February 28, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Mary Geddry
EUGENE – This year’s recipient of the international David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award is Lincoln County resident Carol Van Strum. Carol is being recognized for her decades worth of outstanding environmental and social justice work including in the area of rights of nature. An award ceremony is being held on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 6pm, in the ballroom of the ERB Memorial Union building on the UO campus in Eugene, Oregon.
The international David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, honors David Brower, one of the founders of the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and the Earth Island Institute. The award is presented to activists, community members, and attorneys who exemplify David Brower’s spirit and the spirit of environmental awareness he sought to awaken in people.
Carol Van Strum’s achievements include leading the fight to stop the spraying of Agent Orange and other herbicides on federal forest land in the Five Rivers Valley of Lincoln County, Oregon in the 1970-80’s. Her tireless efforts put Lincoln County and Oregon on the national map after a successful lawsuit against the U.S. government which banned aerial pesticide spraying on federal forests.
Carol documented the events of that campaign against herbicides in the book “A Bitter Fog: Herbicides and Human Rights” which tells the tragic stories of families affected by aerial pesticide spraying in the Five Rivers area, including Carol’s own children, and exposes the fraudulent studies and corruption that allow continued use of poisons in state and private lands nationwide.
In 2017, Carol joined the efforts of Lincoln County Community Rights, a chapter of the Oregon Community Rights Network, to defend the first-in-the-nation voter-approved, county-wide ban on aerial pesticide spraying to protect people and our natural world from aerially sprayed poisons.
A lawsuit brought by representatives of the timber industry to overturn the people’s vote sprung Carol into action yet again, this time to speak on behalf of the rights of nature. The new law banning aerial spray of pesticides did so in part on the grounds that it violated the rights of ecosystems and natural communities in Lincoln County from being toxically trespassed.
“I have lived in Lincoln County for 43 years in a home surrounded by river and forest. I am part of the ecosystems of Lincoln County. The Declaration of Independence itself asserts that the laws of nature preempt human law. Like the Lorax, I speak for the rights of waters and forests and wildlife to challenge human violations of natural law”, said Carol when she filed in 2017 to intervene in the lawsuit on behalf of the Siletz River watershed. A court decision whether the ban on aerial spray will be upheld or overturned is expected soon.
Carol has also been fighting the U.S. Navy’s continuing attempts to weaponize our coastal waters and take over our national forests and other public lands for weapons testing and war games. And in 2017 a publication called the “The Poison Papers” was released that largely came from Carol who had 40 years of documented evidence (100,000 pages) of fraudulent studies and false data used by the chemical industry and government regulators to approve poison products for industries such as industrial logging.
ABOUT THE ORCRN – OREGON COMMUNITY RIGHTS NETWORK
The ORCRN is a 501(c)(3) made up of local chapters and community rights activists from various communities in Oregon. The mission of the ORCRN is to support and empower communities to secure local self-determination and self-governance rights, superior to corporate power, in order to protect fundamental rights, quality of life, the natural environment, public health, and safety.