The day before she left her family to go to jail, biologist, mother and activist Sandra Steingraber joined Bill Moyers to talk about the need to build awareness about toxins that contaminate our air, water and food — and threaten our children’s health. With government captured by the very industries it’s supposed to regulate, Steingraber said she’s lost patience with politicians and corporations, and the time for direct action is now.
Steingraber also talks to Bill about her arrest for illegally blocking the driveway of a natural gas company as part of a protest against the controversial energy extraction process known as fracking. Steingraber went to jail on April 17, and is currently serving a 15-day sentence.
“I believe, as do many of my colleagues in the sciences, that it’s not safe to compress explosive gases and store them underneath and beside a lake that serves as the drinking water for a hundred thousand people,” she tells Bill. “From my point of view as a biologist and a mother, this out-of-state company… is trespassing in our community.”
Steingraber returns often to the concept of “toxic trespass” — which “means that chemicals without our consent enter our body sometimes because we inhale them,” she explains to Bill. “You know, each of us breathes a pint of atmosphere with every breath. And so that’s one way in which toxic air pollutants then enter us, into our bloodstream.”