"People really don't understand how poorly chemicals are regulated in Australia and how poorly risk is managed."
Jane Bremmer was mother to a small baby when she and her partner Lee Bell moved into their first home in the Perth foothills. It wasn't long before they discovered they were living opposite a massive open toxic pit of petroleum waste, which they believed had been causing significant health issues in the community for many years.
That discovery was the catalyst for two decades of committed campaigning and community education, making Bremmer and Bell highly regarded consultants for international NGOs.
Environmental campaigner Jane Bremmer shares five publications that have influenced her work.
Robert D Bullard and Glenn S Johnson
Environmental Justice: Grassroots Activism and Its Impact on Public Policy Decision Making, Journal of Social Issues, Vol 56, No 3, 2000, pp.555-78.
Jane says ”Going back to Omex and Waste Control, it was Robert Bullard’s report on Environmental Justice that resonated with our experience and understanding of what was happening on WA. At the time Lee and I started talking about Environmental Justice ( EJ) in WA (1995) we did not get much support from the environment movement or Greens and I was told (by a former EDO staffer, when they first started) ...“that there is no such thing as EJ in WA...thats only relevant to the US. Suffice to say I pointed out that citizens in industrial precincts like Kwinana and Midland and Aboriginal citizens living in mining regions like Wiluna demonstrated that EJ issues did exist in WA.
Understanding and acknowledgment of EJ has moved on considerably in WA and I like to think that a bit of that is because of our campaign work."
Dying from Dioxin: A Citizen's Guide to Reclaiming our Health and Rebuilding Democracy
by Lois Marie Gibbs, 1999.
“I was very fortunate in 1997 to be able to attend the Greenpeace OzToxics conference where I met Lois Marie Gibbs and heard all about the Love Canal disaster. That experience and her advice to me personally was very inspirational and helped to motivate my work on EJ in WA.”
Theo Colburn, Our Stolen Future by John Peterson Myers, Dianne Dumanoski, Theo Colborn, 1996.
"Theo’s work on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in pesticides, petrochemicals and consumer products underpinned a lot of my work especially on campaigns such as the Kimberley LNG hub. I presented very early on to the Broome community about the dangers of the proposal and its chemical releases and this helped to establish the subsequent massive community opposition....which was ultimately successful."
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
“Silent Spring is as relevant today as it was in 1962 when it was first published. Using poisons to grow our food and control pests in our homes and urban environments is considered an obvious threat to health by most people yet few understand that the pesticides used today were invented to poison people during the first and subsequent world wars....how blind have we become to think that using these same chemicals (rebranded for agriculture...a quick shift from military uses) to kill weeds and insects would not harm human health!”
Burning Waste for Energy? It Doesn’t Stack Up, National Toxics Network, Lee M Bell and Jane M Bremmer, 2013.
This is our recent report to inform communities and decision makers on the dangers of this industry and its push to establish in WA.