Living Downstream  Walking Upstream

About the Movement

Cancer affects us all. Preventing cancer helps us all. You can be part of a growing environmental human rights movement to reduce our dependency on toxic and potentially carcinogenic chemicals. Whether you are an educator, an activist, a professional, or a concerned citizen, there is a role for you to play.


In the final moments of the film Living Downstream, Sandra speaks passionately about an emerging environmental human rights movement. This movement is one that recognizes the intimate connection between the health of our environment and the health of our bodies. It is a movement that is attracting people with different interests, occupations and skills—from scientists to factory workers, and from artists to students. Joining this movement means walking upstream, taking the steps to prevent cancer and other environmentally linked diseases. It means working to repair the environmental damage we have caused and working to divorce our economy of its dependency on toxic chemicals.

The environmental human rights movement also recognizes that the link between cancer and the environment is not simply one more environmental problem. The vast majority of synthetic chemicals are created from petroleum and coal. These are the same culprits in the environmental crisis we know as climate change. Sandra sees the issue of environmental health and the issue of climate change as two branches on the same tree. Working to drastically reduce our dependency on petroleum and coal will force us to reduce our dependency on synthetic chemicals too.  

When Sandra began her career as an environmental writer, the public had many questions about the scientific evidence. They were interested in becoming informed about the links between cancer and the environment. But over the years, Sandra has witnessed a gradual change her audience’s focus. They now feel much more informed about the issues, and they want to take action. Today Sandra is asked one question above all others: what can we do?

This is the question that has given rise to many social movements. For us, it marks the beginning of our individual and collective work to protect our health and the health of the environment. The answer will be different for each of us, depending on who we are. We all have a role to play in the environmental human rights movement. The purpose of this website and the other Living Downstream resources is to give you the tools to find your role.


Join the Movement

This website is designed to help you engage actively with the issue of environmental health. It is a repository for personal stories and experiences, professional resources and perspectives. The following are some ways that you can connect with and learn from others and take action:


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