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New! September Networker: Changing the Rules of the Game

SEHN logoSEHN Networker Volume 20 (8) September, 2015Changing the Rules of the Game: SEHN's strategic engagement with grassroots groups


SEHN's Strategic Engagement with Grassroots Groups


Dear Reader,

This month we want to share with you how we at SEHN are bringing our work to grassroots organizing.

Climate change is driving the law and policy of future generations and public health issues, and was an inevitable outgrowth of SEHN’s work on the precautionary principle and the law of future generations. More and more we learn that risk factors -- whether from climate change or breast cancer --  are not experienced in isolation. As Science Director, Ted Schettler, points out in his recent piece on breast cancer, risks "co-occur and interact in complex ways, creating system conditions...when we attempt to take this complexity apart for purposes of research or decision-making, we often miss the properties that emerge from the whole."

SEHN takes this strategic approach: it engages communities, academics, and governments to protect and restore public and ecosystem health. You’ve heard earlier about the work we’ve been doing on pipelines. We engage in grassroots organizing with the assumption that if we can stop a multi-state pipeline in one jurisdiction, we can possibly stop the whole pipeline; and if we can stop one pipeline, we are more likely to shut down tar sands and fracking for gas and oil, which fuel unsustainable and unhealthy systems like our agricultural system.

We also recognize that communities need tools to understand and more effectively apply science and defend their communities where public officials and corporations will not. We have developed legal principles and community tools designed to stop climate change at its source--energy extraction. We draw the connections between women, breast cancer, and the environmental health field. We are participating in grassroots coalitions, bringing new strategies and analysis to support local efforts to stop noxious facilities of all sorts, to better protect public health and the environment.

Our goal is to change the rules of the game, so that communities have the tools they need to come together, to withdraw their consent to harmful projects, and to give their consent to the activities that give future generations a shot at inheriting a livable planet. The work is hard and at times emotional. SEHN has tools to offer for working within uncertainty, at the edges of the unknown, and from the assumption that no grassroots group should have to start from scratch.

Sincerely, Carolyn Raffensperger Executive Director

Kaitlin Butler Program Director

P.S. None of this work would be possible without your support. Please consider donating to SEHN today!

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SAVE THE DATE! Breast Cancer, Scientific Uncertainty, and the Rise of Women's Activism: A Detective Story

October 21, 2015, 7pm-9pm

Carondolet Center, 1890 Randolph AveSt Paul, MN 55105

EcologyofBCcover.aspxJoin us to hear Dr. Ted Schettler, author of The Ecology of Breast Cancer, and Carolyn Raffensperger, Executive Director of the Science & Environmental Health Network, and co-founder of the Women's Congress for Future Generations, share how women with breast cancer sparked major changes in the environmental health field.Ted and Carolyn will talk about the next chapter in the story of science, women's leadership and new, practical rules for changing the game. They will explore the puzzle of the rise of breast cancer and when we know enough to act. How can we apply the lessons learned from that story to other issues of the day in order to protect current and future generations from harm?

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC RSVP Requested: Please email:

SEHN's Writing: Recent blog posts on Cancer, Cows, and the U.S. Oil and Gas Rush

Can a Cow Virus Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer?

By Ted Schettler, Science Director

County Boards of Supervisors are Key Decision-­‐Makers in the Dakota Access Pipeline Matter

By Carolyn Raffensperger, Executive Director

Utah is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Unconventional Energy Development

By Kaitlin Butler, Program Director

New! Don't miss Carolyn and Kaitlin's recent Publications with On the Commons Magazine:

The New Ecofeminism: Fulfilling our sacred responsibilities to future generations

It's Time to Take Back the Law : 8 Legal Principles that give Earth and future generations a chance

Actions in the Field: Bakken Pipeline Fighters call for Accountability

A group of 13 organizations of Bakken Pipeline fighters call for State Utility Commissions to be held accountable to the demands of concerned citizens and landowners across state lines, and to recognize the unprecedented nature of the Bakken Pipeline. In the demands listed in the indictment, you will see SEHN’s work on guardianship of future generations, public trust responsibility and the rights of future generations.Follow the Coalition's activities here.


CHE Call Calendar and Archive

The CHE Cancer Working Group is undertaking a series of teleconferences titled Theories of Carcinogenesis to explore the theories around environmental contributors to cancer. These theories have a direct bearing on how environmental contributors to carcinogenesis are perceived and evaluated. For updates on this series and other partnership calls, Join CHE Today.

Interested readers: Listen to the archived MP3 of the first call in theTheories of Carcinogenesis series: July 21st -- Assessing the Carcinogenic Potential of Low-Dose Exposures to Chemical Mixtures in the Environment

Thanks for sharing in our excitement around this challenging, important work. We welcome any comments or suggestions for future Networkers at