Senator John Heinz

RELATED NEWS

  • Mona Hanna-Attisha is interviewed by WESA public radio in Pittsburgh go >>
  • Rita Dove is profiled as one of TIME Firsts: Women Leaders Who Are Changing the World go >>
  • Hugh Herr is profiled in-depth by Outside Magazine go >>
  • The Los Angeles Times explores John Luther Adams’ new art installation at UC San Diego go >>
  • The New York Times Travel Section explores August Wilson's Pittsburgh go >>
  • Dean Kamen launches BioFabUSA to aggregate technologies for creating human tissue and organs go >>
  • John Harbison is profiled by the Wisconsin Gazette go >>
  • Janine Benyus and her work is profiled on the 20th anniversary of her book, “Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature” go >>
  • NPR explores the creation of Mason Bates' first opera, The (R)evolution Of Steve Jobs go >>
  • Herbert Needleman, 2nd Heinz Award recipient for the Environment, who exposed developmental dangers of lead exposure, dies at 89 go >>
  • John Luther Adams' music gets a five-day festival courtesy of SFJAZZ go >>
  • Hugh Herr and his work is profiled in a BBC News article on prosthetics go >>
  • Aaron Wolf is interviewed by The Texas Tribune go >>
  • 'Bending the Arc,' a documentary about Paul Farmer's organization, Partners In Health, is reviewed in Nature go >>
  • Gretchen Daily is 2017 recipient of the Asahi Blue Planet Prize go >>
  • Roz Chast is profiled in The Daily Beast go >>
  • August Wilson's 'Jitney' captures best play revival at 2017 Tony Awards go >>
  • Frederica Perera writes OpEd piece on prenatal environmental risks for The New York Times go >>
  • Bernice Johnson Reagon and Sweet Honey in the Rock is profiled by PBS' American Masters go >>
  • Herb Needleman and his pioneering work on lead poisoning is profiled by NOVA Next go >>
  • Rick Lowe is named as a 2017 Graham Foundation recipient go >>
  • John Luther Adams' work with bird song is explored by the New York TImes go >>
  • John Harbison is profiled on NPR's Nashville Symphony Broadcasts go >>
  • Freeman Hrabowski is profiled in The New York Times' Corner Office series go >>
  • Leila Janah is profiled in The New York Times' Corner Office series go >>
  • John Holdren speaks out on the need to defend the role of science go >>
  • Nancy Knowlton writes Op-Ed for Nature magazine on encouraging conservation through celebrating our successes go >>
  • Elizabeth Kolbert receives the 2017 Blake-Dodd Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters go >>
  • Dorothy Height is honored with a United States Black Heritage postage stamp go >>
  • Sanjeev Arora's Project ECHO receives $10 million grant for patients living in rural and underserved areas in the U.S. and Africa go >>
  • Millie Dresselhaus, pioneering scientist and 11th Heinz Award recipient for Technology and the Economy, dies at 86 go >>
  • The Austin Chronicle reviews Ann Hamilton’s latest iteration of O N E E V E R Y O N E at the University of Austin go >>
  • Leroy Hood is the 2017 recipient of National Academy of Sciences Award for Chemistry in Service to Society go >>
  • 'True South: Henry Hampton and "Eyes on the Prize"' is reviewed by The New York Times go >>
  • The New York Times reviews the new Broadway production of August Wilson's "Jitney" go >>
  • TIME publishes James Nachtwey's photographs showing The Philippine's brutal war on illegal drugs go >>
  • The New York Times' critics discuss the lasting power of August Wilson's plays go >>
  • James Hansen honored with the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Climate Change for his contributions to climate science go >>
  • Actors discuss being exposed to August Wilson's plays for The New York Times go >>
  • Nadine Burke Harris is one of The Huffington Post's "7 visionaries" for 2017 go >>
  • Sidney Drell, 11th Heinz Awards recipient for Public Policy and leading thinker on arms control, dies at 90 go >>
  • Dean Kamen to lead $294M effort to grow human organs on industrial scale go >>
  • Denzel Washington's film of August Wilson's "Fences" is reviewed by the New York Times go >>
  • Jane Lubchenco, as a 2016 Oregon History Maker medal recipient, is profiled by KGW in Portland go >>
  • U.S. Senate approves the ECHO Act to integrate Sanjeev Arora's Project ECHO across the country go >>
  • Civil rights leader Dorothy Height to be honored by the U.S. Post Office with a postage stamp go >>
  • Sanjeev Arora and Project ECHO are featured in the Harvard Business Review go >>
  • Robert Langer talks about his career as part of MIT's “Failures in Graduate School” series go >>
  • John Luther Adams' "Canticles of the Holy Wind" is reviewed by The New York Times go >>
  • Mark di Suvero's studio complex in Queens is profiled in the New York Times Style Magazine go >>
  • Richard Jackson discusses the built environment and the need to put people first on The Tavis Smiley show go >>
  • The Wall Street Journal talks to Roz Chast about living in Manhattan in her 20s go >>
  • The Guardian profiles the work of Robert Langer go >>
  • Wired writes about Dean Kamen speaking at the White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh go >>
  • Ann Hamilton's "habitus" is installed on Phildelphia's Pier 9 go >>
  • Nadine Burke Harris and her work is profiled by The Washington Post go >>
  • Joseph DeRisi interviewed by Chronicle of Higher Education about co-leading new Chan Zuckerberg Biohub go >>
  • Hugh Herr and his work are profiled by Strategy and Business magazine go >>
  • Matt Mullenweg is profiled by the Houston Chronicle go >>
  • Millie Dresselhaus and her career is profiled by Lehigh University go >>
  • Jacques d'Amboise profiled at 82 by The New York Observer go >>
  • Tom "Smitty" Smith to retire as director of the Texas office of Public Citizen go >>
  • Abraham Verghese receives 2015 National Humanities Medal go >>
  • Sangeeta Bhatia talks to Xconomy about role models and the need to invest in diversity go >>
  • Matt Mullenweg's company Automattic is profiled by Quartz magazine go >>
  • The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth acquires James Nachtwey's archives go >>
  • Cary Fowler discusses the Global Seed Vault on The Diane Rehm Show go >>
  • Cary Fowler talks to NPR about the Global Crop Diversity Trust's seed vault in Norway go >>
  • Rita Dove's poem "Testimonial" is evoked in a new mural in Charlottesville go >>
  • Chemical and Engineering News takes a look at the range of Robert Langer’s startups go >>
  • James Balog writes about the dangers of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in National Geographic go >>
  • Hugh Herr is profiled by ABC News' "Finding the Next" on his most recent work on exoskeletons go >>
  • Dave Eggers' new novel reviewed for The New York Times go >>
  • Janine Benyus to receive 2016 Feinstone Enviornmental Award go >>
  • Gretchen Daily's work at the Natural Capital Project is profiled in Smithsonian go >>
  • John Luther Adams creates soundscape for walk between the Metropolitan Museum of Art's two branches go >>
  • Rick Lowe joins the University of Houston's College of the Arts go >>
  • Kirk Smith interviewed about concerns regarding air pollution in Chile go >>
  • Sal Khan discusses the new in-house Khan lab school go >>
  • Science Friday revisits and updates a 1992 discussion that included Daniel Sperling on electric cars go >>
  • Freeman Hrabowski writes Op-Ed in The New York Times on how communities must support student success go >>
  • Frederica Perera argues that the benefits to children's health from a reduction in fossil fuel use are enormous go >>
  • Gretchen Daily reports on China's work on ecosystem assessment go >>
  • Richard Feely is interviewed by Refinery 29 on the impact of ocean acidification go >>
  • Sal Khan is interviewed by Business Insider about his work at Kahn Academy go >>
  • Ann Hamilton creates a 'loom performance' installation for China's Art Wuzhen Exhibition go >>
  • Roz Chast is interviewed on her work and New York City go >>
  • Robert Langer wins the 2016 European Inventor Award (In Non-European Countries) go >>
  • Roz Chast talks to The Wall Street Journal about growing up and where she lived go >>
  • Joseph DeRisi is elected to the National Academy of Sciences go >>

The Heinz Awards

1999

Lois Gibbs

Lois Gibbs shares the Heinz Award in the Environment for demonstrating the importance of citizen activists in protecting both the health of their communities and the environment as a whole.

In 1978, when the first discovery of toxic waste occurred, the residents of Love Canal, near Niagara Falls, New York, discovered that their homes and their children were being poisoned by industrial toxic waste dumped there decades before. After her own son became ill, Lois Gibbs, then a young housewife and a high school graduate, educated herself about toxic waste issues and, as head of her neighborhood association, became the spokesperson for the 1,000 families in Love Canal. Her mission was set. She addressed college classes, gave press conferences, and was eventually invited to testify before Congress. She acted to challenge the government at all levels to redress this environmental assault on her community and, thankfully for all of us, she succeeded.

The victory at Love Canal, and the attention brought to it by Lois Gibbs, awakened the nation to the hazards of chemicals in our environment. A message was sent that individuals can act against powerful industrial and governmental forces to protect themselves, their homes and their families. That message is still reverberating across the land.

Ms. Gibbs did not stop with her victory at Love Canal. In 1981, she established the Citizens Clearinghouse for Hazardous Wastes to provide the information and support needed to empower other communities to organize themselves to reduce and eliminate threats from toxic substances and other environmental ills. Her message was not "not in my backyard," but "not in anybody's backyard."

Ms. Gibbs and her organization continue to grow intellectually and in effectiveness. Now renamed the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, its mission has moved beyond toxic wastes to embrace a wide spectrum of environmental health issues, becoming the leading crusader for environmental equity in the nation. Working with a slender budget, she and the Center now provide information, training, and inspiration to more than 8,000 local groups throughout the United States.

Lois Gibbs has been at the heart of campaigns that have increased public awareness in unprecedented ways and led to major responses by public agencies and elected officials throughout the country. Her work has been critical to the passage and continuing success of the Superfund program in cleaning up hundreds of hazardous waste sites across the United States.

Love Canal was not the first toxic waste dump in America, but it did change the way society thinks about the disposal of such material. Likewise, much of the history of American environmentalism in the past 20 years reflects the leadership and genius of Lois Gibbs. The community participation and local empowerment she pioneered became part of later statues and regulatory policy. Her early writings on community involvement in environmental issues were the blueprint for a form of participation that is now commonplace.

At a time when local action is of increasing importance in the work to preserve public health and the natural world, Lois Gibbs continues to inspire and empower a growing number of Americans to help themselves, their communities, and the planet.

Note: This profile is excerpted from the commemorative brochure published at the time of the awards' presentation.


UPDATES SINCE RECEIVING THE HEINZ AWARD

December 2005 - Gibbs' Center for Health, Environment and Justice leads "a drive to eliminate packaging or products that use what it calls 'the poison plastic'"or polyvinyl chloride packaging. Recently major companies including Microsoft and Crabtree & Evelyn have agreed to phase out PVC packaging, attesting to the success of Gibbs' newest campaign. - Plastics News

March 2005 - Gibbs meets with officials from the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Canada to demand that they "test every child in the Belledune area for lead poisoning" after heavy metal contamination from a nearby smelter has caused serious health concerns. - The Canadian Press

March 2004 - As the federal government prepares to take Love Canal off the nation's Superfund list, Gibbs criticizes Congress for failing to reauthorize the corporate taxes that once helped pay for Love Canal and many other toxic cleanups. - The Oregonian

September 2003 - Gibbs' Center for Health, Environment and Justice is soon to become the new coordinator of the Environmental Health Alliance, a coalition that includes 160 organizations and which is formed around the Blueprint Ensuring our Safety and Economy (BESAFE) movement. This new direction comes during the 25th anniversary of Gibbs' original crusade at Love Canal. The new BESAFE movement is aimed at forcing the government to "heed early warnings about hazardous materials, put safety first, utilize a democratic decision-making process, and choose the safest solution." - E Magazine

January 2002 - Gibbs, along with the Child Proofing Our Communities Campaign, conducts a study that concludes that there are staggering numbers of schools being built on or around toxic sites. The study also "notes there has been a sharp increase in the number of children afflicted with asthma, cancer, diminished IQs and learning disabilities", thus indicating that the situation could potentially be grave and needs to be addressed. - The Washington Post

March 2000 - Gibbs joins protesting residents in South Buffalo "during a 'toxic tour.'" The protestors and Gibbs were demanding that the city take action against the "large deposits of cancer-causing coke wastes" in the area. - Buffalo News

December 1999 - The agency responsible for the clean up of Gibbs Love Canal, the Love Canal Revitalization Agency, is officially relieved of its burden as it has successfully "restored and sold 239 homes." While "Love Canal lives on" as an example about the seriousness of toxic waste, "the agency's job is done" and it will be closed shortly. - Buffalo News

February 1999 - Gibbs is one of six women to be inducted into the Western New York Women's Hall of Fame. Gibbs is being recognized for her tireless work with Love Canal, "a campaign that led to the relocation of families from the chemically contaminated site in Niagara Falls and drew national attention to toxic waste sites." - Buffalo News

January 1999 - Gibbs receives the John W. Gardner Leadership Award for her selfless work at Love Canal and more recently at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. - Independent Sector

Lois Gibbs