As you know, for the past 2.5-ish years, I've been devouring all the books and films about environmental carcinogens that I can get my hands on.
A few weeks ago, I was browsing the "new non-fiction" section of my local library, and came across a book that looked intriguing: Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, by Kristen Iversen. I checked it out. About three days later, when I had only read a couple chapters, I came across a little blurb online saying that the author was going to be speaking about her book in just a few days, about two miles from my house. What serendipity! I mean, what are the chances?! She's not even a local author - she lives over 1000 miles away. So, I knew just had to go.
I didn't have much time, but I read furiously for the next few days, wanting to finish the book before the event so that maybe I could actually have something to say during the question and answer session that followed her lecture. Sadly, I didn't even make it halfway through the book. I thoroughly enjoyed Kristen's presentation but was too shy to say anything during the Q and A...Then, she went to a table in the back to sell/sign her book... so I went up to her, intending to tell her about what her book means to me and how I've been reading it all week trying to finish it in time, and instead, I got tongue-tied and blurted out, "Thank you so much. I'm on page 158!!" and left. WHAT A DORK! (Yes, I'm bold and long-winded in writing, but often shy and quiet in person.)
So I will tell all of you, here, what Kristen's book means to me:
I've spent 2.5-ish years learning all about the dangers of environmental carcinogens, and advocating for their abolition. I've learned about and spoken up about chemicals in cleaning products and cosmetics; fracking; pesticides; GMOs; BPA in cans and packaging; chemicals in clothing, furniture, and toys; etc. I've sent letters and emails to the government, advocating for the passage of the Safe Chemicals Act. I've signed anti-fracking petitions, and boycotted products, and made sure the store I get most of my groceries from doesn't use receipt paper with BPA. I buy organic everything as much as possible, and write for Breast Cancer Action, and I've volunteered with an organization from my hometown (close to a Superfund site!) that researches and does education/outreach about carcinogens in the environment.
But I grew up 30 miles away from a nuclear power plant, and have now spent the past 8 years living 5 miles away from another, and have, until now, totally ignored the topic of nuclear power and its dangers. The topic terrifies me. But it's time I start delving into it. I'm announcing that publicly, so I don't chicken out. Stay tuned...