The results are in: Readers have selected ecologist and outspoken environmentalist Sandra Steingraber as the 2012 TreeHugger Person of the Year.
Hats off to our other contenders: Elon Musk, Hermann Sheer, Jadav "Molai" Payeng, and Kyle Wiens.
Channeling raw emotion stemming from her own experience as a cancer surviver, Steingraber has recently risen to the forefront of the anti-fracking movement.
In a letter to New York governor Andrew Cuomo, Steingraber states:
Hydraulic fracturing introduces cancer risks from the start and into perpetuity. Cancercausing chemicals are associated with all stages of the high-volume hydraulic fracturing process, from the production and use of fracking fluids, to the release of radioactive and other naturally hazardous materials from the shale, to transportation- and drilling-related air pollution, to the disposal of contaminated wastewater.
The potential for accidents during the injection and transportation of fracking chemicals concerns us deeply. And, as data from other states clearly demonstrate, the storage, treatment and disposal of the contaminated water can be a source of human exposure to chemical carcinogens and their precursors (Volz, 2011).
Steingraber, who credits Rachel Carson's Silent Spring as her call to arms, is the author of five books addressing agricultural and industrial pollution and their devastating impact on health: Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment; Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis; Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood; and Post-Diagnosis. She is also a weekly contributor to the Huffington Post.
She explains her prolific writing in an interview with terrain.org:
Just as abolitionist writing played a role in ending slavery, I believe environmental writing can play a role in ending unsustainable economic practices. Indeed, my son is named for the abolitionist writer Elijah Lovejoy.
In August of this year, she made headlines for her Pledge to Resist Fracking speech and op-ed given during a Don't Frack New York rally in Albany, NY.
See Steingraber speak on fracking here:
More on Sandra Steingraber
The Science is Clear: Hydraulic Fracturing is Putting the Lives of our Children at Risk
Book Review: The Future of Nature
New York Fracking Proposal Creates "Sacrifice Zones" in Poor Counties