From Lincoln County Community Rights
Longtime Lincoln County Resident and Activist to Receive International Lifetime Achievement Award
Five Rivers Valley resident Carol Van Strum, author of “A Bitter Fog”, “No Margin of Safety”, “The Politics of Penta”, and “The Oreo File”, is being awarded this year’s international David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition for her outstanding environmental and social justice work.
The award ceremony is being held 6-6:30pm on Thursday, March 1st, in the ballroom of the ERB Memorial Union building on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene.
The international David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by co-directors of the 36th annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, honors David Brower, one of the founders of the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and the Earth Island Institute. The award is presented to activists, community members, and attorneys who exemplify David Brower’s spirit and the spirit of environmental awareness he sought to awaken in people.
Carol Van Strum’s achievements include leading the fight to stop the spraying of Agent Orange and other herbicides in the Five Rivers Valley of Lincoln County in the 1970-80’s, which she wrote about in her book “A Bitter Fog”. This fight put Lincoln County and Oregon on the map after a successful lawsuit against the U.S. government which was forced to stop aerial pesticide spraying on federal forests.
The ban led to selective harvesting of trees without the need for herbicides thereby enabling diverse, much healthier and resilient forests that produces lumber while protecting the many animal species that depend on it. Carol’s book “A Bitter Fog” tells the tragic stories of families affected by aerial spraying in the Five Rivers area, including Carol’s own children, and exposes the fraudulent studies and corruption that allow continued use of poisons on state and private lands nationwide.
For over 40 years Carol accumulated literally tons of documented evidence of fraudulent studies and false data used by the chemical industry and government regulators to approve poisonous products used for industrial logging. These documents have now been scanned and digitalized with the help of publisher Peter von Stackelberg and are available to the public worldwide under the title of “Poison Papers.” Carol has also been fighting the U.S. Navy’s continuing attempts to weaponize our coastal waters and take over our national forests and other public lands for weapons testing and war games.
In 2017, Carol joined the efforts of Lincoln County Community Rights, a chapter of the Oregon Community Rights Network, to defend the first-in-the-nation voter-approved, county-wide ban on aerial pesticide spraying to protect people and our forests from aerial-sprayed poisons. A lawsuit to overturn the people’s vote has been brought by representatives of the timber industry, who claim a legal right to spray those poisons for profit over the right of people and ecosystems to protect life, health, and safety.
In this as yet unresolved lawsuit Carol is speaking up for the legal rights of the Siletz River ecosystem as well as all other Lincoln County ecosystems suffering from the harm caused by aerial pesticide spraying. Debra Fant, a member of Lincoln County Community Rights says of Carol, “We honor her for her endurance, good heart, and will to defend the truth no matter the cost. Carol is a very worthy recipient of the David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award!”
In 2016 Jericho Hill published Carol Van Strum’s novel, “The Oreo File,” a mystery for readers young and old who feel the sorrow of our age for all creatures and ecosystems that are now rapidly disappearing or are gone forever.