|About the Book|
I just got mad. I couldnt breathe in my own house.--RuthReed, a resident of Ocala, Florida, who lives next door to a Royal Oak CharcoalfactoryAcross the United States, thousands of people, most of them in low-income orminority communities, liveMoreI just got mad. I couldnt breathe in my own house.--RuthReed, a resident of Ocala, Florida, who lives next door to a Royal Oak CharcoalfactoryAcross the United States, thousands of people, most of them in low-income orminority communities, live next to heavily polluting industrial sites. Many of them, like Ruth Reed, reach a point at which they say Enough is enough. Afterliving for years with poisoned air and water, contaminated soil, andpollution-related health problems, they start to take action--organizing, speakingup, documenting the effects of pollution on their neighborhoods. In Sacrifice Zones, Steve Lerner tells the stories of twelve communities, from Brooklyn to Pensacola, that rose up to fight the industries and military bases causing disproportionatelyhigh levels of chemical pollution. He calls these low-income neighborhoodssacrifice zones--repurposing a Cold War term coined by U.S. governmentofficials to designate areas contaminated with radioactive pollutants during themanufacture of nuclear weapons. And he argues that residents of a new generation ofsacrifice zones, tainted with chemical pollutants, need additional regulatoryprotections.Studies show that poor and minority neighborhoods are more polluted thanwealthier areas located farther away from heavy industry. Sacrifice Zones goesbeyond these disheartening statistics and gives us the voices of the residentsthemselves. We hear from people like Margaret L. Williams, who organized herneighbors to demand relocation away from two Superfund hazardous waste sites- HiltonKelley, who came back to his hometown to find intensified emissions from the ExxonMobil refinery next to the housing project in which he grew up- and Laura Ward, whofound technicians drilling a hole in her backyard to test groundwater for pollutionfrom the nearby Lockheed Martin weapons plant. Sacrifice Zones offers compellingportraits of accidental activists who have become grassroots leaders in the strugglefor environmental justice and details the successful tactics they have used on thefence line with heavy industry.