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The Heartland: Environmental threat or promise?


Networker Volume 22 (2), March, 2017

Dear Reader

The Heartland and all the bordering rural areas are often described as “fly-over” country, places that barely merit a glance out the airplane window. And yet these vast lands are emerging as the center of both great environmental hazards and great environmental promise. For instance, crude oil pipelines are an increasing threat to the agricultural lands and the rivers of the Midwest. Dakota Access crosses four Midwest states and the specter of Keystone XL has risen again from the bowels of corporate profit centers. With the few exceptions of major river crossings like the Missouri River at Standing Rock, the Mississippi River and the Des Moines River in Iowa, Dakota Access was sited on privately owned farm land. SEHN is the sponsor for the Iowa coalition resisting Dakota Access and we’ve been deeply involved in this struggle for almost three years.

The story of Dakota Access contains an enormous number of cautionary environmental tales. One that is not well-known is that the exact location of Dakota Access’ crossing of the Missouri River and the threat to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s drinking water is a private ranch immediately adjacent to the Tribe’s reservation. During the fall resistance to pipeline, it was discovered that the rancher had used a nasty pesticide named Rozol to kill prairie dogs. But it had also killed numerous bald eagles and bison. There is some question of whether the Water Protectors were also affected by the pesticide.

We are all connected.

This story of the pesticides, pipelines and water illustrates SEHN’s work over the past year. SEHN Science Director, Ted Schettler, has written a white paper on meat in which he examines the ecological costs of the growing demand for meat.  Can we make better agricultural and dietary choices?  We feature that work in this issue of the Networker.

We also want to share with you our 2016 annual report where you will see the stories of our work on pipelines, tar sands, the Women’s Congress and so much more.

We truly are all connected—and grateful to be connected with you.  Thank you for your support for this work.  Your kind words and financial contributions sustain us.

- Carolyn Raffensperger

The Measure of Meat: Efficiency or Ecology?

By Ted Schettler, Science Director Science & Environmental Health Network March, 2017

Full White PaperHERE

Meat consumption in countries around the world varies more than 30-fold, with the US near the top. Our appetite for meat, estimated to be on average 137-250 pounds per person annually, far exceeds nutritional recommendations. [1][2][3] Meanwhile many people in other countries, some long-deprived of meat’s benefits, want more. Some estimates predict a near doubling of global demand by 2050, fueled more by economic than population growth.[4][5][6] This anticipated change in the diet of a dominant planetary species is unprecedented historically in time or scale. Implications for human, ecosystem and planetary health are profound...Continue Reading HERE(summary with references) Full White Paper (with full Reference list) HERE

2016 Annual Report

Our 2016 Annual Report is now available. You were critical to the successes and the progress we made in 2016. We know there is more work to be done, and we hope we can continue to support each other in 2017 and beyond as we together work to protect what we love. Together, we can continue to intervene at powerful leverage points, creating new rules of the game and bringing about the change so desperately needed to ensure a healthy earth for future generations. Thank you!

Staff Transition

Our wonderful program director, Kaitlin Butler, will be leaving the SEHN crew March 31st.  Kaitlin has been with us for 6 years, first in a volunteer capacity with the Women’s Congress for Future Generations and then on the staff for the past couple of years.  We wish her well.  Thank you Kaitlin for your remarkable grit and grace!  You truly are irreplaceable!

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