ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Agent Orange, the most powerful of the herbicides used in Vietnam in Operation Ranch Hand, begun on August 10, 1961, contained dioxin, one of the most toxic substances on the planet. We dropped 20 million gallons of this and other herbicides on Vietnam, contaminating 7,000 square miles of its forests. Half a century later, we are fully aware of the consequences of this strategic decision, not just for the Vietnamese, the Laotians, the Cambodians, but also for many American troops.
JOHN MIKSAD – Earth Day has meant many things to us since its inaugural year, 1970. Now, more than ever, its legacy must include opposition to militarism and war.
DAVID SWANSON – The geniuses running the U.S. military set up U.S. bases in Iraq at the sites of old chemical weapons piles, dug giant burn pits into the ground, and began burning the military’s trash — monumental quantities of trash, something like The Story of Stuff on steroids. They burned hundreds of tons of trash every day, including everything you can think of: oil, rubber, tires, treated wood, medicines, pesticides, asbestos, plastic, explosives, paint, human body parts, and . . . (wait for it) . . . nuclear, biological, and chemical decontamination materials.
ROBERT C. kOEHLER – Maybe if we declared â€œwarâ€ on poison water, weâ€™d find a way to invest money in its â€œdefeat.â€ David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz make this point: â€œThe price tag for replacing the lead pipes that contaminated its drinking water, thanks to the corrosive toxins found in the Flint River, is now estimated at up to $1.5 billion. No one knows where that money will come from or when it will arrive. In the meantime, the cost to the children of Flint has been and will be incalculable.â€ I sit with these words: â€œNo one knows where the money will come from.â€
DAVE MURPHY – What happens when a private company with a long history of producing some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet and now produces our food starts facing public pressure from a growing national grassroots movement to label their products to conform with basic principles of democracy and transparency? Well, if the company in question is Monsanto, then you take a page out of Big Tobaccoâ€™s playbook and hatch a secret plan to enlist public university scientists to bury the potential harm of your genetically engineered crops by whitewashing negative studies and systematically demonizing your opponents in the media to mislead elected officials and the American public about the safety of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and their accompanying toxic pesticides.