At the intersection of marine conservation and social, economic, environmental and food justice

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hitting the Revol-Oceanary Road

This post comes to us from Niaz Dorry, NAMA's coordinating director. 

This week I leave for a three-week train trip across the US, heading first to the Pacific Northwest, then down the coast to the Bay Area, and home through the Midwest.

Mapping it out 

It's a big trip, and I wanted to bring you all along, so I'll be blogging along the way - let's call it the Revol-Oceanary* Road Diaries. But unlike the novel Revolutionary Road, this road will focus on the positive changes we're creating toward a future when fisheries are environmentally, socially, and economically just, and feed into equally just food systems.

This trip was inspired by an invitation to speak at the annual Food Justice Dinner of the Community Alliance for Global Justice (CAGJ) in Seattle on July 26th. CAGJ and NAMA are connected through the National Family Farm Coalition, of which we are both members.

I'll be speaking at the Strengthening Local Economies Everywhere dinner on 7/26

CAGJ is a grassroots, community-based organization working to strengthen local economies everywhere. Strengthening local economies while protecting human rights and addressing environmental justice and inequalities are Revol-Oceanary, so accepting the invitation was a no-brainer. The dinner also set the tone for other stops and conversations along the way.

As I go, I’ll share stories about those we know whose work has touched us and/or is closely connected to the work we do at NAMA. It just happens that many of those featured in the upcoming stories are all dear friends and/or long-time colleagues. 

I feel extremely lucky to have known some of them for over 20 years, and as you read about them I hope you will see why. Here is a sampling of who you’ll meet if you decide to join us on the Revol-Oceanary Road: 

Vermont – You’ll be introduced to Paul Bogart and Judy Robinson. Judy is the Executive Director of Coming Clean and Paul is the Chief Program Officer at Health Care Without Harm (HCWH). NAMA is a member of Coming Clean,  a collaborative of environmental health and justice experts working to reform the chemical and energy industries so they are no longer a source of harm. Coming Clean’s work has led to groundbreaking collaboration and organizing in communities that are in the crosshairs of the “chemical barrage [that] has been hurled against the fabric of life” Rachel Carson talked about in 1962. Previously, Judy served as Associate Director of the Environmental Health Fund – where Coming Clean was spawned, regional director of a statewide environmental advocacy group focused on toxics and corporate accountability campaigns. I'll tell you what makes Coming Clean's work critical to the fisheries world. 

We've been working with Paul and the HCWH team on shifting the seafood purchasing policies of the healthcare institutions starting with a pilot in New England that we launched in 2011. We’ll hear about HCWH’s work, the significance of the fisheries work for them and their networks, and what the future looks like for the healthcare sector’s desire to truly first do no harm. Paul also happens to be the person responsible for me working on fisheries issues, but you’ll have to read my next post to find out about that connection. 

Minnesota – If you don’t already know Winona LaDuke you’ll get to know her
Winona LaDuke; image from the Island Institute
as the train chugs along just southwest of the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. Amongst her many accomplishments is the founding of the
White Earth Land Recovery Project that works to facilitate the recovery of the original land base of the White Earth Indian Reservation while preserving and restoring traditional practices of sound land stewardship, language fluency, community development, 
and strengthening their spiritual and cultural heritage. 
I’ll also tell you about the Red Lake fishery. This past November Winona paid me a visit in Gloucester. We visited Neptune Harvest together as she wanted to learn as much as she could to make sure their fishery on Red Lake was using the entire animals after they’ve given their sacred lives.  

Montana – A lot of people don’t know that NAMA is part of La Via Campesina, the international movement of the peasants. While traveling through Montana, you’ll meet Dena Hoff the North America coordinator for La Via Campesina. Dena is a farmer and activist who raises sheep, cattle, alfalfa, and corn in eastern Montana with her husband since 1979. She and I serve on the executive committee of the National Family Farm Coalition’s board of directors. She is also the former chair of the Northern Plans Resource Council
Oregon – You’ll meet a whole bunch of people in Oregon including the great
The Overlook Mosaic in Port Orford Bay
group of fishermen and community advocates of Port Orford; Kevin Scribner who works endlessly to make our footprints salmon-safe; and, Barbara Dudley, currently an adjunct professor at Portland State. Her career has included President and Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild; Executive Director of Unitarian Universalist charitable foundation, Veatch; Executive Director of Greenpeace USA; and later Assistant Director for Strategic Campaigns of the national AFL‑CIO. As you might guess, I met Barbara when she began her role at Greenpeace. Over the years, she’s been a source of inspiration, and a major spring of encouragement and support.
Chicago – In addition to learning about Asian Carp, I’ll introduce you to Margie Kelly and Joe Thornton both of whom I met when I began working for Greenpeace many many moons ago. They’ve also been a source of inspiration, support, and wisdom all these years. As a greenhorn toxics campaigner, Joe & Margie were amongst those whose work was informing how we organized. 
Margie is currently the Media Relations Manager for the Breast Cancer Fund and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. She previously served as the Communications Manager at Healthy Child, Healthy WorldCommunications Director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, SAFER, a multi-state coalition of environmental health organizations, and Director of Communications for the Center for Reproductive Rights. 
Joe’s work on the human health impacts of burning toxic waste led to a revolutionary decision by an Ohio court that persistent bio-accumulative toxins can in fact cause human health issues. We all knew this already since wildlife had been the first victims of these chemicals. Since the Greenpeace days, Joe career in science has reached amazing peaks including becoming a of the U.S. Presidential Science Award for his work on evolution from, wait for it… President Bush of all people.
California – Visit to California won’t be complete without the Revol-Oceanary Community Supported Fishery programs that have sprang up from Bay Area south. Local Catch Monterey Bay, Fair Share CSF, SirenSea, Community Seafood, SLO Fresh Catch are the west coast pioneers of the CSF concept delivering local catch as far north as Sacramento and south as Manhattan Beach. In addition, fishing community advocates such as Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association and others are leading the national effort on shifting fisheries policies. I’ll introduce you to Zeke Grader, PCFFA’s executive director when I’m there. We’ll also visit with food sovereignty advocates including Movement Strategy Center’s Fellow Navina Khanna, Hank Herrera of Center for Popular Research, Education and Policy and New Hope Farms, Eric Holt-Giménez of Food First and Institute for Food and Development Policy.
Ohio – When someone asks me where I grew up, I usually say Ohio. The truth is I’ve never lived in Ohio, but it is where I came of age as an activist. As a Greenpeace toxics campaigner I had the privilege of working with the community of East Liverpool to fight WTI, the world’s largest toxic waste incinerator on the banks of the Ohio River. 
I lived across the river in Chester, West Virginia. I watched the community struggle to do what they knew was right in the face of community backlash, political backhandedness, and corporate control of the regulatory system. That time changed me as an activist and made me understand what it really means to do whatever it takes.
These are just a sampling of stories and people you’ll hear about during this trip. While I’m traveling, others from our team and networks will be traveling to other points and introducing you to others whose work meets ours at the intersection of marine conservation and social, environmental and economic justice.
See you on the Revol-Oceanary Road!

*Revol-Oceanary is a term that Aaron Longton, a commercial fisherman from Port Orford, Oregon, came up with at the end of the first Community Supported Fishery Summit in 2012. Thank you for the inspiration, Aaron.

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