Matt and I went to see Sandra Steingraber and her powerful film, “Living Downstream” on Monday at the Bear Tooth Theater. We arrived late so we grabbed some stools in the back and grubbed on some seven-layer dip. The visually stunning documentary was about toxins in our environment, a difficult subject to swallow. Basically, it talks about how known toxins are all around us… in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink. We continue to allow their use because it is difficult to pin-point a certain case of cancer with a particular toxin. But we know they have the potential to be harmful, especially to vulnerable people such as children and people with poor diets.
The chips I was eating suddenly didn’t taste so good, and I was afraid to drink the water. When the lights came on I noticed that there were very few people my age or younger. Perhaps it is hard for us 30-somethings to face our own mortality. But as Sandra Steingraber reminded us, to be an adult is to take responsibility for what is happening in the world around us.
When we got home we found that our Berkey water filter had arrived, to our great relief. The filters are so fine that they will filter out food coloring. I’m not sure what made us order it because we have never been big on filtered water. Perhaps we also felt invincible in the past. But we had just been in Austin, at a potluck at my friend, Juliet’s, who herself is a cancer survivor, and also remembering our dear friend Pauly, who wasn’t so lucky. Paul’s beautiful daughter ran around, laughing and playing, reminding us of Paul’s joyous, playful attitude in his too-short life. We don’t know why Paul got a brian tumor, but it’s likely that his daughter is also being exposed to the same toxins because we haven’t done anything to prevent them.
We are not invincible. Our friends are not invincible. Our children, especially, are not invincible. We should act now to protect them and everyone around us. We should not subjugate our right to a long and healthy life to corporate profits. We should not balk at spending an extra 50 cents for organic produce, or the extra hassel of going to get our vehicle emissions tested to keep our city air a little cleaner. It’s the least we can do, and there is so much more. What can you do to make your home, community, or world a little less toxic?