Friday, February 21, 2014

Place Matters

by Levy Schroeder, Executive Director

As I settle into my new place after relocating to North Carolina from Washington, D.C., I’m reflecting on the meaning and importance of “place”. Place is a tough thing to define; our perspectives are unique.

However differently we define “place”, I am impressed by the importance that it plays in our lives. Place shelters us, protects us, supports us and nourishes us. It anchors us to our values and influences our choices.

Place is part of our identity. Where we live has a tremendous impact on how we live: it can determine health, economic status, educational opportunity, access to resources and general well-being.

Place stretches beyond the confines of our homes. In this age of the global market, the entire world supplies us with food, fuel, clothing and technology. Place stretches across the globe and intensifies our dependence upon its resources. No place is isolated from another.

North Carolina is beautiful place. Mountains. Beaches. Shimmering lakes, and long rambling rivers. Rolling hills rich with agriculture that grows our nation’s food supply. Thriving urban areas with all the amenities any human could need. It’s a great place for families to provide a safe and healthy place for their children to live, grow, learn and play.

But for too many in this place called North Carolina, toxic chemicals and pesticides in our food, water and air degrade the quality of life we seek in this place we call home.

When one of us is made ill from exposure to dangerous, unhealthy pesticides, or one of us is excluded from the place where decisions are made about our health and safety, everyone in North Carolina suffers the consequences. This is a sad reality for this place, but we are here together because we believe this is not acceptable.

I came to Toxic Free North Carolina because I believe we can build a truly toxic-free community. I’m proud to inherit the 26-year legacy of this strong, bold organization and to lead us through the hard work ahead on the horizon.

We will work together to build upon the tireless efforts of the founders, board members and staff. We will put a premium on our sense of place, recognizing that our community is inextricably bound to our neighbors.

We will safeguard our communities by expanding our efforts to bring much needed reforms to regulation of pesticides and toxic chemicals, and we'll work to reduce our childrens’ risk of exposure where they learn and play. And we’ll keep finding ways to make work environments safer (especially for farmworkers), and to make safer, chemical-free food accessible to everyone.

It will be no easy task, and I have a hard act to follow, but I know we can do it together. I’ve got an energetic, passionate staff, board of directors, volunteers and supporters. And most importantly, I’ve got you. This is a great place to start.

Contact Levy: or (919) 348-9789

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