Grassroots Environmentalist of Infamous “Love Canal” to Speak at Rollins College
Lois Gibbs, founder and executive director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ), who led her community in a battle against the local, state and federal governments in 1978, will speak at Rollins College on Wednesday, March 22nd, at 7:00 PM in the Bush Science Center Auditorium. Gibbs has been at the forefront of the environmental movement in the U.S. since she led the struggle to have 800 families from her Niagara Falls community evacuated and relocated after discovering their neighborhood sat on 21,000 tons of buried chemical waste.
Gibbs, then a housewife with two young children, became concerned about reports of chemical waste in her neighborhood. She wondered if her children’s unusual health problems and those of her neighbors were connected to their exposure to leaking chemical waste. With no prior experience in community activism, Gibbs organized her neighbors and formed the Love Canal Homeowners Association. Her efforts led to the evacuation and relocation of more than 800 families, the cleanup of Love Canal and the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Superfund” which is used to locate and clean up toxic sites throughout the U.S.
The title of Gibbs’ lecture is “Love Canal; Flint, Michigan; and Struggles of the Environmental Health and Justice Movement.” The lecture is funded by the Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Gordon J. Barnett Memorial Foundation and the League of Women Voters of Orange County. The presentation is free and open to the public.
Founded in 1885, Rollins College is Florida’s oldest college. Located in Winter Park, near Orlando, Rollins is consistently ranked as one of the top regional universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to full-time undergraduate programs in the College of Liberal Arts, Rollins offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs for working adults through its evening program at the Hamilton Holt School and graduate business degree programs through its Crummer Graduate School of Business, which has been ranked a top MBA program by Forbes and Bloomberg Businessweek.