Sandra Steingraber’s Compelling Keynote Address on Marcellus Shale Fracking
Ecologist, biologist, cancer survivor, and author extraordinaire Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized authority on the environmental links to cancer and human health. When she delivered the keynote address on September 8th in Philadelphia at the Freedom from Fracking conference, 75 of her listeners approached her immediately asking for a link to listen to her vivid, compelling talk again. Here it is.
The week after she gave this speech, Steingraber won the prestigious Heinz Award for her work as an environmental and public health champion and chose to dedicate the monetary award specifically to work against fracking in her home state of New York.
During this keynote address, Steingraber ranges scientifically from environmentally caused illnesses in general to contaminants from high-volume hydraulic fracturing processes in particular to the “deep life,” biological life-forms living deep in the shale which scientists are just beginning to understand. These forms of deep life are killed by the biocides in fracking fluid. Lyrically, her range is also broad and includes an original poem which held the room spellbound.
Thanks to independent journalist Kirsi Jansa for enabling us to share this brilliant speech with a broader audience. Sandra Steingraber’s condensed biography is below, for those who’d like to know a little more about her.
More about Sandra Steingraber
Called “a poet with a knife” by Sojourner magazine, Steingraber has received many honors for her work as a science writer. She was named a Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year and later received the Jenifer Altman Foundation’s first annual Altman Award for “the inspiring and poetic use of science to elucidate the causes of cancer.” The Sierra Club has heralded Steingraber as “the new Rachel Carson,” and Carson’s own alma mater, Chatham College, selected Steingraber to receive its biennial Rachel Carson Leadership Award. In 2006, Steingraber received a Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Fund and, in 2009, the Environmental Health Champion Award from Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles.
An enthusiastic and sought-after public speaker, Steingraber has keynoted conferences on human health and the environment throughout the United States and Canada and has been invited to lecture at many universities, medical schools, and hospitals—including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, and the Woods Hole Research Center. She is recognized for her ability to serve as a two-way translator between scientists and activists. She has testified in the European Parliament, before the President’s Cancer Panel, and has participated in briefings to Congress and before United Nations delegates in Geneva, Switzerland. Interviews with Steingraber have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, on National Public Radio, “The Today Show,” and “Good Morning America.”
The final chapter of Steingraber’s new book, Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis, covers the crisis of high-volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing. Also, see her excellent article from Orion Magazine on the subject: The Whole Fracking Enchilada: Violating the bedrock, the atmosphere, and everything in between.