Resources

Living Downstream

Mac Shaffer PCB Story Photos 0146

In this podcast, “Living Downstream Visits the Birthplace of Environmental Justice,” you heard about the intersection of environmentalism and social justice when a grassroots coalition formed to resist the decision in 1978 by the state of North Carolina. Their plan to dump toxic materials in Warren County was not erased, but was significantly scaled back because of neighbors’ activism. 

For listeners who want to know more about global instances of environmental justice, the trend in waste site locations, environmental racism, the organization Working Landscapes and other subjects discussed in this podcast, we provide additional links below. 

[Image: Anti-PCB demonstration 1982. Credit: Mac Shaffer]

Environmental Justice, a project funded by the European Union, maps global environmental justice conflicts and provides scientific papers based on the Environmental Justice Atlas, a database maintained by the project. EJAtlas is an interactive map of 2,816 reported cases of environmental justice conflicts around the world. This database was created as a resource for teaching, networking and advocacy. This map includes the PCB contamination in Warren County as one of its locations.

A private company dumped its waste Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in Warren County. But what are PCBs? What are the adverse health effects of PCBs? Journalist Joe O’Connell says by the late 1970s, the darker side of PCBs was revealed. Researchers linked PCBs to a slew of negative health effects and the EPA banned their production altogether. The EPA provides information about PCBs including what they are, how they’re used and what their health effects are.

This podcast emphasizes the increase in environmental consciousness following the Warren County environmental justice movement. However, another major point is the centuries long history of exploitation in this wealthy county built on the backs of slaves. It is no coincidence that Afton, a small, rural African American community in Warren County, was chosen as a waste disposal location. In fact, researchers at the University of Michigan have found that income and race are major factors in choosing hazardous waste sites. The Nation also discusses environmental racism, providing a graphic and discussing this trend in the context of Flint’s water crisis. 

Growing gardens that are accessible to low-income families, Working Landscapes brings social equity to Warren County. The nonprofit organization uses farming to boost the county’s economy and keep the people and the environment healthy. Read more about how Working Landscapes works to rebuild a food system in the birthplace of environmental justice.


A quick guide to the resources linked on this page:

Environmental News

  • Perscribed Burn USDA
    November 14, 2019

    California Burning Podcast: The Science of Fire Behavior

    The Camp Fire was the most destructive fire in California’s history. 19,000 homes were destroyed and at least 85 people were killed. But with so many fuel-laden forests, the question becomes not why this happened, but why we haven’t seen more disasters of this scale? Matt Fidler, the creator of the…
  • halloween guy kid
    November 05, 2019

    'Halloween Do-Over' Brings Joy to Healdsburg After Fire

    by Matt Villano When it became clear that Healdsburg was downgrading its evacuation status on Halloween, two local women figured most people would miss out on the typical trick-or-treat experience. The women, Elena Halvorsen and Mandy Carpenter, both have kids in the local public school, and both…
  • Mustard Row 60X36 c Bill Gittins 2019 smaller
    October 23, 2019

    Survivors of Camp Fire and Tubbs Fire Look Back and Ahead

    Over the past two weeks, art lovers have been visiting studios throughout Sonoma County. Art Trails, which organizes the visits, was about to start two years ago, when the Tubbs Fire raced through Santa Rosa. Artist Bill Gittins was ready to display several hundred of his paintings and prints but…
  • October 14, 2019

    Fire Survivors React to Power Shut-off

    Millions of Californians had their power shut off last week by Pacific Gas and Electric Company as a way to help prevent wildfires from starting during dangerous conditions. As part of a five-part series dedicated to the anniversaries of the Tubbs and Camp Fires, we look into how these two…
  • Prevent Wildfires
    October 03, 2019

    Smokey the Bear Has Affected Forest Management for Decades

    Fire season in California has been getting longer and more intense. One major reason for the severity is fire suppression. Putting out fires is a message officials have touted for more than a century. But as Matt Fidler, the creator of the new radio series “California Burning” tell us, the message…
  • IMG 1777
    Sep 06, 2019

    Study Shows Climate Change Could Threaten Oyster Habitat

    Research from the University of California at Davis published last month shows that climate change could dramatically shrink oyster habitat. KRCB’s…
  • Pepperwood preserve
    Aug 29, 2019

    Controlled Burns Could Help Prevent California's Megafires

    Over the past two years, California has been devastated by the worst wildfires in its history. As those fires continue to grow in frequency and…
  • whale2
    Jul 29, 2019

    Gray Whale Mystery

    Are Gray Whales the Canary in the Climate Coal Mine? WATCH VIDEO. NorCal Public Media explores the mystery of Gray Whales washing up on California…
  • IMG 1282
    Jun 27, 2019

    Experts Showcase Fire Resistant Building Materials

    As we head into summer, homeowners are looking for ways to protect their properties from wildfire. KRCB's Adia White attended an event at the Santa…
  • background carrots carrying 1327211
    Jun 12, 2019

    Why Food Reformers Have Mixed Feelings About Eco-Labels

    Dan Charles June 12, 2019 Hear this Morning Edition Story Take a walk through the grocery story; the packages are talking to you, proclaiming their…
  • 1024px John C Boyle Dam Gates Open
    Jun 08, 2019

    Living Downstream: The Klamath Water Wars

    This is the story of a 15-year conflict over what would be the biggest dam removal ever, a modern cowboys and Indians tale that shows how victories…
  • Jun 07, 2019

    Against All Odds, Paradise Students Graduate on Home Campus

    Around two hundred graduates walked across the Paradise High football field on Thursday night. They were all smiles and laughter, proving that the…
  • San Bernadino
    Jun 04, 2019

    Grist Finds Link Between Pollution and Infant Death in San Bernardino

    The online shopping economy appears to be having a deadly impact on children’s health in San Bernardino County. A new investigation by Grist Magazine…
  • SMART Train 2017 Santa Rosa wikimedia resize
    May 30, 2019

    Citizen Input Sought for Santa Rosa's Future

    In 2009, Santa Rosa created a state-mandated plan that looked ahead to the year 2035. The plan made certain assumptions, and was created to optimize…
  • def space zones
    May 29, 2019

    Sonoma County Inspects Rural Properties for Fire Safety

    Sonoma County is inspecting homes and properties to make sure that owners have cleared weeds and cut overgrown grass on their lots. This is the first…
  • 1200px Ferrari carano vineyard in Dry Creek
    May 24, 2019

    KRCB TV Highlights the Wine Industry’s Unsung Heroes

    From the history of the region to the people behind the scenes, there are many untold stories about winemaking in the North Bay. In the Independent…
  • IMG 0992
    May 23, 2019

    Local Activists Bring Green New Deal Principles to Sonoma

    Environmental activists and concerned community members rallied at a town hall last week to discuss options for confronting climate change. The event…

Northern California
Public Media Newsletter

Get the latest updates on programs and events.