Sunday, October 28, 2012

Living Downstream by Sandra Steingraber - "Go Talk to Your Fish"

Hello.  I hope you are well.

Back in September, I wrote about Sandra Steingraber's article The Fracking of Rachel Carson.  Steingraber is an ecologist, writer, and film collaborator.

She's just now in Canada, touring with the Chandra Chavanesse, the Toronto-based producer of Living Downstream, the film adaptation of Steingraber's book of the same name.  They were interviewed by Karen Gordon this morning on CBC radio's Fresh Air show (

I hadn't realized that there was a second edition of the book Living Downstream, with updated technical/scientific material.  Basically, it's more proof that there are a lot of toxic materials getting into our water (as well as our air and soil) and they are making us sick.

The website for the film ( actually makes available a comprehensive guide to activists, teachers and interested others ... how to talk to people about the ideas in the film, how to get active in your community and beyond.  To have such a resource is brilliant! 

In the forward to this guide Steingraber writes about a trip to East Africa she made while in her 20s, several years after her own bout with bladder cancer.  She met an Ethiopian man whose village had had to move because the army had wrecked the road upstream and all the fish had died.  He asked her about the fish in her own home rivers and she realized she'd never been able to eat any because the water quality had been bad all her life. 

"You must go home, too, and confront the ones poisoning your river.  Go talk to your fish."

His words surely helped set Steingraber's path in life, which has included the book and the film Living Downstream.  "The very words living downstream are intended as a statement of gratitude to that anonymous Ethiopian farmer who first encouraged me to go home and confront sources of pollution in my own community,"  Steingraber says.

Copies of the first edition of Steingraber's book are in the King's University College, Weldon, and Central Libraries.  The film is available at King's.  I'll try to get there soon.

We can all check out the film trailer at

What person or circumstance affected you on your journey to heal the world, or your neighbourhood?

Very best regards,

Why's Woman

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