Friday, March 27, 2009

THE KEY WORD IS ‘CITIZEN’

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Ohio Citizen Action has a big and dirty state to patrol for industrial excrement, right near the bottom in nationwide water- and air-quality rankings. Last fall, its organizational tactics helped convince metal and mining behemoth Eramet to spend $170 million to clean up its Marietta manganese factory. But OCA’s Cleveland chapter, one of just three in the state, can handle only one big issue at a time. That’s why it’s training ordinary citizens to become better activists and observers.

At its next Good Neighbor Campaign training session (9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at CSU’s Main Classroom 438), the organization is bringing in pollution-prevention expert Robert Pojasek from Boston to discuss how he’s convinced companies to cut emissions and costs. Liz Ilg, the Cleveland chapter’s program director, says Pojasek will illustrate how to use a “campaign of conscience to convince plant managers and CEOs that they need to listen to their neighbors.”

Dr. Anne Wise will discuss the public-health side of pollution ramifications. Then participants can go home and deal with their problems in a constructive way, says Ilg. “We don’t get to work on every issue, and we know that there are so many people out there dealing with different issues in their backyard, so we offer these trainings to deliver to them what we’ve learned.”

The cost is $15, which will pay for breakfast, lunch and all training materials. Two future field trips will build on what attendees have learned, with more hands-on help in researching and organizing. For information, call 216.861.5200 or go to ohiocitizen.org. — Dan Harkins

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