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Turning the Tide against Fracking

Image by Barbara McPhail /

Love. It may sound corny, but it’s what drove Sandra Steingraber to spark an uprising against an industry focused on short-term economic gain at the expense of long-term environmental health. After winning the Heinz Award in 2011 for her longtime work studying and speaking out on the many ways chemical contamination harms human health, Steingraber, a biologist, writer, and cancer survivor, became a major voice in the nation’s antifracking movement when she turned over her $100,000 prize to the organization New Yorkers Against Fracking.Steingraber says she was inspired by the environmental activist Tim DeChristopher, whom she had supported as he was being sentenced to two years in prison for disrupting a federal auction of oil and gas leases in Utah. “This is what love looks like,” he had said at the time.“When I received the phone call a few days later that I had just won the award, it was with Tim’s words in my ears,” says Steingraber. Giving away the money “seemed like such an easy decision to make,” she recalls. “I don’t see it as charity. I see it as the best move I could make for my children, my co …

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Environmental HealthActivism

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