Campaign Needs Assistance
were moving into the heart of the semester and things are
starting to fall into place. Your time is quickly filling up and
all the work you have in front of you is very, very clear. Before
things get too settled, though, Id like to ask a favor of
you. I want you to help me save lives, 80,500 lives a year, to be
exact. And I also want you to help me prevent 13 million asthma
attacks, 24,000 spontaneous abortions and 136,000 low-weight births.
These statistics represent some of the health consequences of toxic
pollution in our environment, and many of these consequences can
be prevented by a public health system that tracks chronic diseases
and their links to exposure to toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, right
now there is no national network set up to perform this important
task. Thats why Ohio PIRGs Campaign Against Toxics has
joined with other health advocacy groups to push for federal funding
for a Nationwide Health Tracking Network. The network will not only
track diseases and exposures, it will go into communities where
a high prevalence of chronic disease has been located and work with
citizens to find out whats behind the high rates. Public health
officials will then be able to use what theyve learned not
only to protect the health of that particular community but also
to help prevent chronic diseases throughout the country. To make
the Nationwide Health Tracking Network a reality we need your help.
I know its a cliché, but its absolutely true.
We need you.
And what would you be doing? It may surprise some people to know
that members of Ohio PIRG dont spend all of their time signing
postcards, writing letters and trying to get other Obies to sign
postcards and write letters. Shocking but true. As a matter of fact,
during my three years with Ohio PIRGs Toxics Campaign those
are definitely the political activities that Ive spent the
least amount of time doing. Granted, Ive probably offered
a clipboard and a pen to thousands of people, but the vast majority
of them havent been college students. Ive been all across
the state talking to people about important issues, giving out information,
and, yes, gathering public comments. But even including these trips
outside of the bubble, the vast majority of my time has been spent
on another important task: organizing.
Ive organized press conferences. Ive organized public
forums. Ive organized meetings between citizens affected by
pollution and their congressperson. Ive worked closely with
citizen groups, helping them to organize against the toxic threats
in their communities. Ive helped to build coalitions that
will influence decision makers. These are the kinds of tasks that
well be doing this semester in the Toxics Campaign, and these
are some of the skills that youll learn by getting involved.
These are the skills that will help you be an effective activist
and an effective citizen throughout your life.
So, if youd like to get involved or if you just want to find
out more, email the Toxics Campaign at email@example.com or call
x8137, or, better yet, stop by our meetings at 10 p.m. every Wednesday
night in Wilder TBA.
Co-coordinator of Ohio PIRGs Toxic Campaign