Sandra Steingraber will be speaking in Fort Worth and Dallas on April 21. Photo by Laura Kozlowski.

April 13, 2018

An environmentalist following in the footsteps of her hero Rachel Carson is coming to DFW.

Sandra Steingraber will be speaking on the New Science on the Harms of Fracking and Its Infrastructure at First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1959 Sandy Lane in Fort Worth at 1 p.m. on April 21. The event is hosted by Liveable Arlington.

Following the lecture, she will be a panelist at EarthX for the 4:45 p.m. screening of the documentary Unfractured, which features her work as an activist.

Like Carson who sounded the alarm on pesticides with her groundbreaking 1962 book Silent Spring, Steingraber is also a biologist and author who has drawn attention to the ill effects of man-made toxins.

Steingraber’s journey to environmental activist began as a youth in Illinois, where she was diagnosed with bladder cancer at age 20. Cancer ran in her family. However, Steingraber, an adoptee, surmised her own cancer couldn’t be linked to shared genetics. As she researched the topic, she came to believe the role one's environment played in illness was being downplayed.

Steingraber’s dual aptitudes – she holds a PhD in biology and a masters in English and Creative Writing – gave her the ability to write and speak about the complex topic. Her books include Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment; Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood; and Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis.

Sandra Steingraber's War on Toxic Trespassers

Bill Moyers interviewed Sandra Steingraber in 2013. 

Carson, who herself suffered from breast cancer as she finished her groundbreaking book, is credited with launching the modern environmental movement. But Steingraber believes humans have yet to fully digest Carson’s lesson.

While Carson's research led to the banning of DDT, Steingraber says companies are still using chemicals that have been linked to disease. Many more chemicals in use have not been fully vetted. 

“Only 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals used in the United States have been tested under the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976,” wrote Steingraber. Since 1976, only five chemicals have been banned under the Act.

In recent years, the 58-year-old Steingraber has taken aim at fracking in New York, where she lives with her husband and two children and is a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College. She has participated in anti-fracking demonstrations and even gone to jail to underscore her opposition to a company that wanted to store fracked gases in abandoned salt mines under Seneca Lake. According to Steingraber, while those who financially gain from fracking are adamant that it is safe, there’s enough scientific evidence that fracking does effect human health and the environment.

“The data tells a different story,” Steingraber insists. 

She compares large scale corporate environmental destruction to the rise of Fascism in the 1940s and said that history calls us to stand up to powerful forces.

“We are all members of a great human orchestra,” says Steingraber, “and it is now time to play the Save the World Symphony. You do not have to play a solo, but you do have to know what instrument you hold and find your place in the score.”

Sandra Steingraber in DFW

About: The biologist, activist and author will speak in Fort Worth and Dallas.

When: April 21, @1 p.m., Steingraber will speak on New Science on the Harms of Fracking and Its Infrastructure at First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1959 Sandy Lane in Fort Worth. Hosted by Liveable Arlington.

@4:45 p.m., she will be a panelist for a screening of Unfractured at the Women's Museum at Fair Park in Dallas. Hosted by Earthx.

Cost: Free.

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