Archives for category: Interviews

Peggy Shepard 

Peggy Shepard is executive director and co-founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Founded in 1988, WE ACT was New York’s first environmental justice organization created to improve environmental health and quality of life in communities of color.

In this portion of my interview, she discusses some of the challenges and rewards of environmental activism, as she responds to the prompts listed below.

(Duration 14:22)

Contents

Part 7 – Environmental Activism

  1. What do you consider to be the biggest obstacles to reform and most significant challenges to reformers? 00:40
  2. Why is community involvement and mobilization important? 03:00
  3. Why do you think community organizing has died out? 05:20
  4. What are some consequences of not having meaningful community movements? 07:00
  5. Why do you suppose so many people are apathetic with regard to environmental health risks? 08:30
  6. Does the global focus of many mainstream environmental groups contribute to the public apathy toward more local environmental justice concerns? 10:00
  7. What can we do to promote environmental health and environmental justice in our own communities? 11:00

Go to Part 8 – “Five Favorites”.

Title Duration
Part 1 – Early Career 10:30
Part 2 – The Origins of WE ACT 8:24
Part 3 – The Work of WE ACT 11:02
Part 4 – Environmental Health & Justice 6:29
Part 5 – Collaborating with Scientists 7:51
Part 6 – Policy Reforms 10:15
Part 7 – Environmental Activism 14:22
Part 8 – Five Favorites 5:45
Full Interview 66:41

Visit Peggy Shepard’s main Upstream page.

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Peggy Shepard 

Peggy Shepard is executive director and co-founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Founded in 1988, WE ACT was New York’s first environmental justice organization created to improve environmental health and quality of life in communities of color.

In this portion of my interview, she discusses her collaboration with the public health and environmental health scientists as she responds to the prompts listed below.

(Duration 7:51)

Contents

  1. Please describe how you are collaborating with environmental health scientists. 00:40
  2. What sorts of things have your learned through that research, and how has that research assisted in your activism? 02:40
  3. Can you say a bit more about the research findings that connect environmental toxins to adverse health outcomes? 04:40
  4. How do you work with environmental health scientists to promote policy change? 06:15

Other Portions of Peggy Shepard Interview

Title Duration
Part 1 – Early Career 10:30
Part 2 – The Origins of WE ACT 8:24
Part 3 – The Work of WE ACT 11:02
Part 4 – Environmental Health & Justice 6:29
Part 5 – Collaborating with Scientists 7:51
Part 6 – Policy Reforms 10:15
Part 7 – Environmental Activism 14:22
Part 8 – Five Favorites 5:45
Full Interview 66:41

Visit Peggy Shepard’s main Upstream page.

Peggy Shepard

Peggy Shepard is executive director and co-founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Founded in 1988, WE ACT was New York’s first environmental justice organization created to improve environmental health and quality of life in communities of color.

In this portion of my interview, she discusses the environmental justice movement as she responds to the prompts listed below.

(Duration 6:29)

Contents

  1. How would you summarize the connection between environmental health and environmental justice? 00:40
  2. Can you say more about the role of race in determining exposure levels to environmental toxins? 01:15
  3. Why is it that environmental toxins disproportionately burden communities of color? 02:40
  4. In general terms, what do those exposures mean for health outcomes? 04:30

Other Portions of Peggy Shepard Interview

Title Duration
Part 1 – Early Career 10:30
Part 2 – The Origins of WE ACT 8:24
Part 3 – The Work of WE ACT 11:02
Part 4 – Environmental Health & Justice 6:29
Part 5 – Collaborating with Scientists 7:51
Part 6 – Policy Reforms 10:15
Part 7 – Environmental Activism 14:22
Part 8 – Five Favorites 5:45
Full Interview 66:41

Visit Peggy Shepard’s main Upstream page.

Peggy Shepard

Peggy Shepard is executive director and co-founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Founded in 1988, WE ACT was New York’s first environmental justice organization created to improve environmental health and quality of life in communities of color.

In this portion of my interview, she discusses the goals and accomplishments of WE ACT as she responds to the prompts listed below.

(Duration 11:02)

Contents

  1. As community activists, how do you measure your own success in helping to create a healthy community? 00:40
  2. Please briefly describe WE ACT’s “8 Indicators of a Healthy Community.” 01:40
  3. Is there one environmental problem that stands out as most important to WE ACT? 04:40
  4. What sorts of things have you done to promote improved air quality? 06:20
  5. Please briefly describe some of your work to create open and green spaces in the community. 07:00

Other Portions of Peggy Shepard Interview

Title Duration
Part 1 – Early Career 10:30
Part 2 – The Origins of WE ACT 8:24
Part 3 – The Work of WE ACT 11:02
Part 4 – Environmental Health & Justice 6:29
Part 5 – Collaborating with Scientists 7:51
Part 6 – Policy Reforms 10:15
Part 7 – Environmental Activism 14:22
Part 8 – Five Favorites 5:45
Full Interview 1:06:41

Visit Peggy Shepard’s main Upstream page.

The close linkage between environmental pollution and cancer is discussed by biologist Dr. Sandra Steingraber (author of Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment) and Ellen Crowley.

Peggy Shepard


Peggy Shepard is executive director and co-founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Founded in 1988, WE ACT was New York’s first environmental justice organization created to improve environmental health and quality of life in communities of color.

In this portion of my interview, she discusses her early career and responds to the prompts listed below.

(Duration 8:24)

Contents

  1. Was it difficult to mobilize public support for environmental reforms? 00:40
  2. How responsive was the city to the problems that you raised about the sewage treatment plant? 01:30
  3. Were you pushing to have the sewage treatment center closed? 03:05
  4. Please describe the lawsuit that helped to solve that problem and helped to invigorate WE ACT. 03:50
  5. Can you say more about WE ACT’s history and its staff? 05:40
  6. Please describe the community in which WE ACT does most of its work. 06:20
  7. What is the mission of WE ACT? 07:00

Other Portions of Peggy Shepard Interview

Part 1 – Early Career 10:30
Part 2 – The Origins of WE ACT 8:24
Part 3 – The Work of WE ACT 11:02
Part 4 – Environmental Health & Justice 6:29
Part 5 – Collaborating with Scientists 7:51
Part 6 – Policy Reforms 10:15
Part 7 – Environmental Activism 14:22
Part 8 – Five Favorites 5:45
Full Interview 1:06:41

Return to expert’s main page.

Peggy Shepard


Peggy Shepard is executive director and co-founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Founded in 1988, WE ACT was New York’s first environmental justice organization created to improve environmental health and quality of life in communities of color.

In this portion of my interview, she discusses her early career and responds to the prompts listed below.

(Duration 10:31)

Contents

  1. Please describe your career before you became involved in the environmental justice movement. 00:40
  2. How did you move from magazine editor to an activist in the political arena? 03:40
  3. Did working for the Jesse Jackson campaign alter your career goals? 05:50
  4. What factors led you to run for office? 07:15
  5. As a politician, how did you become interested in environmental problems? 08:25

Other Portions of Peggy Shepard Interview

Title Duration
Part 1 – Early Career 10:30
Part 2 – The Origins of WE ACT 8:24
Part 3 – The Work of WE ACT 11:02
Part 4 – Environmental Health & Justice 6:29
Part 5 – Collaborating with Scientists 7:51
Part 6 – Policy Reforms 10:15
Part 7 – Environmental Activism 14:22
Part 8 – Five Favorites 5:45
Full Interview 66:41

Go to expert’s main Upstream page.

In this portion of my interview of Dr. Frederica Perera (professor at the Mailman School of Public Health and Director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health), she shares her five favorites (see prompts below).

(Duration 4:21)

Contents

  1. What mentor had the greatest influence on your work? 00:50
  2. What do you consider to be the best wide-audience book, article, or movie related to your field? 01:15
  3. What do you consider to be the most important academic book or article? 01:35
  4. Which of your scholarly publications would you recommend to viewers? 02:10
  5. Which activist or community organization do you most admire? 03:15

More of the Perera interview is here.

In my interview of Dr. Frederica Perera (professor at the Mailman School of Public Health and Director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health), I asked about her about what solutions might exist for the environmental health problems that she has famously documented. This video contains her responses to the prompts listed below.

(Duration 9:17)

Contents

  1. What, if any, regulations do you think should be enacted to address some of these problems? 0:40
  2. Are you at all optimistic about the prospects for such regulatory reform? 2:20
  3. Can more be done to give the public better information about environmental health risks? 2:50
  4. Please describe your collaboration with community organizations and policymakers in New York. 4:50
  5. What are some of the challenges to getting the public more involved in efforts for change? 7:20

More of the Perera interview is here.

Many Upstream readers are already familiar with the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring & Treatment Program, established so that “9/11 responders can come to the program for free, confidential and regular medical monitoring examinations.”  Most also have heard some of the sad facts about the significant health effects those heroic individuals are enduring as a consequence of their exposure to environmental toxins while working at Ground Zero.

In the Daily Show’s final episode of 2010, Jon Stewart took the United States Senate and the media to task for failing to give the Zadroga bill priority.  James Zadroga was a first responder (NYPD) who died in 2006 of respiratory disease thought to be caused by his work following the World Trade Center bombing.  (His story from CBS News is here.)  Since then, the negative health consequences for many police, firefighters, emergency technicians, and cleanup crews who spent months in the wreckage has become increasingly apparent.  The Zadroga bill would create a trust fund to cover the health care costs of those indivuals — a small price to pay for giant sacrifices.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

* * *

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The story has many angles, but one that strikes me is from these first responders’ account of how  Workers Compensation administrators have denied their claims by arguing that the diseases are not the consequence of environmental toxins — illustrating one of the many ways in which our society fails to take seriously issues of environmental health and environmental justice.

My hope is that Stewart’s efforts will pay off for this second wave of 911 victims and that the story of these environmental victims will serve as a reminder to all of us about the connection between the environment and health.

*Photo by Andrea Booher/ FEMA News Photo.

In my interview of Dr. Frederica Perera (professor at the Mailman School of Public Health and Director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health), I asked about her current work on environmental health issues. This video contains her responses to the prompts listed below.

(Duration 12:57)

Contents

  1. Why did you begin studying inner-city communities in New York? 00:40
  2. Please describe your work at the Center for Children’s Environmental Health at Columbia. 02:00
  3. Please say more about how your new epidemiological methods work and what you’ve learned? 05:15
  4. What have you found about prenatal exposures to air pollutants and other toxic chemicals? 06:50
  5. Have you seen examples of where decreased toxic exposures have yielded positive health effects? 09:10
  6. What can you say about the interrelationship of toxic chemicals and climate change on young children? 10:10

More of the Perera interview is here.

In my interview of Dr. Frederica Perera (professor at the Mailman School of Public Health and Director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health), I asked about how and why she began her work on environmental health issues and how she began her work on molecular epidemiology.  This video contains her responses to the prompts listed below (duration: 10:58).

Contents

  1. How did you become interested in researching the effects of environmental pollutants on human health? 00:40
  2. Was there any event that particularly triggered your interest in studying environmental toxins? 01:30
  3. What led you to pursue a degree in Environmental Health Sciences and Public Health? 02:50
  4. Tell me a bit more about you learned in your early collaboration with Dr. Weinstein. 06:20
  5. How did the results of that study influence your work? 07:25
  6. How did your research in molecular epidemiology evolve to focus on the fetus and other susceptible groups? 08:40

From Tavis Smiley Radio:

This week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, better known as the E.P.A, celebrates its 40th anniversary. From that time to the present, America’s environmental history has seen both dramatic events and undergone remarkable progress. But while we’ve made great strides in the ongoing environmental movement, Administrator Jackson believes much more can be done.

Tavis Smiley interviews EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in the following podcast.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In my interview of Drs. Carlos Sonnenschein and Ana Soto, I asked them about some of their favorite authors and writings on the topic of environmental health.  This video contains their responses, which are also included with links below (duration: 11:34).

Dr. Soto’s Five Favorites:

Dr. Sonnenschein’s Five Favorites:

The full, edited interview is now available on the Upstream Website.

From IATPvideo:

Dr. David Wallinga, Director of the Food and Health Program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, talks about the findings of a recent IATP study on the presence of mercury in high fructose corn syrup and in common food and beverage products.

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