On June 3rd, the non-profit organization "Blue Planet Run" held an event in Boston Common as the participating long-distance runners were arriving in Boston. The blue planet run goes across 16 countries and covers 15200 miles in 95 days. At each stop, the organization holds a media event to promote their message. However, some might wonder what exactly this message is. According to the organization, the event promotes safe drinking water across the globe. However, many activists feel that the honesty of their message is encumbered by the fact that the main sponsor of the run is Dow Chemical, which products and factories are a major source of water contamination across the world.
A panel discussion with Gary Cohen, Aquene Freechild, and Prof. Ron Willey.
Often cited as the worst industrial disaster to date, the gas leak at a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India in 1984 killed 7,000 within days, and 22,000 to date. The panelists include a chemical engineer who has worked in Bhopal and has affiliations with Union Carbide and Dow Chemical, and Boston's Environmental Health Fund Associates who have traveled to Bhopal and worked in the health clinic there. What happened that night? What are the implications from an engineering perspective, a social perspective, and a corporate perspective?
April 20th, 2007: "Get on the Bus"
Every year, hundreds of human rights activist travel to New York City as part of "Get on the Bus", organized by Amnesty International group 133 in Somerville, MA, to protest against different human rights violations across the world. This year, one of the protests focused on Bhopal. Members of the Boston Coaltion for Justice in Bhopal organized a protest outside of JP Morgan Chase's World Headquarters, a major holder of shares in Dow Chemical. The protest's aim was to pressure JP Morgan to vote in favor of the Bhopal resolution at the Dow Shareholder meeting in May, 2007. For more information about Get On the Bus go here.
Rachna Dhingra is working in Bhopal with survivors from the world's worst industrial disaster – the gas leak from Union Carbide's plant that has killed 20,000 people since 1984 and impacted over 200,000 people. A compassionate, determined and resourceful woman, Rachna moved to Bhopal from Ann Arbor in January 2003. Since then, she has immersed herself in getting the balance of compensation to survivors, initiating efforts for clean drinking water, generating employment, and mobilizing local and global communities. She has become a key organizer for the campaign, and her enthusiasm and energy is an inspiration to all.
On December 2nd, we gathered on Boston Common and staged a “funeral march” carrying coffins and bearers representing those who died and are dying daily.
From Boston Common we marched to State St. Bank, which is the 5th largest Dow shareholder and hold voting authority for 24.8 million shares of Dow stock as of 9/30/06. That is stock worth almost a billion dollars ($994 million). We wanted to remind them that they have a responsibilty for human rights as much as they do for profit, and they have an obligation to vote in favor of the Bhopal Resolution at a minimum to assure that Dow Chemical does take action in Bhopal
GOOD NEWS! All three resolutions have been passed by the city council on September 25th, 2006.
Thanks to the groups that endorsed the resolution:
- Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia
- Alternatives for Community and Environment
- Amnesty International Group 133
- Area 4 Coalition
- Association for India's Development – Boston Chapter
- Cambridge United for Justice and Peace
- Clean Water Action, Massachusetts
- Dollars and Sense Magazine
- Environmental Health Fund
- Groundwork USA (Environmental Justice organization)
- Healthy Building Network
- Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health
- Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
- South Asia Center