Missourians need to be worried – and need to act.
That is the message of Environmental Missouri: Issues and Sustainability — What You Need to Know, a new book from Webster University journalism professor and Times Newspapers editor Don Corrigan. The book is an overview of various aspects of our environment and sustainability shortfalls – in addition to what we are doing right.
Many of the problems are long-standing issues. For example, the Dioxin pollution in Times Beach is a remnant of Vietnam era Agent Orange production in Eastern Missouri. “When [The Society of Environmental Journalists] came here they referred to St. Louis as atomic city,” said Corrigan,
More issues include a radioactive site at Weldon Springs, the dying-off of the Ozark Hellbender salamanders, a takeover of Asian Carp that have made their way into our rivers, and the proliferation of McMansions.
When people buy up two or three smaller houses and build a new much larger house in their place, Corrigan sees “problems with the water situation, the run-off; there’s problems with how much energy they take … they’re also not sustainable. They’re difficult to sell oftentimes.”
Corrigan’s view isn’t all doom and gloom, however. He also sees a lot of positive actions and possible solutions. “I think here in St. Louis there are a lot of people working on those solutions,” he said.
He sees a number of local organizations, such as the botanical garden, the zoo, the science center and Washington University working on environmental preservation and ways to increase sustainability. “I think it’s encouraging that people are starting to realize that these issues are something that affect them in their own backyards and something they need to think about,” said Corrigan.
In November, Corrigan will be part of the Gateway Media Literacy Partners' week-long program throughout St. Louis entitled: "Environmentalism: Our Media Ecosystem," which will look at how the news media are covering such issues as global warming.