website, which features a cornucopia of community activities information and organizing tips.

The Bedford 2020 Coalition has plugged into and in some cases energized a network of likeminded organizations in Westchester County and elsewhere in the Hudson Valley region. Notable residents of the New York City exurban commuter town have included Donald Trump and a movie marque-ful of famous actors and actresses. Organizers of the environmental action group, however, are “over 90 community volunteers, many of whom are professionals and experts with deep experience and credentials in our action areas.”

One of the most useful items on the Bedford 2020 website is a “Summit in a Box,” which provides an online manual for creating a community environmental action plan.

“Global warming and environmental issues are the central challenge of our times. The goal of the Bedford Environmental Summit (BES) was to find a way to educate our community about the most pressing environmental issues of the day, to create a ‘community of advocates’ who would take actions to solve these problems on a local level,” the executive summary for the manual states. “We believe that the BES is a worthy model for any community or organization whose goal is to encourage grass roots, local actions to mitigate the challenges presented by greenhouse gas emissions and diminishing natural resources.”

The first step in Bedford was holding the community event at the high school in January 2009, which drew 1000 people in a town of 17,000 residents. More than 240 volunteers, including 88 students, organized the event, which offered 85 speakers presenting key information on 28 topics. In the hallways, 78 Expo tables with information on environmental issues and organizations were set up and a locavore breakfast and lunch were provided, the organizing manual noted.

The community summit led to creation of the nonprofit Bedford 2020 Coalition, “whose mandate is to implement over 70 projects recommended in BEAP’s Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020; the creation of a ‘sustainable school district’ and many individual and collaborative projects emanating from the networking that occurred at the Summit,” the manual summary continued.

“The key elements to the success of the BES were an effective public/private partnership in co-sponsoring the event; a comprehensive and appealing program of lectures, workshops and Expo exhibits that provided multiple points of entry for individuals in the community to get engaged; extensive community involvement in the form of local organizations who were enlisted as ‘partners’ to assist in the planning and implementation of the Summit; and the focus by Summit organizers on ‘what happens next’ to motivate participants to think beyond the day of the Summit.”

What happened next were volunteer-organized programs to involve residents in energy conservation and installing solar panels on homes and businesses, composting food waste, reducing use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on lawns, boosting recycling of plastic, metal, glass and paper products, switching to a hybrid or electric car, and participating in Meatless Mondays to help reduce the amount of fossil fuel that goes into feeding and transporting beef cattle for hamburgers, chili con carne and steaks. Restaurants throughout town signed on as partners.

Local actions over the next several years helped create a county-wide network that by 2017 enlisted Westchester County and 20 town governments in Sustainable Westchester, “a consortium of local governments that facilitates green initiatives like Solarize Westchester, Community Choice Aggregation and the Municipal Solar Buyers Group.” A New York state program enables municipalities to choose getting 100 per cent of their electricity from solar, wind and hydro and “save money by negotiating bulk pricing for their supply.” The Town of Bedford is one of the municipalities participating in the state program.

“Bedford 2020 harnesses the power of community and drives action. This year, we have inspired thousands of people to reduce waste, increase efficiency, take on big green solutions and address climate change,” the group’s leaders stated in an October 2017 progress report. “Together we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting natural resources in Bedford and beyond.”

UN Climate Conference Heads of State Paris, 2015 Attribution: UNClimateChange Creative Commons

In an addendum to the progress report, the elected town supervisor, Chris Burdick, states: “We are proud that our Town has pledged a commitment to the Paris Climate Accord goals, with Bedford 2020 leading the way.”

For more information check out the Bedford2020 website 

This article is posted with permission, in it’s entirety. It was originally published on Mr. Barry’s Earth Mission Log, on January 26, 2018; Earth Mission Log  is a look at creative actions by people around the globe to address the precarious state of life on Earth; Check it out today! 

 Jan Barry is an environmental journalist and author of A Citizen’s Guide to Grassroots Campaigns, Earth Songs: New & Selected Poems, and other works. He was lead reporter on the “Toxic Legacy” investigative report by The Record (Bergen County, NJ) and featured in the HBO documentary Mann v. Ford. He’s done investigative reports on numerous environmental issues including Vietnam veterans’ health concerns regarding Agent Orange, carried by The Associated Press, New York Times and other publications. He teaches Environmental Writing at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

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