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E-M:/ Saying Goodbye to Mary Beth Doyle and Stewart Freeman



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Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>
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Yesterday I attended the memorial service for Mary Beth Doyle.

There were between 400 and 500 people there [possibly more], standing room only,
in the Unitarian Church in Ann Arbor.....a real tribute to the life and times
of Mary Beth.


Many in attendance noted that, even in our grief, we enjoyed the
joyous music and dance at the memorial service, which were part
of Mary Beth's life.   We also heard the Mary Beth version of the
Elvis' "Return to Sender"....part of the brilliant campaign Mary Beth
had created on the out-of-state/Toronto trash opposition/PR campaign.

We heard from Mike Garfield and others about Mary Beth's inspirational life
and her influence on other people and events.   Mike noted one EM contributor's
comment about how Mary Beth's style inspired others in how they display
their activism.

I have taken the liberty of posting the memorial announcement titled
"A Joyous Presence" about Mary Beth's life at:
http://www.sagady.com/stuff/marybeth.pdf    which has two
pictures of Mary Beth and some inspirational information about
her career and life.

The Ecology Center of Ann Arbor has created "The Mary Beth Doyle Memorial Fund"
for memorials in her honor. More on this at: http://www.ecocenter.org/


As for me, I received, perhaps, Mary Beth's last mission/assignment a few days before
her death.....look into the entire matter of the Hamtramck waste incinerator permitting.
Being someone who is paid for their environmental protection work mostly, I am hoping
that Mary Beth's optimism about doing something about this particular toxic emission source
will give me some inspiration about addressing problems at this facility.


On Monday I attended the funeral for Stewart Freeman at St. Thomas Church in
East Lansing. Most of us who knew Stewart always saw the lawyer-professional
side of him. For several years he would be the one attending meetings of the
Michigan Air Pollution Control Commission from the AGs offfice and other state environmental commissions.


I learned a lot more about Stewart as family man and doting father at the funeral. I
was not aware of Stewart's involvement in the whole state anti-tobacco company
litigation that has been so important in recent times.


It was good hearing former Attorney General Frank Kelly talk about Stewart's life
and times.


Stewart was fond of passing down to others Michigan's environmental history. Fortunately
we also have Dave Dempsey doing this now on an ongoing basis. Stewart and
William Cooper at MSU had many stories to tell about how the state handled environmental
cleanup. Stewart knew that awareness of our past history on environmental protection and
conservation of resources was the best way to keep our state from repeating mistakes.


Perhaps Stewart's most significant contribution as a public servant was poking at
recalcitrant polluters and responsible parties for cleanup and ensuring that what
the MDNR and MDEQ wanted to see for such cleanup would be fully enforceable. In this
vein, it was Stewart's participation in moving along agreements and cleanups at the most serious toxic
contamination sites in the state during the late 70's, 80's and early 90's that will be
his most lasting and important contribution to the health, safety and environmental
protection of Michigan citizens.


Losing both of these pillars of Michigan environmental protection and
conservation, Mary Beth and Stewart, reminds me again of what it takes to
make special leaders in our cause and how such leadership will be continued
into the future.

I'm especially concerned because I see sometimes a generation gap in
the citizen volunteer movement with less involvement by those in their
20's and 30's. Back in the 60's and 70's a big chunk of citizen environmental
activitsm came from high school and college students. I remember one Michigan guy,
Tom Bailey, who used to joke about "how I flunked out of school for conservation." If
memory serves me correctly, he took on the issue of wilderness designations for
Isle Royale National Park while he was at MSU [i don't think he ever actually flunked out but he
used to joke about this]. How do we rekindle the whole idea that what
students take on with environmental protection can become a "mission critical"
involvement?


Michigan has had a history of very strong environmental protection and conservation
traditions that has frequently led to individual citizens volunteering their leadership and
time to specific issues, lands, campaigns, etc. Other states don't have this strong of
a tradition. Engler tried to beat activists into a pulp, following the whole right wing effort
to try to destroy the citizen environmental movement. So far, I haven't seen much out
of the Granholm Administration that seeks to rekindle the pre-Engler spirit as far as
serious public participation in policy, permitting and enforcement. .


But I digress..... Lois Gibb was at Mary Beth Doyle's memorial service. Ms. Gibb was
the citizen leader who lived next to the Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY who vaulted that
issue to national visibility. She heads the Center for Health, Environment and Justice in DC
http://www.chej.org In talking with Lois she was also concerned about the generation gap issue
noting low interest previously on college campuses. But she said recently there has been
a significant uptick in student environmental interest on campuses and that more students are coming to
college talks she attends now.....so perhaps there is some basis for hope on the matter of
younger environmentalists taking leadership in our movement.


In any event....so it goes in a week remembering two pillars of
environmental protection....

Alex Sagady


========================================== Alex J. Sagady & Associates http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com
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