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E-M:/ PRESS RELEASE-Backyard Eco '97 Follow-up

Enviro-Mich message from cacc@macatawa.org (Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination)

For Immediate Release
May 20, 1997


 Conventional activism, which is defined as the interaction between
activists and the regulatory agencies, has proved to be a time-consuming
process which has resulted in only a few short-term gains, according to
Jane Anne Morris.  Morris, the opening speaker at the Backyard Eco
Conference '97, traced the history of the US corporation from the early
days of the country to the present, and illustrated ways in which the
original Americans enacted strong controls over this form of business.
Since the late 1880s, however, these controls have been eroded one by one,
through a series of legal decisions, legislative actions, and society

 Morris recommended rethinking strategies to address the fundamental issues
of restoring citizen power over decision making processes, to enhance
social justice and equity, and to move forward on reestablishing
responsibilities with legislatures instead of the regulatory agencies
designed to insulate them from citizens.

 Morris was one of three keynote speakers at the annual conference, held
May 16-18 outside the Village of Lake in southwestern Clare County.  Other
speakers included Linda Greer, a staff scientist of the Natural Resources
Defense Fund, Washington, DC, and Ronnie Dugger from the Alliance for a New
Democracy, Cambridge, MA.

 Greer illustrated the differences between working within corporate
structures to reach environmental goals of pollution prevention and
compliance by recounting her experiences in lobbying for the adoption of
federal environmental laws, negotiating directly with corporate CEOs during
the Superfund reauthorization, and, more recently, her interactions with
the Dow Chemical Company at both their LaPorte, Texas, facility and more
recently at corporate headquarters in Midland, Michigan.

 Dugger, who wrapped up the conference, used the opportunity to identify
long-term visions and goals and intermediate steps to achieve them.  A
global coalition of citizen movements, coalitions in action not in
governance, is necessary to build a democratic economic alternative to the
way our world operates today.  This economic system would honor work,
support and enhance local economies, and regenerate communities.

 The Backyard Eco Conference is an annual gathering of grassroots
environmentalists from throughout the Great Lakes Basin.  This year's
conference, the sixteenth, also included workshops which addressed current
issues and offered technical assistance and skillbuilding opportunities.

 Annual environmental awards were presented at the gathering to recognize
exemplary work on behalf of communities and the environment.  Award
recipients for 1997 included:

Representative Karen Willard, 82nd District (Algonac), for her persistence
and integrity in addressing environmental issues impacting her district and
the state of Michigan, for her recognition of the efforts of activists, and
her dedication to the future of this state.
Doris Schaller, Petoskey, founder of the Northern Chapter of Don't Waste
Michigan, in recognition of her lifetime of grassroots activism, dedication
to the protection of Michigan's unique natural environment, and employing
her talents and skills to the enlightenment of public officials, citizens,
and the residents of northern Michigan.
Citizens Concerned About Corporations and Michigan Board Member Diana
Jancek-Anderson, Montague, in recognition of their commitment to the
protection of communities, workers and victims from corporate abuse, their
organizing to hold petrochemical corporations accountable to communities,
and their continued quest for the reassertion of citizen authority.

 The Backyard Eco Conference is a project of Citizens for Alternatives to
Chemical Contamination (CACC), a grassroots environmental education and
advocacy organization with over 700 members  and three active chapters in
the state of Michigan.

Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination
8735 Maple Grove Road
Lake, MI  48632-9511
(517) 544-3318


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