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Local activists join discussion on environment

The first Environmental Action Club (EAC) meeting did not focus on one particular thing other than making an overall change.

Thursday, Sept. 27 was the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which many view as one of the most influential environmentalist books of the 20th century. To speak about Carson’s book and how her ideas are applied to environmentalism today was local environmental activist, Karen Feridun.

The forum began with three short films: The Sky is Pink, The Story of Stuff and The Story of Change.

The Sky is Pink, created by Josh Fox who made Gas Land, is about how fracking is affecting towns like Dimmock, Pa and how despite video evidence of the water being contaminated, big business is not paying attention to what is happening in the towns that they are drilling in.

The other two films, The Story of Stuff and The Story of Change both focused on how material items that people buy go through a cycle of production and end in the garbage and how people can change their habits by buying differently.

After the three short films, two of which focused on the marketing of big oil and retail corporations, the discussion took a turn into marketing about the environment rather than the issues of the environment.

“I went into Barnes and Nobles and could not find the 50th anniversary edition of Silent Spring anywhere,” the guest speaker said.

Many in the group felt that a book as important as Silent Spring should have been at the front of a major retailer book store, when in fact all that Feridun could find was a book that attempted to debunk what Carson puts forth in Silent Spring.

“I, however, did call the Lancaster local library and asked them what they were doing for the anniversary, and they put up a display as soon as possible by the time I went there a few days later,” Feridun said.

The discussion turned into one about it being easier to ignore environmental problems and how big business has labeled environmental activists as nut jobs who do not have the same training as the scientists who are paid to work for the big businesses.

One member of the audience encouraged the idea of transition towns, which are towns that work on sustaining themselves by growing their own food and becoming independent of corporations.

Feridun is the founder of the environmental activist group Berks Gas Truth and the Secretary of the Kutztown Area Democratic Club.

By Dan Clark

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