Profs & Pints: Nightmare at Love Canal
Profs and Pints presents: "Nightmare at Love Canal," with Rahima Schwenkbeck, adjunct professor of American Studies at George Washington University.
Love Canal was conceived of as part of a utopian community when it broke ground in Niagara Falls, N.Y., in the 1890s. By the 1970s, however, it came to be regarded as a hell for those who lived there, whom it exposed to chemical waste, toxic smells and death.
Hooker Chemical Company and other firms had filled an abandoned canal on the site with a long list of horrific toxins, including those from experiments with chemical warfare. And yet, despite warnings from Hooker itself, developers built two elementary schools, hundreds of homes, and low-income apartment buildings there.
The land's poisonous past came to haunt its residents, producing a horrific environmental disaster. Those who lived there were plagued with burned pets, strange illnesses, cancer, and children with birth defects. Furious over what was happening to them and their children, parents in the area became activists, bringing coffins to political leaders and, at one point, holding two Environmental Protection Agency agents hostage.
Eventually the entire area was closed off. Its residents left their homes, which were razed, bulldozed into their own basements, and capped over. The controversy helped inspire Congress to pass environmental legislation, particularly the Superfund program. Yet history risks repeating itself, as new developments are being built near the site and those now in power in Washington are scaling back environmental protections adopted since then.
Come hear Dr. Schwenkbeck, a Niagara Falls native, tell the strange tale of Love Canal, the activism it inspired, and that community's struggle to come to grips with its past. She'll discuss the site's bizarre history, the numerous questionable decisions that were made there, and the science involved in determining pollution's toxic effects. And she'll bring you up to speed on the risks that remain there and elsewhere where the earth has been used as a poison dumping ground. It's a talk not to be missed by anyone who cares about the environment and the health of themselves and their children. (Tickets $10 in advance and $12 at the door.)
The Bier Baron Tavern (View)
1523 22nd St NW
Washington, DC 20037
|Minimum Age: 18|
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|