Friday, December 31, 2010

Heart of the Goddess

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Receiving the Goddess: A Call to Feminist Activism and Leadership

Last weekend, I attended the Omega Institute's Women and Power: Our Time to Lead Conference, in Rhinebeck, New York.

I was fortunate to have been given scholarships by Omega to bring six students to attend this conference.  Cherica, Saajida, Noelle, Janice, Sonia, and Anna are all passionate about ecofeminism, feminism, and/or women's history.  They are intense, smart, thoughtful, humble and loving people with high ambitions for their lives. The were so excited to join me; they each soaked up every bit of the weekend--from rowing on the lake (for several of them this was a first), to hiking, to taking yoga classes, to listening and considering all of what the speakers shared in their stories.  Several of them have spent little to no time in nature or in the country--so just getting out of the New York metropolitan area and into the beauty of the fall colors and the gardens, paths, and lake of the Omega campus, was eye opening.  It was an honor to share the special weekend in the country and the call for feminist change and power with them.

The conference organizers want/ed to raise our awareness about the denigration and violation of women worldwide.  More importantly, they call/ed on each of us to become leaders and activists in a woman's movement to end violence, to end war, to end world hunger, to end the denigration of our environment, to end religious divisiveness and hatred, to end racism, and more.  Thus, bringing young and impressionable women to learn from the feminist activist speakers, was a crucial component of the conference. 

The speakers at Women and Power included women who have established proactive women's organizations worldwide--such as Zainab Salibi's Women for Women, Jensine Larsen's World Pulse and Pulse Wire, and Malika Saada Saar's  The Rebecca Project .  These organizations successfully work to combat the trafficking, abuse and rape of girls and women everywhere.  (As an important aside, I urge you, as readers, to go to the links above and learn more about and help these organizations.  Sponsor a Woman, which is part of Salbi's Women for Women, for example, is an easy and important way to help desperate women war survivors. ) Other speakers, such as Mae Jemison, Pat Mitchell, Leymah Gboweer, and Gail Collins, spoke about women's and feminist history, the need for creating women's social and media networks (so that women's voices and needs can be heard and served), and they gave inspiring accounts of extraordinary female intellectual, political, and scientific accomplishments. All of these moving stories were interwoven with the rocking music of Retumba and Ani Defranco, as well as with movement, yoga, and meditation.

There is so much to say about all of the speeches and talks from the weekend--too much to write in one blog entry--- so, instead, I will share a few of my notes from my journal:

It is a time of action, no whining--women must lead---
It starts with a dream, 27 things you want to do with your life
Be the change you want to see in the world (Gandhi)
Dignity and Integrity
Burgha or no Burgha
It is all about women having a choice
A strong heart is a happy heart
The heart of darkness is inside us
Get off the horse and drop the sword
Strength comes from within
No longer silent
Courage and resilience
It is not just about saving the world
It is about saving ourselves
We can be the Sun--
We must be the Sun--
Building bridges
Most of the world's poor are women
Most of the world's violence is against women
500,000 women raped in Burma
500,000 women raped in the Congo
1 in 3 girls raped worldwide 
Who is listening?
Not the male dominated media
Only 17% of news sources  cover women's issues
Social media allows rural women to expose the violence
This is our new force; we need to harness and develop it
The world we are creating right now shapes are future
You, woman leader, must make yourself known
Reconciliation: stop the violence
Stop the hatred
Stop the battering
Stop the destruction
Stop the erasure 
Stop the trafficking and slavery
Love is a stronger impulse
The moment a woman comes back to herself 
The resurrection begins
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it begins
Sex Trafficking, Sex Slavery happens right here in the U.S.
Beloved: "the only grace they can have is the grace they
They do not love our bodies...
They do not love our hands...
They do not love our children...
We must come to the field and imagine..."(Toni Morrison)
Beloved emerged to remind us
They rape/d us forever
They shackle/d our ankles during birth
We, women and men (yes, we need the men)
Must be the change
Must be the sun
Must embrace the enemy other
Weaken them with love
Weaken them with our power
Weaken them with our truth

I was so proud and honored to have experienced this weekend and to have shared it with my students.  The speakers at the conference encouraged all of us to (re)think how we can be leaders and do the right thing (the only ethical thing) on this earth, and it made us question what it means to be feminine and female and human in a patriarchal world.  Together, we all spoke of the need for women to feel our./their power, and love and respect our bodies. We must reinvent and reinvigorate a feminine belief system which honors women and girls, and  no longer accept the mysogynistic ideology of our world culture which promotes female self-hatred and self-deprecation.  Each of my students expressed a renewed desire to empower themselves, and to help others in their future work as teachers, doctors, mothers, and lawyers.

As the conference ended, on that fall day in September--the sky was grey and cloudy, but the trees were glowing in red, gold, and orange.  Before going back home, all seven of us took a five mile walk around the lake.  When we finally came to the parking lot to say our goodbyes, my beautiful women students gave me a thank you gift of a statue of an earth/woman/goddess.  As they handed me the statue, the students said that I represent the earth/woman/goddess to them.   I was stunned and moved to tears by their words!  I believe that the goddess they see in me is really a reflection of themselves--for they are the true goddesses, so full of hope and imagination-- they are the sunlight of the future.

The mother goddess's body is both tree and woman: her arms reach high in a circle above her head, as she unifies heaven, earth, and spirit.  



Below is the response of one of my student "daughters" to the
Women and Power Conference:

 I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!
            Anna Urazov

I am a woman.  I am a daughter.  I am a Russian Jewish immigrant.  I am an American.  I am a student, a hard worker, a lover, and a well-wisher.  I am hopeful, passionate, aggressive, energetic, opinionated, and proud. 
How did I come to know myself and accept myself?  I was always a quiet and self-judging individual.  How did I become this assertive person who looks in the mirror and says, “I’m Ok” and “I like what I see”?  While I can’t solely attribute my weekend at Omega Institute’s ‘Women and Power Conference’ to this development, for this has been an ongoing and long journey of self-improvement, it certainly molded me into a more aware, tolerant, and compassionate individual.  I am now, more than ever, aware of what it means to be a leader.  If you look up this word in the dictionary, you can see phrases that describe a leader as one who guides, influences, commands, and directs.  Other descriptions narrow this definition to being superior or having an advantage over another individual.  After this conference, after listening to some powerful and honest female speakers, my definition of a leader is this: it is a person who inspires someone to call on change, to question the norm, to fight hate, violence, and discrimination.  It is someone who is able to stir in someone’s soul a deep and unmistakable passion to fight evil with good, to change oneself and thereby change the world, to find courage and a voice, and to let that voice be heard.
If someone asks me what will forever echo through my mind after this conference, I will remember the words of some influential and courageous women: Leymah Gbowee’s phrase, “We need to redeem our time”; Malika Saada-Saar’s phrase, “Only you can tell your story”; Elizabeth Lesser’s “We are all Cassandras”; and Zainab Salbi’s “Dance, when you’re broken open/Dance, when you’re perfectly free”.  Salbi’s story and journey was particularly inspiring to me.  She is an Iraqi woman who lived in a time of war, witnessed its detrimental affects on humankind, was forced into an abusive arranged marriage, and yet survived and rebuilt her life on her own accord.  Her organization, Women for Women International, has sponsored thousands of women around the world by establishing a partnership and sisterhood between those who have the ability to help and those who need a support system more than ever.  During her speech she contrasts life in Saddam Hussein’s private circle and the misery faced by everyone else. Every woman listening to her story felt her pain.  Her face hardened as she recounted her parents’ attempt to save her by arranging a marriage in which she would move to America.  How she had the courage to rebuild her life at such a young age and channel her fears and pain into a positive way should be an inspiration to everyone.  Listening to her story was a humbling experience.  I have never experienced the traumas of war first hand, I have never been separated from my family and forced into a relationship, and I have never rebuilt my life from scratch.  And while I have all the comforts in the world, I have never done anything to not only better myself, but also to better humankind.  Salbi has inspired me to not take my life for granted.  She, along with many of the speakers, allowed me to believe that my small voice, grouped with other women’s voices, may make a change.  I logged onto and signed a petition to pass the International Violence Against Women Act.  At first it seemed like a small gesture but then I realized that any action I take, no matter how small, is better than not taking action at all.
As a woman who majored in English and is pursuing a career in science and medicine, I was particularly interested in Mae Jemison’s speech.  While I sat in complete awe of this unbelievable woman, astronaut, dancer, engineer, physician, and author, I was able to take away two very important messages.  For one, she says that science and art stem from a single root, our creative instinct.  She comically says that when deciding whether to be a dancer or doctor, her mother helped her.  Similarly, my mother also helped me in deciding what profession to pursue.  She told me, you can always write or read when you doctor, but you can’t always doctor if you write or read.  I then took a moment to thank my mother, the most important leader in my life, in always helping me see clearly, make the right decisions, continuously strive to better myself, and have compassion and understanding for everyone around me.  Jemison’s second point was how precious time was.  There are 86,400 seconds in a day, she notes, and we can be doing so much with each passing second.  It is up to me how I choose to spend my time and how productive I lead my life.
This weekend retreat of learning, discovering, and uniting has changed my life and way of thinking.  I’ve never tried vegetarian food, yoga, or meditation.  While I can’t rid myself of meat, I am trying to be a more health conscious eater.  I went out and purchased a yoga mat and I’ve been doing yoga in the morning.  I am going to make an effort to be more eco-friendly.  My small step of not using water bottles will hopefully open the door to other good deeds.  I cannot thank Omega and Professor Hutner enough for this wonderful experience.  The bonds and the sisterhood I have created with all the girls I spent these days with were certainly unforgettable and hopefully long lasting.  This was an incredible intellectual and spiritual experience, and like Salbi, I would like to close with a Rumi poem:

The intellectual quest is exquisite like pearls and coral,
But it is not the same as the spiritual quest.
The spiritual quest is on another level altogether,
Spiritual wine has a subtler taste.
The intellect and the senses investigate cause and effect.
The spiritual seeker surrenders to the wonder.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thirteenth Birthday

three o:clock
open/ed womb
mother arms
at the cross
stop the blood
father chant/ing
golden light
golden baby
golden light
from this
little mira/cle
little fingers
little lips
little o

Friday, September 10, 2010

What is "Ecofeminism" and What is "Ecofeminism and Mothering"?

Ecofeminism and Mothering  
by Heidi Hutner

Ecofeminism and mothering are deeply intercon- 
nected in Western ideological constructions of both 
nature and gender. Ecofeminism as a set of princi- 
ples emerged in the 1970s with the increased aware- 
ness of the connections between women and nature. 
Fran├žoise d’Eaubonne established the Ecology-Fem- 
inisme Center in Paris in 1972, and in 1974 she first 
used the term ecofeminisme. D’Eaubonne addressed 
the need for an ecological revolution lead by women, 
which she claimed would establish equality of gen- 
der relations and bring an end to the power of one 
group over another—including the domination of 
humans over nature. D’Eaubonne linked environ- 
mental degradation with patriarchal culture, and 
believed that a social structure based on feminisme 
would prevent the destruction of human beings and 
the planet. D’Eaubonne’s feminisme was based upon 
the principles of complete equality and the absence 
of all oppression; in effect, no one gender group or 
species would have power over the other. 

Woman and Mother Exploited 

Ecofeminism, as it has developed further through 
the work of such theorists as Carolyn Merchant, 
Karen J. Warren, Charlene Spretnak, Ynestra King, 
Judith Plant, and Val Plumwood, among others, 
locates the domination of women and the domina- 
tion of nature as interrelated and overlapping. As 
posited in Merchant’s The Death of Nature, women 
and nature both suffer under patriarchal domina- 
tion, as they historically have been treated as objects 
to be exploited, consumed, controlled, subdued and 
tamed. The Earth is depicted (both currently and 
historically) in feminized terms, and this descriptive 
language is complex and fraught with ambivalence: 
nature is portrayed as fertile, nurturing, and pro- 
tective (stereotypically maternal); sexualized and 
seductive (as observed and possessed by men); and 
wild, dark, and dangerous (needing to be tamed 
and civilized). According to ecofeminist theory, this 
complex representation of female nature as simul- 
taneously alluring, nurturing, and dangerous justi- 
fied the patriarchal domination and exploitation 
of nature throughout history—particularly with 
the advent of new science, colonization, and the 
industrial revolution in European cultures. Within 
this mechanistic and masculinist discourse, nature- 
woman is constructed as needing and deserving of 
being possessed, penetrated, and domesticated by the 
more rational and civilized white male. 

According to ecofeminist theorists, this system of 
patriarchal domination negatively impacts all liv- 
ing beings—including nature, women, indigenous 
people, and the poor. In this sense, ecofeminism 
overlaps with environmental justice theory, which 
argues that the racial, social, and economic under- 
classes are most negatively impacted by environ- 
mental degradation because they lack 
the economic and political power to protect their 
communities. Ecofeminist and environmental jus- 
tice theorists argue that the exploitation of nature, 
women, and people of color takes place because the 
rights of the individual (man) come before those 
of the community (all living things). A solution 
offered by ecofeminists is the ”partnership ethic” 
advocated by Merchant in Reinventing Eden. In 
this work and elsewhere, Merchant promotes a 
“moral ethic of care,” similar to the belief system 
of many Native American tribes, in which human 
beings live in a balanced and equitable relationship 
with all living things. In what Merchant calls a partnership
community, no group or species holds power over
the other, and interdependence replaces individualism. 

Expanding Field of Study

Ecofeminism is an expansive field of study with 
numerous branches: liberal, social, socialist, and 
cultural. It also has multiple applications, including 
scientific, philosophical, historical, literary/artistic, 
psychological, and spiritual. A significant aspect of 
ecofeminism is political activism; ecofeminist writers, 
academics, and scientists work to protect and pre- 
serve environmental rights. The so-called “mother” 
of American environmentalist movement was Rachel 
Carson, author of the acclaimed Silent Spring, which 
exposed the dangers of dichlorodiphenyltrichloro- 
ethane (DDT); Carson’s research demonstrated the 
deeply negative impact of toxics and chemicals on 
the environment, animals, and humans. 

In Africa, Wangari Maathi founded The Green 
Belt Movement to help restore denuded land in 
her country, enlisting poor African women to help 
plant millions of trees to stop the soil erosion and 
improve soil quality, food production, water quality, 
and economic prosperity. In India, Vandana Shiva 
founded Navdanya, an organization that works to 
preserve the biodiversity of seed and food, as well 
as what she calls the “democracy” and “sovereig- 
nity” of water. Winona LaDuke, a Native Ameri- 
can author and environmental activist and founder 
of the Indigenous Women’s Network, White Earth 
Land Recovery Project, and cofounder (with The 
Indigo Girls) of Honor the Earth, fights to protect 
the environmental rights and land of Native Ameri- 
can communities throughout North America. Petra 
Kelly cofounded the Green Party Movement in Ger- 
many and fought against the use and creation of 
weapons of mass destruction. In her work and writ- 
ing she claimed connections between sexism, war, 
and environmental degradation. 

Nature and Earth as Mother 

In her forthcoming, Polluting Mama: Ecofeminism, 
Literature, and Film, Heidi Hutner argues that the 
relationship between mothering and nature is cru- 
cial to ecofeminist theory and ecofeminist activism 
on linguistic, spiritual, political, and ideological lev- 
els. Hutner claims that the very way in which nature 
is constructed in language is inextricably bound 
with culturally constructed concepts of mother- 
hood, such as the expressions “mother nature” and 
“mother Earth.” These terms are embedded so deeply 
in Western culture that it would be impossible to 
detach them. Hutner suggests that there are deeply 
complex ideological, feminist, and ecological rami- 
fications inherent in this linguistic construction of 

Spiritual Branches 

Some spiritual branches of ecofeminism are tied 
to mothering through the belief in Earth-goddess 
worship. Starhawk, for example, holds that a 
human return to the goddess “Mother 
Earth, who sustains all growing things” will 
heal the deep ideological rifts between men and 
women, humans and nature, God and the human 
world. For spiritual ecofeminists, the Earth mother
goddess is the center of all spiritual life. 

Alice Walker, a self-proclaimed paganist (and 
womanist) follows a similar spiritual path in her 
work and discussions about The Color Purple. In 
her poem, “The Earth Is Our Mother,” Walker 
articulates a distinctly ecofeminist spiritual con- 
nection to the mother Earth—linking the nature 
body of the Earth with a human mother’s body— 
and this mother Earth connects all living things in 
her loving “embrace.” 

Female Reproductive Biology and Ecofeminism 

There is a historical relationship between mother- 
ing and environmental and peace activism; accord- 
ing to Hutner, many women have felt the “call” to 
fight against environmental degradation to protect 
their families from environmental toxins, pollution, 
nuclear waste, and disaster.

The impact of toxics and pollution on female 
reproductive biology plays an important part in the 
connections between mothering and ecofeminism, 
according to Hutner. In Having Faith, Sandra Stein- 
graber examines the delicate relationship between 
the mother’s body with the developing fetus and 
young nursing child, and points to the effect of 
environmental pollution on the placenta and breast 
milk. Embryos, fetuses, infants, and children are 
especially sensitive to environmental damage in 
their early stages of neurological and hormonal 
development. As mother’s bodies transfer poisons 
and unwittingly and adversely impact their young, 
they may be rendered infertile as a result of envi- 
ronmental pollution. 

Ecofeminist theory allows for an analysis of the 
highly charged and complex concepts of the moth- 
er’s womb—which can be made toxic through 
pollutants—as a sacred and protected space. Hut- 
ner argues that in an environmentally degraded 
world, mothers are "set up" as being at fault
for polluting their own children (or for being infertile),
and they are viewed as beingresponsible for
cleaning up the world. 

A novel such as Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s 
Tale warns of the potential impact of such reason- 
ing. In the fictional nation of Gilead, a land so pol- 
luted that human reproduction has diminished sig- 
nificantly, women are forced to procreate for the 
“good of the nation,” are blamed for their inabil- 
ity to conceive, and are punished when they give 
birth to “monsters.” 

Critics of Ecofeminism

Some critics argue that ecofeminism goes too far 
in embracing the woman and nature connection--  
which idealizes the female-as-natural and reifies the 
position that women are not capable of function- 
ing as rational thinkers. Ecofeminism has also been 
charged with setting men up as inherently outside 
of any real connection with the natural world. In 
other words, by idealizing the female-nature con- 
nection, some ecofeminists may be accused of rec- 
reating the very dualities it seeks to erase. Despite 
these claims, ecofeminists claim to move out of 
these binaries and include men, women, children, 
the elderly, and people of all races, cultures and 
classes in their theories. 

Atwood, Margaret. Handmaid’s Tale. New York: Ran- 
dom House, 1998. 
Carson Rachel. Silent Spring. New York: Fawcett Crest 
Books, 1964. 
Hutner, Heidi. Polluting Mama: Ecofeminism, Mother- 
ing, Literature and Film. Forthcoming, 2011. 
Kelly, Petra. Fighting for Hope. Cambridge, MA: South 
End Press, 1999. 
King, Ynestra. “The Ecology of Feminism and the Femi- 
nism of Ecology.” In Healing the Wounds. Gabriola 
Island, BC: New Society, 1989. 
LaDuke, Winona. All Our Relations: Native Struggles 
for Land and Life. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 
Maathi, Wangari. The Greenbelt Movement. Brooklyn, 
NY: Lantern Books, 2003. 
Plumwood, Val. Feminism and the Mastery of Nature. 
New York: Routledge, 1994. 
Shiva, Vandana. Earth Democracy. Cambridge, MA: 
South End Press, 2005. 
Starhawk. The Earth Path. New York: Harper One, 
Steingraber, Sandra. Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Jour- 
ney to Motherhood. New York: Perseus, 2001. 
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. New York: Harvest, 

Heidi Hutner 
State University of New York, Stony Brook 
Copyright © 2010 SAGE Publications. Not for sale, reproduction, or distribution.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Personal Response to the President's Cancer Panel Report

JULY 22, 2010

MyPicture - small for EB.jpg[Posted originally at Enviroblog: "Special to Enviroblog by Heidi Hutner, Associate Professor of English and Women's Studies at SUNY Stony Brook.]

The 2009 President's Cancer Panel report, "Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk, What We Can Do Now," confirms what Rachel Carson articulated in Silent Spring and what Sandra Steingraber argued in her book, Living Downstream.
Toxic chemicals in our bodies, in random combinations based on exposures starting before we're born, are "linked to genetic, immune and endocrine dysfunction that can lead to cancer and other diseases."

Translation: many toxics cause cancer. The authors of the latest President's Cancel Panel Annual Report cannot say this outright because of the way scientific studies work and because our country has not invested nearly enough money in studying the relationship of toxics to human health (cancer specifically). We don't yet have complete enough national databases and precise enough methods of measurement to draw definitive conclusions.

But the authors of the President's Cancer Panel report certainly come up with a clear case, and they offer many examples of how and where we exposed to dangerous toxics and what needs to be changed. We do know enough, they suggest, we've studied enough, to be able to say that the evidence all points to the fact that our bodies are full of toxic junk that can cause cancer and, often, premature death.

Women's bodies tend to have larger amounts of these toxins, and they are passed to their unborn children through the placenta and later through breast milk. Children are born with their bodies already full of toxics. Their umbilical cord blood tells us this. Their little bodies are at special risk because of their smaller body mass and rapid physical growth, both of which make them more vulnerable to carcinogens.

I have waited for this official report for years.

There is a whole lot of cancer in my family on both sides. None of it seems to make sense. In 1994, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. I was 35. My mother was diagnosed with lymphoma when I was 32, and my father died from melanoma when I was 28. My paternal first cousin, who never smoked, died from lung cancer at 45. Two of my maternal first cousins have had early stage melanomas. My mother's younger sister died from breast cancer.

Recently, I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. The latter is a minor cancer, but it is cancer nonetheless, and with my father's fatal melanoma history, I don't go outside much in the daylight anymore. These cancers seem unrelated and random, and thus potentially a result of environmental rather than genetic history: melanoma is on opposite sides of my family (father and maternal cousins), and lung cancer is on opposite sides of my family as well (paternal cousin, maternal aunt)--so there does not appear to be a genetic connection there, and in my own immediate nuclear family--my mother, father, and I had three different types of cancer.

To top it all off, I am at high risk for secondary cancers because I have had more than 11 CAT scans as part of my Hodgkin's treatment and follow-up. The President's Cancer Panel report tells us:

"People who receive multiple scans or other tests that require radiation may accumulate doses equal to or exceeding that of Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors. It is believed that a single large dose of ionizing radiation and numerous low doses equal to the single large dose have much the same effect on the body over time."

Let me repeat, I have had 11 of these tests. Did the benefits of that many tests outweigh the dangers posed? Was I informed about the dangers of such tests at the time they were given to me? Would I have had so many CAT scans had I known what I know now?

No, no and no.

Unfortunately, I'm not the only one -- that's for sure. Forty-one percent of all Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Twenty-one percent will die from it. My neighbor across the street -- a 40-something father of two -- is dying of lung cancer. I used to hear him playing basketball with his 12-year-old daughter. He has tried every cancer treatment available, including experimental protocols, but the prognosis is grim. I don't hear the sounds of basketball anymore.
Two women in my immediate neighborhood have had their breasts removed. Several other immediate neighbors have passed away from breast and other cancers. These people are all in their mid-40s and younger. The story of my neighborhood is the story of every neighborhood, and cancer doesn't just strike adults. I know several children who have had it. Some survived, some did not. Today, this is everyone's story.

So the report is out. It comes from on high. We can fight the invasion of the body-snatcher toxins and radiation as individuals to some degree -- if we have the knowledge and economic means -- by eating organic food, using nontoxic cosmetics and cleaning products, avoiding unnecessary X-rays and CAT scans and working in relatively safe environments. Still, private and individual acts of prevention are not enough.

The authors of the President's Cancer Panel report argue that our nation needs a comprehensive strategy for eliminating cancer-causing environmental exposures. Poison often knows no borders -- it can travel and bio-accumulate -- wreaking havoc on the health of all species. Cancer strikes people of all genders, classes, ethnicities, and races. The poor, people working and living in environments with toxic and hazardous materials, and women and children are the hardest it, but we are all vulnerable to carcinogenic pollution.

Will our government (and all governments) make the radical changes called for in this study? Senator Frank Lautenberg's proposed Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 is an important first step.
As Americans, we need to ensure this act passes, and many more like it. It is time for us to follow the wise precautionary principle that has been adopted by the European Union.
As citizens, we must mobilize to ensure that our government enacts preventative measures to protect the health of our children and all living beings.

Will we do so? We must.