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“In Whose Backyard?” Looks at Toxic Legacies Faced by Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian Communities

- 6:00pm
Saturday January 11 2014

Venue: Halifax Forum

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K'jipuktuk, Halifax—On the 11th of January, 2014, an unprecedented event will bring together members of the Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities to share their stories and experiences of living next to toxic industries.

In Whose Backyard? is an event organized by the ENRICH Project, a collaborative community-based project investigating the cause and effects of locally unwanted land uses, such as landfills, refineries, and mills. The Project team is comprised of community leaders and organizers, academic researchers, and an advisory group of non-profit organizations. ENRICH grew from recognition that research and advocacy-based efforts have been relatively siloed due, in part, to their effecting mostly remote communities in rural Nova Scotia.

Workshops were held last fall in four regions throughout the Province, including Lincolnville and Acadia First Nation, where researchers learned that while communities are isolated, their experiences are not. “If you look at … municipalities in Nova Scotia throughout the years, the practice has been [of] locating industrial waste sites next to African Nova Scotian communities, Native communities and poor White communities,” say James Desmond, a longtime resident of Lincolnville.

Sonia Isaac-Surette lives in the Yarmouth Reserve of Acadia First Nation, and is concerned about the increase in asthma and other health issues in her community. Isaac-Surette observes that the reserve was “built on a swamp…it’s just a matter of a landfill covered up. You can only cover up things for so long, [but] the health effects are still going to be there.”

The free event, hosted at the Halifax Forum from 12:00 pm until 6:00 pm on January 11th, will feature discussion, a video report of the regional workshops and a keynote panel. Organizers hope that In Whose Backyard? defines the way forward for a more collaborative approach to addressing this phenomenon in the Province.

According to Desmond, these are “communities that don’t have an economic base to fight back. You ask the question ‘is it environmental racism’?” reflects Desmond. “It’s environmental racism to the core.”


Contact: Ingrid Waldron at (902) 494-4267 
or waldroningrid@gmail.com

Website: http://www.enrichproject.org

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