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Steve Lerner

Steve Lerner is the author of Eco-Pioneers: Practical Visionaries Solving Today’s Environmental Problems (1998) and Diamond: A Struggle for Environmental Justice in Louisiana’s Chemical Corridor (2006), both published by the MIT Press.

Titles by This Author

The Front Lines of Toxic Chemical Exposure in the United States

Across the United States, thousands of people, most of them in low-income or minority communities, live next to heavily polluting industrial sites. Many of them reach a point at which they say “Enough is enough.” After living for years with poisoned air and water, contaminated soil, and pollution-related health problems, they start to take action—organizing, speaking up, documenting the effects of pollution on their neighborhoods.

A Struggle for Environmental Justice in Louisiana's Chemical Corridor

For years, the residents of Diamond, Louisiana, lived with an inescapable acrid, metallic smell—the "toxic bouquet" of pollution—and a mysterious chemical fog that seeped into their houses. They looked out on the massive Norco Industrial Complex: a maze of pipelines, stacks topped by flares burning off excess gas, and huge oil tankers moving up the Mississippi. They experienced headaches, stinging eyes, allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems, skin disorders, and cancers that they were convinced were caused by their proximity to heavy industry.

Practical Visionaries Solving Today's Environmental Problems

Following the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Steve Lerner spent four years searching out people he came to call "eco-pioneers"—the modern pathfinders who are working in the American pragmatic tradition to reduce the pace of environmental degradation. In this book, Lerner puts a human face on Earth Summit rhetoric, finding out what sustainable development actually looks like in the United States.