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From: <>
Subject: Friends of Rachel
Followup-To: alt.activism.d
Date: 31 Jan 1998 17:59:48 GMT

P.O. Box 5036
Annapolis, MD 21403-7036
Phone: (410) 263-1584
Fax: (410) 263-8944

January 1998

Dear Rachel's Reader:

FRIEND\frend\n 1: one who seeks the welfare of another whom he holds in affection, respect or esteem 2: one not hostile, or not an enemy 3: one who is of the same nation, party or other group, and from whom cooperation is expected 4: one who gives assistance that favors or promotes something, such as a cause, institution or project.

Have you ever heard the saying, "I have many acquaintances, but few friends." Well, Environmental Research Foundation (ERF) has never made a distinction between the two, until now. You see ERF has many acquaintances. In fact, hardly a week goes by that several of our RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY readers don't send us encouraging notes and letters telling us how much they appreciate our work or how our efforts have helped them battle environmental injustices in their communities. We treasure the moral support of our subscribers because it is uplifting and reinforces the importance of our work.

It is the great need for our work that prompts ERF to strive to provide free environmental news with the electronic version of RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY, and information resources available through our E-mail Info Server to anyone who needs it -- regardless of their ability to pay for it. (To learn more, send the word HELP in an E-mail message to Yet, the cost of providing such services is an ongoing -- if not rising -- expense. In the past, ERF has relied on foundation funding to offset the costs of providing these free services and low-cost publications. However, because we cannot rely on foundation funding forever, we are now working on a strategic plan to help stabilize our future.

Our options? Well, we could start charging for the electronic version of our newsletter, RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY, and start charging for the E-mail Info Server that we currently provide for free. However, that would most likely mean that some of the people who need our help most would no longer be able to afford it. And we don't want to put a price tag on our services. Environmental justice is far too important to be available only to those who can afford to pay for the information and resources needed to bring it about.

ERF is, therefore, instituting a donor program that will bring distinction to our Friends.


Friends of ERF is a special group of ERF supporters who either read RACHEL'S, count on ERF for its E-mail Info Server, utilize some of our many other publications or simply appreciate and value our work. Friends of ERF help sustain ERF by making an annual tax-deductible contribution, of $35 or more.

Why does ERF need this added level of support? Quite simply, because the publications and information that ERF provides at cost or free to our supporters and the general public, are not free for us to produce. ERF has always absorbed the costs of the computers, supplies, research time, staffing, postage, internet access, toll free telephone numbers and other resources that allow us to make our services available to all. However, despite our efforts to provide environmental resources and information at no cost, there is a price tag attached to our work. This is why we need your help. You can give ERF the financial resources we need to continue our most important research and publication work, by making an annual contribution of $35 or more to ERF.

As a small token of our appreciation, Friends of ERF donors will receive a special ERF annual report and a complimentary subscription to our newest newsletter, INSIDEerf. Each week, ERF and RACHEL'S bring you cutting edge news and information about our health and environment. But have you ever wondered about the people behind this information, or how our readers use this information to make a real difference in their communities and in our world? Or, perhaps you would simply like to know more about ERF's programs. INSIDEerf is a quarterly supplemental newsletter designed to tell you all that and more! Four times each year, INSIDEerf will bring you stories about ERF staff, projects, and our overall mode of operation. We wanted to give you a sneak preview of what our Friends of ERF donors can expect in INSIDEerf, so we have attached a sample copy for you (below).

I hope you will consider taking your support of ERF and RACHEL'S one step further by joining Friends of ERF. To do so, you need only make your annual contribution to ERF at least $35.00.


/signed/                            /signed/
Becky Joseph                        Peter Montague
Development Coordinator             Editor

P.S. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at (410) 263-1584 or toll free, (888) 2RACHEL. We look forward to providing you with this additional insight and information about ERF by adding you to the ranks of our Friends.

YES! I am a supporter of ERF and RACHEL'S and I appreciate the wealth of information and resources that they provide to me. I would like to further my support of ERF and RACHEL'S by joining the ranks of the Friends of ERF.

Therfore, I would like to make an additional tax-deductible donation in the amount of:

[  ]  $35*          [  ]  $50

[  ]  $100          [  ]  $250

[  ]  $500          [  ]  Other $ ______

* Minimum annual contribution to receive INSIDEerf.

[ ] SAVE RESOURCES! Please do not send me a thank you note, receipt or other form of acknowledgment unless my donation is more than $250.00. Name: Address: Daytime phone: [ ] I prefer to receive INSIDEerf by snail mail rather than E-mail. I have included the pertinent information above. Payment: [ ] Check made out to ERF [ ] Mastercard [ ] Visa [ ] Amex Card number: Exp. Date: Cardholder's name: Cardholder's signature:

We thank you for your generous support.

Please return this form and your contribution to: ERF, P.O. Box 5036, Annapolis, MD 21403-7036. To make a credit card donation, you can fax it to: (410) 263-8944 or call us toll free at: (888) 2Rachel [that is (888) 272-2435] or at (410) 263-1584.

Fall 1997


We hope you enjoy this premiere issue, and every subsequent issue, of INSIDEerf. Environmental Research Foundation (ERF) and RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY hope that this publication will be insightful and encouraging to you in your fight for environmental justice. To help you get the most out of this issue, following is a brief overview of what we hope you will gain from each section of INSIDEerf. If you have comments or questions, please direct them to our INSIDEerf editor, Becky Joseph at (410) 263-1584, Fax: (410) 263-8944, E-mail:

VICTORY STORIES:   Publicizes victories in your battles for environmental justice.

BOOK REVIEW:   Showcases a book we think will be useful to you in your ongoing efforts.

...AND JUSTICE FOR ALL:   Keeps you abreast of issues that are of utmost importance to us.

STAFF PROFILE:   Gives you an inside look at the staff who bring you INSIDEerf and RACHEL's.

SUBSCRIBER PROFILE:   Features a different ERF supporter and RACHEL'S reader in each issue.

ENVIRONMENTALLY YOURS:   Tells you about environment-friendly groups, products and services.


The World Health Organization (WHO) now says there are an estimated 20,000 pesticide-related deaths in the world each year.

Source: Lester R. Brown and others. Vital Signs, 1996. New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 1996.


Two subscribers recently wrote to RACHEL'S to express their thanks for our work. James, in Las Vegas wrote: "RACHEL'S is a fantastic resource. I wish everyone in the world would read it." Ruth in Washington state wrote: "I wish everyone had a subscription." These two letters of support express a process ERF has been undertaking for several years now. An effort to increase subscriptions to RACHEL'S. ERF believes you, our most loyal supporters, can be a big help to us in these efforts.

If you, like James and Ruth, wish everyone in the world had a subscription to RACHEL'S, we hope you will consider joining us on the road to making this dream a reality. ERF is looking for volunteers to help us spread the word about ERF and increase subscriptions to RACHEL'S. If you would like to take part in our work in this way, please contact ERF's development coordinator, Becky Joseph at (410) 263-1584, Fax: (410) 263-8944, or E-mail:


This section of INSIDEerf is set aside to tell you about ERF staff members. In this premier issue we will only say a few words about each of us. However, individual profiles will be featured in future issues.

Our director Peter Montague is also the editor of RACHEL'S. He is one of the founders of ERF and enjoys sailing and a rich dessert (preferably chocolate) every now and then. Our associate director and the associate editor of RACHEL'S is Maria Pellerano. She manages the day-to-day office operations and likes gardening, cycling and cooking in her spare time.

INSERT PHOTO. Back Row: Ted Chase, Peter Montague, Todd Fiedorowicz Front Row: Becky Joseph, Maria Pellerano, Angela Pellerano

Todd Fiedorowicz is the ERF office manager and circulation manager of RACHEL'S. In addition to keeping our office running smoothly, Todd also makes sure that RACHEL'S gets to all of our subscribers on time. When he is not at work, Todd can often be found on the beach or at a Jimmy Buffet concert. Ted Chase is ERF's research assistant. He does the basic research for our newsletter, RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY. In his spare time, Ted is a writer who is currently working on a book about the history of African-Americans in Washington, D.C. ERF development coordinator, Becky Joseph is responsible for increasing and maintaining subscriptions to RACHEL'S. She is the editor of INSIDEerf and enjoys sports and writing. Our office assistant, Angela Pellerano (Maria's mom), manages our filing and library systems. Angela enjoys senior aerobics and travelling.


INSERT PHOTO. Harold Stokes

At first glance, one might think Harold Stokes is the classic environmentalist of the '90's. The digits in both his license plate and telephone number spell the word "EARTH" and he is a board member for three environmental groups in Michigan. But at age 73, Stokes is far from being a newcomer to environmental issues. In fact, he has been an advocate for social justice since he was a teenager -- long before it was fashionable to do so. His interest in environmental justice grew out of his overall social concern.

A retired teacher at Henry Ford Community College, Stokes says he first became interested in environmental issues in the 1950's. Stokes had just become interested in organic gardening when he learned that chemicals such as additives, fertilizers and insecticides were being added to crops and fresh produce. "At that time, the FDA had to prove a chemical was harmful, before it could be pulled." While Stokes says he was alarmed at this, he says he didn't actually become an environmental activist until the mid 1980's, when he heard about toxic dump sites and incinerators. This is also when he first became interested in ERF and RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY. He says the information he has gained through RACHEL'S has been invaluable in his effort to combat injustices in his community. In fact, he still laughs when he recalls his first public hearing to fight a waste site. He was so outraged, that it drove him to action...literally. "I heard about it and decided to attend the meeting to speak out against it." Stokes says while citizens at the meeting were moved by his testimony, they were also somewhat puzzled by his concern. "They asked me where I lived and I told them, Detroit" -- 200 miles from the proposed dump site. Stokes says although the site was hours away from his home, he felt moved to attend the meeting because he was concerned. His actions that day exemplify one of Harold Stokes most basic beliefs. "All of us can impact the future. We all have a voice, and we should exert it. We each need to be a part of the solution."

In addition to supporting ERF's work, Harold Stokes is also active with Greenpeace, Michigan Environmental Council, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (CACC), the Detroit Audubon Society, and Dumpwaste Michigan.



The meetings had been many. The duration, long. The nature, top secret. And the debate, heated. The topic? A landfill in Cobble Hill which is a small, rural community on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Local politician and RACHEL'S subscriber Richard Hughes says the plan, by the WMX Corporation, was to bring massive quantities of garbage to the nearby Columbia landfill by truck, barge, train or any other means of transportation.

After a series of what Hughes calls "secret, backroom meetings" with area Mayors, the day for the final public hearing had arrived. That's when Hughes took matters into his own hands. Armed with "a stack of RACHEL'S", Hughes says he arrived at the final meeting ready for a good debate. Here is his account of what happened:

"I questioned them about their convictions for price fixing, death threats, multi-million dollar fines for polluting the environment and so on. This was a public meeting, [so] they started to take some exception. I challenged them to refute one solitary statement that I had made (...a stack of REHW documents sat on the table and had been handed out to several key allies minutes prior to the meeting). Well, they backed down and we won the vote by one. Thanks for the ammunition."

At ERF, we know that such victories can seem few and far between -- especially when you are in the trenches, fighting for environmental justice in your community. Therefore, we hope that this story has not only given you insight to the struggles of some of your fellow activists but also some ideas and inspiration to continue your own fight. We look forward to bringing you more victory stories in future issues of INSIDEerf.

To submit your story for possible publication in a future edition of INSIDEerf, please send a one page, typed letter about your situation. Please also include an e-mail address, if available, and a picture (of your group, the site/situation, etc.) if possible. Please do not send original or "one of a kind" pictures, since your photos cannot be returned.


When you first face an environmental problem such as the siting of a landfill or groundwater contamination, you recognize the need for information. You might want to know what a landfill is, or something about the chemical they just found in your water supply. Many people overlook the most available place for this type of information -- their public library.

If you have been frustrated by the environmental resources available in your library or have never used your public library for researching environmental problems, then you need The Environmentalist's Guide to the Public Library (updated 1997 edition) from Libraries for the Future, a national non-profit organization of public library advocates. Even though your public library may not have all the resources you need, it can be a central link to the information available locally and globally. This guide not only tells you about the resources available in your public library but it explains how environmental material is classified in libraries, how to use the library to get information from organizations and government agencies, how to research the environment online, and how to work with librarians.

This guide also helps you become an advocate for your public library with information on using the library to reach the public, using the library to influence government and industry, building a stronger library and advocating for the library.

Interspersed throughout this publication are profiles of community groups that used their public library to research an environmental problem. Often these profiles discuss how the library expanded its capacity through partnering with community organizations, government offices, special research libraries, and, increasingly, through the Internet.

The Environmentalist's Guide to the Public Library is available free (up to 5 copies) from Libraries for the Future, 121 West 27th Street, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10001; phone: (800) 542-1918; fax: (212) 352-2342; E-mail:


ERF prides itself on being an environmentally responsible organization. As such, we have partnerships with numerous other environmental organizations and use environment-friendly products in our offices. We thought our readers might also be interested in knowing about some of these groups, products and services.


Food & Water, Inc.:
R.R. 1, Box 68 D, Walden, VT 05873, (802) 563-3300. Description: This group fights the use of pesticides, irradiation and synthetic hormones in foods.

Sustainable America (SA):
350 Fifth Avenue, Room 3112, New York, NY 10118, (212) 239-4221. Description: SA is striving for a balance between a sustainable environment and a healthy economy.


The prolific scientist and environmentalist, Rachel Carson once said, "The balance of nature is not a status quo; it is fluid, ever shifting, in a constant state of adjustment. Man, too, is part of this balance. Sometimes the balance is in his favor; sometimes - and all too often through his own activities - it is shifted to his disadvantage. To have risked so much in our efforts to mold nature to our satisfaction and yet to have failed in achieving our goal would indeed be the final irony. Yet this, it seems, is our situation."

ERF believes that this quote exemplifies the continued need for us to research, publish and disseminate information about environmental justice. Therefore in each issue of INSIDEerf, we set aside this section titled "...And Justice for All" to tell you about some of the environmental issues, policies and other injustices that we feel most strongly about.

Risk assessment is a process used by government and industry to determine the probability of damage to our health and environment from chemical exposure and other technologies.

If it worked, risk assessment would greatly reduce the occurrence of these types of injustices. In reality, risk assessment is unscientific, because researchers don't know exactly how toxic most chemicals are, or how dangerous simultaneous, multi-chemical exposure is. Simply put, risk assessment is a politically-motivated mathematical technique, used to manipulate data to reach almost any conclusion risk assessors want to reach. Or, as former Environmental Protection Agency chief, William Ruckelshaus so eloquently stated: "A risk assessment is like a captured spy. Torture it enough and it will tell you anything."

Risk assessment allows government and industry to give false assurances of safety while allowing, if not causing, environmental and health damage to occur. Until this changes, ERF will continue to expose the often hidden implications of risk assessment.

.                                                               .
. INSIDEerf is published by Environmental Research Foundation   .
. (ERF), P.O. Box 5036, Annapolis, MD 21403-7036.  Telephone:   .
. (410) 263-1584, Fax: (410) 263-8944, E-mail:  .
. INSIDEerf is published quarterly in Winter, Spring, Summer    .
. and Fall.                                                     .
.                                                               .
. Editor: Becky Joseph   Managing Editor: Todd Fiedorowicz      .
. Staff Contributors: Peter Montague, Director;                 .
. Maria Pellerano, Associate Director; Ted Chase, Research      .
. Assistant   Graphic Design and Production: Joanie Surette,    .
. Surette Studio                                                .
.                                                               .
. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION:    INSIDEerf is a supplemental      . 
. publication available exclusively to those donors who         .
. annually support ERF through our Friends of ERF program.      .
. For more information on how you can start receiving your      .
. subscription to INSIDEerf, please contact ERF.                .

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