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35 Years of Friends
As part of a special event celebrating the organization’s 35th anniversary, current and former members of NCAP’s staff and board gathered at the Maude Kerns Art Center during the 2012 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in Eugene, OR.
Many supporters and conference guests came for a chance to meet and talk with some of the people who have had such an impact on NCAP’s work over the years. As an added bonus, a collection of artwork by the late Mary Rounds, an illustrator for the Journal of Pesticide Reform for nearly 20 years, was on display throughout the gallery. Check out Mary’s art and the full issues of the Journal of Pesticide Reform which are now available as free PDFs at www.pesticide.org.
NCAP alumni Carol Van Strum, Larry Sokol, Mary O’Brien, Ruth Shearer and Norma Grier also gave a panel discussion at the conference focusing on NCAP’s historic legal efforts to protect communities from pesticide exposure. You can watch the panel in full, along with many other videos, on NCAP’s youtube channel: www.youtube.com/ncapvids
Scientist, Idealist, Artist...
Karl Arne was a force in the national pesticide reform movement. He was also a scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a veteran, an avid cyclist, and a jazz musician who played multiple instruments.
For many years, he was involved with NCAP as a friend, a supporter, and a board member.
On May 26, 2012, after a fierce bout with cancer, Karl Arne passed peacefully away.
Karl retired from EPA in 2008, after a 28-year career that focused primarily on pesticides. He worked in pesticide risk assessment at the Office of Pesticide Programs at EPA headquarters, then moved to EPA’s Seattle office in 1988. There, he served as a pesticide expert and led efforts to coordinate EPA agricultural programs.
Upon receiving a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, Karl began his career by synthesizing pyrethroid insecticides for the FMC Corporation. He would sometimes muse about how he “came around” from being a scientist who developed pesticides to one who worked actively to stop pesticide use, but his transition always made perfect sense to us. What better way to turn someone into a pesticide reform activist than to give them an intimate knowledge of toxic chemicals and what they are capable of?
It was hard to see his illness progress, and even harder to let him go this year. But we find comfort, and pride, in the fact that his legacy will live on in our work. After all, it was Karl who got us pushing for more attention to how pesticides are impacting farmworkers, children, and other vulnerable groups. It was also Karl’s insightful idea that inspired NCAP to begin investigating how, and whether, EPA is meeting its legal mandate to monitor pesticide use. Thanks to him, NCAP is now working with EarthJustice, Pesticide Action Network, and others to hold EPA accountable for national pesticide monitoring, stronger protections for our health and environment, and pro-active attention to pesticide alternatives.
We will update you on this exciting work as it progresses throughout 2013. For now, join us in remembering Karl, and honoring his memory with much gratitude for everything he brought to our organization. We’ll miss you, Karl!
Never Give Up
Weaving the scientific with the compelling and humorous, Dr. Sandra Steingraber uses personal narratives to paint a vivid picture of how pollution impacts us all. NCAP brought her to Portland, Oregon earlier this year for a talk on pesticides, their connection to fossil fuels, and what we all must do to protect our world.
“The truth is, this was supposed to happen last year,” she said to the crowd, referring to her Portland visit. In characteristc form, Sandra was launching her talk with a personal story. This one was about her son, Elijah, and an incident on a bicycle.
To summarize: it was a fall day in October of 2011. It was a serious bike accident. It was her son, badly hurt. And it was two days before Sandra was scheduled to be in Portland with NCAP. Like any mother would, Sandra chose to remain in New York with her family, NCAP promptly cancelled the Portland event, and everyone waited for news we hoped would be good.
The good news came, Sandra explained thankfully, and her son recovered, but the accident would have played out differently had he not been wearing a helmet.
Helmets make good sense, but there’s a reason why they are also required by law in some places, she said. It’s to protect people. In fact, many laws exist to protect people. Especially children. So why then, she asked, are laws so lax when it comes to protecting people from toxic pollution? Pesticides? Climate change? How do we change this?
Protecting people from exposure to pesticides has always been one of NCAP’s goals. It’s what compelled us to start this work 35 years ago, and what still motivates us today. As more and more research has pointed to the special susceptibility of children, we work to make the biggest impact by keeping pesticides out of the places where kids spend the most time: schools, parks, and at home. But how do we do this on a larger scale?
During her talk, Sandra asked that we become “abolitionists” of toxic chemicals, and pursue that goal with the same tenacity and to the same success as those who fought to end slavery in America. Most importantly, she said, we must never give up.
While it’s a tall task to “abolish” pesticides, chemicals that pollute and persist at the molecular level, it’s easy to challenge the mindset that we need those pesticides to get by. The more hearts and minds we change, the closer we get to a better protected world.
Thank you for a wonderful year! You can view our most recent financial figures and list of our major supporters by downloading our full annual report here.