Noted environmentalist Joy Towles Ezell to speak to UWF students and visit Wedgewood community

June-26-coverJoy Towels Ezell, founder of Help Our Polluted Environment (HOPE), will speak with the University of West Florida environmental group – SEAS: Student Environmental Action Society; Wednesday, Oct. 7, 4–5 p.m. Building 13, Room 202.

At 6 p.m., Ezell will also speak with the families of the Wedgewood Communities about their battle to live, work and play in a clean and safe environment. The communities are surrounded by eight landfills filling the air and covering yards and parks with the very toxic gas hydride sulfide. Location: Marie Young Community Center, 6 p.m. 6405 Wagner Road.

Both events are open to the public. For more information, please see Justice Escambia Facebook page CUEJustice (Communities United in Environmental Justice)

Joy Towles Ezell traveled to Washington, DC to attend the release of the National Academies’ long-awaited review of the USEPA’s dioxin reassessment. She challenged the committee chair who described dioxin exposures as a “thing of the past,” making clear that people are still being exposed to dioxins at very high levels and are sick and dying from these exposures. Her testimony was a cold reminder of the real world suffering occurring as industry and government continue to stall regulations to protect the public. The committee’s review supported the basic scientific conclusions in the EPA report including that dioxin is a human carcinogen and that the non-cancer effects pose serious public health risks.

HOPE was founded after she visited her hometown of Perry and found her family and friends living in what she described as “an environmental waste land”. She began researching the by-product of the local pulp mill plant and exposed the fact the plant was dumping millions, upon millions of chemical waste (dioxin) into the town’s river. Thus not only polluting the river water, but also the town’s water source that ultimately polluted farm lands where cattle grazed and local fruits and vegetables were harvested.

From her kitchen table, she organized Help Our Polluted Environment to stop the pulp mill from polluting their environment and to make Perry, Fla a safe place to live and work.