Last night I viewed a compelling documentary called Living Downstream.  It follows the American ecologist, poet and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber as she tours throughout North America educating people about the links between the environment, industry and health.  I found it was a great documentary because it was sensitive to the real issues that must be faced by individuals, industries and governments.  Steingraber presents complex information in a clear manner.  She talks about her firsthand experience in dealing with cancer, without becoming overly sentimental.  A line that has stuck with me from the film was when Steingraber talks about her mission, saying that she does not want to put a happy face on cancer.  She then calls cancer a “serial killer”. I think that her boldness is a tacit critique of the pink-ribbon hype seen almost everywhere. Steingraber doesn’t busy herself with conspiracy theories or finger-pointing.  At the same time she very clearly shows how we should not delude ourselves into “pink-washing” products, foods or cosmetics. She visits her cousin’s Illinois corn-farming community without pulling any “Michael Moore” punches.  She narrates her visit to a chemical industry city in the same state with a calm commentary on a scientifically-unsound survey of the population. As a whole, the documentary is a statement that reflects her real desire to use her scientific background and personal experience to make a real change in this world.  Be sure to check out her website.  It is full of important information and hope.

People from Breast Cancer Action Montreal were also at the event.  Are you looking to make a difference?  Breast Cancer Action Montreal is always looking for more members, so make sure to check out their website too.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

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