Of course, according to many supporters of the area's industries, everything's been cleaned up, and it's now a lovely green part of the world.
It is these people who have responded in fairly vocal protest to this piece. I've been called names, and I've even been asked to print a retraction. The language used in the process has been nothing short of profane. Fun stuff...I love when I strike a chord with readers. Here's what I published:
Chemical Valley, chemical worldYour turn: I know I pushed it a bit with the language. I wanted folks to pay attention, and they did. But am I being unfair or is it within my journalistic rights to tweak the noses of industry to bring light to our blase environmental awareness policies and attitudes?
Published Thursday, June 8, 2006
The London Free Press
Canary, meet your coal mine.
Members of two Sarnia families found out this week that their bodies are laced with a wicked brew of poisonous chemicals. I’d wager that similar tests on anyone else in southern Ontario would yield similar results.
It’s no secret that Sarnia is an environmental quagmire. Overrun by the petrochemical industry, the city’s residents quite literally make a deal with the devil: The engine of their economy might also be slowly poisoning them.
But London shouldn’t be so smug. We’re just downwind, and our own record of environmental abuse is nothing to be proud of. While evidence mounts that cosmetic pesticide spraying is already making us sick in ways we barely understand, we waste years debating the merits of pretty lawns.
London City Council votes on our proposed pesticide bylaw next Monday. But the Sarnia family’s experience suggests the damage is already being done.
It’s time to dispense with the chemical pushers’ agenda and recognize that our head-in-the-sand approach to environmental management is likely killing us.
One more thing: I'm looking forward to your feedback. I'll post some content from readers in the days to come. I suspect I haven't heard the last from folks just yet.