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PSR Austin: 2008 Updates

2008 Updates

April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
September 2008
November 2008
December 2008

 

Austin PSR April Update

FREE PREVIEW SCREENING OF “UNNATURAL CAUSES” April 9th

What’s happening to our health?  UNNATURAL CAUSES sounds the alarm about America’s glaring socio-economic and racial inequities in health and searches for root causes.  It sifts through the evidence to discover there is much more to our health than bad habits, health care, or unlucky genes.  The social conditions in which we are born, live and work, profoundly affect our health and longevity.

UNNATURAL CAUSES, a PBS series coming to KLRU-TV, Austin PBS on Fridays, April 11 and 18, 9 - 11 pm.

What's happening to our health? While we pour more and more money into
drugs, dietary supplements and new medical technologies, this
ground-breaking documentary series crisscrosses the country to
investigate the findings that are shaking up conventional understandings
of what really makes us healthy-or sick.

UNNATURAL CAUSES sheds light on mounting evidence that demonstrates how
work, wealth, neighborhood conditions and lack of access to power and
resources can actually get under the skin and disrupt human biology as
surely as germs and viruses. But it's not just the poor who are sick-so
are the middle classes. At each descending rung of the socio-economic
ladder, people tend to be sicker and die sooner. What's more, at every
level, many communities of color are worse off than their white
counterparts. Compelling personal stories-spanning the
country-demonstrate how social conditions are as vital to our health as
diet, smoking and exercise. As Harvard epidemiologist David Williams
points out, investing in our schools, improving housing, integrating
neighborhoods, better jobs and wages, giving people more control over
their work, these are as much health strategies as smoking diet and
exercise. And these are the stories that UNNATURAL CAUSES tells.

Go to http://www.pbs.org/unnaturalcauses/ for a preview and for more information about this series.

The Preview Screening is Wednesday April 9th at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center - Boyd Vance Theatre at 1165 Angelina. 

Light refreshments will be served at 6:00 and the film will be 6:30 to 8:30 followed by a panel discussion.  Panelists include Eduardo Sanchez (former HHSC Commissioner), Shannon Jones (Texas Dept. of Health), Chiquita Collins (Univ. of Texas) and Austin PSR member Melissa Smith.

HEALTHY CHILD/HEALTHY WORLD BENEFIT CONCERT APRIL 19TH

Healthy Child Healthy World invites you to attend an evening of fun, entertainment and education dedicated to creating healthy environments where children and families can flourish.

They are hosting a benefit concert featuring Grammy Award Winner Rodney Crowell & Beth Nelson Chapman, Sunday , April 19th 6:30 to 10:00

See Attachment for more information.

ACTION ITEMS FROM NATIONAL PSR

Despite the urgent need to begin reducing global warming pollution, energy companies are seeking to build a fleet of new coal-fired power plants around the U.S. Continued construction of new coal-fired power plants without carbon capture and control technology will gravely diminish, if not eliminate, the possibility of averting the worst impacts of global warming. A single coal plant will produce hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide over a 50-year average life-span.
Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA) have introduced legislation that would slow this dangerous nationwide “coal rush.” The Moratorium on Uncontrolled Power Plants Act of 2008 (H.R. 5575) would require new coal-fired electric generating units to install state-of-the-art technology to capture and permanently sequester carbon dioxide emissions.
Tell your Representative to protect our health and our climate by supporting H.R. 5575.

http://action.psr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Learn_More_Coal_Moratorium&autologin=true

PSR is pleased to partner with the Council for a Livable World in opposing a permanent troop presence in Iraq. Dr. Evan Kanter and other PSR doctors have been outspoken in their concerns for Iraq war veterans, the long-term costs of the war and veteran's care, and the need to bring our troops home.

When the Bush Administration launched its attack on Iraq in 2003, it assured the American public that the war would be quick, cheap and easy.

Wrong on all three counts.

Now, over five years into this disastrous war, President Bush, his Republican allies and Iraqi officials are talking about occupying Iraq for another decade — or even longer.

Click on the following link to add you voice to those opposing a permanent U.S. presence in Iraq.

http://www.clw.org/action/petitions/no_permanent_presence_032808

PSR speaks out about coal lobbying ads and nuclear weapons.

http://action.psr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Coal_ads

http://action.psr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=New_nukes_plan

WASHINGTON STATE PASSES GLOBAL WARMING BILL

Limits on Global Warming Pollution Now
the Law in Washington State:
Washington State Legislature Passes Historic
Climate Action measure

OLYMPIA - Today, the Washington State Senate passed a historic climate action bill that joins
Washington with California and New Jersey in placing limits on greenhouse gas reductions and
begins the process to enact a cap-and-trade framework to reduce state emissions by at least 70% over the next 40 years.

 “This bill puts Washington at the forefront of addressing global warming and will ensure
Washington state plays a prominent role in shaping the national climate debate as the Bush
administration moves on and a new president takes office,” noted Environment Washington
Program Director, Bill LaBorde.

“The Sierra Club applauds the Governor's leadership at following through on the Climate
Advisory Team's recommendations,” said Trevor Kaul, Sierra Club Cascade Chapter Director.
“Our state is setting the standard for investments in clean energy, green jobs and healthy
communities. By setting firm goals for greenhouse gas reductions and vehicle miles traveled, we
can meet the challenge of climate change while ensuring a stronger economy and a healthier
environment for our communities.”

This bill was supported by Environment Washington, the Sierra Club Cascade Chapter and the
Washington Blue-Green Action Alliance.

TERRAPASS

Looking for a way to offset you carbon footprint when you travel?  Check out Terrapass.
http://www.terrapass.com/

NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Austin PSR has hired Craig Tounget, CAE as the new Executive Director of the chapter.  Craig has a long history of association management and political involvement.  He is very excited about the challenges facing him in helping Austin PSR fulfill its goals.  Craig’s email address is ctounget@austin.rr.com

STRATEGIC PLANNING RETREAT

April 27th the Austin PSR Board will meet to develop a strategic plan for the organization.  They will be focusing on the mission, the goals and the strategies to reach our full potential and an organization that makes a difference in our community and in our world.

 

May Austin PSR Update

BOARD STRATEGIC PLANNING MEETING

On Sunday April 27th the Austin PSR Board of Directors met in the home of Dr. Kim Carter for a strategic planning session.  The meeting, directed by facilitator Lynda Baker, sought to identify the needs of the Austin Chapter and the steps that need to be taken to reach those goals.

The Board determined three pressing issues upon which they believe the Austin PSR Chapter should concentrate.  Access to Health Care, Social Justice Issues (including Health and Economic Disparities) and Environmental Issues (Global Warming, Clean Water, Mercury, etc.)

 Task Forces have been developed to help Austin PSR become more involved in the work currently being done on these issues and to more effectively use the expertise that the Austin PSR Chapter has to educate the public about the health effects of not solving these problems.  One Task Force is going to concentrate on getting Austin PSR more involved in coalitions of similar interest.  Austin PSR will be contacting groups and expressing out interest in working with them and offering the expertise of our healthcare professionals.  Another Task Force will be seeking to make Austin PSR more well-known by drafting op-eds and letters to the editors, establishing a Speaker’s Bureau to get physicians speaking about health issues caused by climate change, social inequities, etc.  They will also be seeking to have more PSR related events for both members and for the public.  The final Task Force will concentrate on ensuring that Austin PSR is creating sustainability for itself, both financially and with a strong membership base.

Please contact Austin PSR Executive Director Craig Tounget if you would like to become more involved on any of these issues.
ctounget@austin.rr.com

PSR DALLAS CHAPTER????

August 5th & 6TH National PSR President Erica Frank, MD, MPH will be in Dallas to speak at the Dallas Peace Center.  During that visit, and leading up to it, Austin PSR and National PSR are going to work with people in the Metroplex area to try to interest them in reforming a Dallas PSR.  If you know of colleagues in the DFW area who might be interested in PSR please forward their name and contact information to Craig Tounget at ctounget@autin.rr.com.

CANDIDATE TRAINING

June 5th the Texas Environmental Democrats are offering a training session for candidates for the State Legislature and for Congress.  The goal is to educate candidates about environmental issues and how those issues can be used effectively in their campaigns.  Austin PSR has been asked to join such groups as the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, the SEED Coalition and the Texas League of Conservation Voters in educating these candidates about issues that can raise the level of discussion and bring environmentally conscious voters to the polls in November.  This is an excellent opportunity for Austin PSR to raise our profile.

Medicaid On the Chopping Block, from Families USA

The Administration proposed rule changes that would cut Medicaid funding at a time when people need it most. But the House of Representatives recently overcame partisan politics to vote against the Medicaid cuts. Thanks to your grassroots efforts, the House bill passed with a veto-proof margin.

The Administration is working hard to prevent that from happening in the Senate.

Tell your Senators to preserve Medicaid and oppose harmful regulations. Send an email or call them directly at 1-800-828-0498.

Click here to take action online. http://ga3.org/campaign/badmedicine_email

The President has already threatened to veto this legislation. If he has his way, a number of critical services will be lost, including rehabilitation services, school-based transportation, and administrative services.

IRANIAN PHYSICIANS TO SPEAK ON U.S. TOUR

Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran have been working to educate the public and our legislators with PSR’s report entitled War is Not the Answer: The Medical and Public Health Consequences of Attacking Iran and CASMII’s excellent position papers and media monitoring.  We have been working in coalitions to counter the media rhetoric with well placed ads and opinion pieces as well advocating for negotiations and diplomacy which is the policy supported by many experts, the military and is included in the Iraq Policy Study Group. 

Two Iranian physicians have just been granted visas to tour the United States along with two chemical weapons survivors.  Drs. Khateri and Soroush are lead researchers in the long term health and environmental effects of chemical weapons in Tehran and co-founds of the Society for Chemical Weapons Victim Support, a society dedicated to establishing medical, social, legal, and cultural support for more than 50,000 Iranian gas attack survivors from the Iraq-Iran War.

Talks and a public exhibit outlining the health effects of chemical weapons and of war and sanctions will tour medical institutions in Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, and Los Angeles along with several other locations.  We are planning substantial public and media outreach by PSR physicians and CASMII leaders.  The objective of this work is to humanize the potential victims of war and speak for them with a medical voice in order to ensure that the dangers to life and health are taken into account in our national debate over policy with Iran. 

GOOD NEWS IN CONNECTICUT

Connecticut has passed legislation requiring drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in their state joining California, Hawaii, New Jersey and Washington state in efforts by the state to regulate greenhouse gases linked to global warming.
State Senate Approves Global Warming Bill
www.courant.com/news/custom/topnews/hcu-globalwarming-0505,0,1799677.story

Texas health, environmental groups will unveil asthma-fighting plan
http://www.texasasthma.org/attachments/wysiwyg/1/TexasAsthmaPlan2007.pdf

Health and environmental groups are jointly working on asthma issue, both treatment and underlying causes.  A new strategic plan for Texas has been released in effort to fight asthma.

Upcoming Events

June 5th   Texas Environmental Democrats Candidate Training

June 8th Austin PSR Board Meeting

August 6th Erica Frank at the Dallas Peace Center

 

Austin PSR June Update

SUPPORT MAYOR WYNN’S EFFORTS TO REQUIRE ENERGY AUDITS FOR HOMESELLERS

With energy use in buildings responsible for 43% of America's carbon dioxide pollution, our workplaces and homes are our nation's biggest global warming polluters.

A city of Austin task force is currently considering a plan to require homesellers to get an energy audit and provide that information to prospective home buyers. People would be encouraged to voluntarily participate in a program for basic efficiency upgrades, like weather stripping and duct sealing, if a house needs it. These energy strategies would significantly reduce global warming pollution and save consumers money on their electric bills.

Unfortunately, a group of realtors, concerned that efficiency upgrades might lead to delays that cut in to their profits, have launched a campaign to stop this critical program.
 
Please sign Environment Texas’s petition calling on the Austin City Council to support a strong "point-of-sale" ordinance to improve energy efficiency:
http://environmenttexas.org/action/clean-energy/austin-buildings/petition?id4=ES

EYES WIDE OPEN

Austin PSR is co-sponsoring an important event in September to increase awareness about the consequences of the war in Iraq.  We are helping to bring a display of the boots of Texans who have died in Iraq to Auditorium Shores on September 13th & 14th.  It will be a time to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice while bringing attention to the heavy price the families of our soldiers are paying.  Let us know if you are interested in getting more involved. For more info on previous exhibits, go to www.afsc.org/eyes/about-the-exhibit.htm

BID WITH YOUR LID AND SUPPORT PSR

Each year through its Profits for the Planet Program, organic yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm donates 10% of its profits to efforts that help protect and restore the earth.  In 2008, Stonyfield Farm has chosen to donate funds to PSR and two other environmental groups through a special consumer promotion on its yogurt cup lids. Stonyfield  Farm will give each group $20,000 and  print a promotional message on 20 million yogurt lids, asking consumers to “Bid with their Lids.” Each of the organizations will receive a percentage of $40,000 equal to the percentage of votes they receive.
 
Please cast your vote(s) to support PSR. This summer, log onto http://www.psr.com/  and  enter 1 vote and/or collect the limited edition lids and cast multiple votes by mailing the lids to Stonyfield Farm (each lid equals 1 vote for PSR).When you Bid with Your Lid, you will help support PSR. No purchase necessary.

CONGRESSIONAL NEWS

Both the Global Warming bill for the reduction of carbon emission and the Energy Bill which would have instituted a “windfall profits” tax on oil companies were stalled in the U.S. Senate in the past couple of weeks. See http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25002970/  and
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/11/business/11congweb.html?hp for more.

However, Austin’s own Congressman Lloyd Doggett announced his own new bill to combat global warming, the “Climate MATTERS Act,” Monday morning at City Hall.  This bill would establish a cap-and-trade system to limit greenhouse gas pollution and would promote green technologies without the significant give-aways to polluters seen in many previous proposals.  Look for press coverage of the announcement this week. 

PHYSICIANS FOR A NATIONAL HEALTH PLAN

For those of you who would be interested, Physicians for a National Health Plan are collecting signatures of physicians in support of a single payer health plan to send to the presidential candidates.  You can learn more about it at:
https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/307/t/5720/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=3304

BOARD MEETING

The Austin PSR Board of Directors met June 8th.  The major topic of discussion was efforts to reach out to the community more through a series of talks that will be developed on our core issues.  The Board is seeking to become more proactive in reaching out to others to discuss our concerns.  They also voted to co-sponsor the Eyes Wide Open event in September.  The next Board meeting was set for August 24th.  If you want to get more involved in Austin PSR, attending a Board meeting is a great way to do so. Let us know if you’d like to participate.

PSR DALLAS CHAPTER????

An initial meeting of National PSR members who might be interested in forming a Dallas Chapter is scheduled for July 2nd at the Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas, 5:30pm  - 7:30pm.

August 5th & 6TH National PSR President Erica Frank, MD, MPH will be in Dallas to speak at the Dallas Peace Center.  During that visit, and leading up to it, Austin PSR and National PSR are going to work with people in the Metroplex area to try to interest them in re-forming a Dallas PSR.  If you know of colleagues in the DFW area who might be interested in PSR please forward their name and contact information to Craig Tounget at ctounget@autin.rr.com.

CANDIDATE TRAINING

June 5th the Texas Environmental Democrats offered a training session for candidates for the State Legislature and for Congress.  The goal was to educate candidates about environmental issues and how those issues can be used effectively in their campaigns.  Over twenty candidates, or their staff members, for the legislature attended.  Austin PSR was represented by Trish O’Day, R.N. who spoke to them about the health effects of environmental pollution.

Upcoming Events

July 2nd Initial Meeting of possible Dallas PSR Chapter - Scottish Rite Hospital - Dallas

August 6th Erica Frank - Dallas Peace Center - Dallas

August 24th Austin PSR Board Meeting - Austin

September 13th-14th Eyes Wide Open - Auditorium Shores - Austin

October 30th-31st Children’s Environmental Health Conference - Barr Mansion - Austin (more info will be included in future updates)

 


Austin PSR July Update

Health System Scorecard Finds No Improvement

The Commonwealth Fund has released a follow-up study to its 2006 scorecard which showed that the U.S. was falling far short for benchmarks in areas such as access, quality, efficiency and other key measures of the health care system.  The 2008 study finds the situation to have gotten worse.  The U.S. now scores only a 65 of a possible 100 across the 37 indicators used in the study, a worse rating than in 2006.

Read the report and review data highlights in a Web feature. Also see a New York Times article on study.

Iran Tests Missiles: What Will Be the US’s Response?

Tensions are escalating as Iran test-fired missiles earlier this month, reportedly with range that could deliver a nuclear warhead as far as Israel.  Congress is considering action that would further isolate Iran from the international community.  Any action in the Persian Gulf area could certainly disrupt the flow of oil and greatly increase the cost of gas.  PSR believes diplomacy can and will work if the Bush administration would take steps to engage the Iranian government. For more info and to take action, go to: http://action.psr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=LearnMore_OpposeSanctions&autologin=true&JServSessionIdr009=d3p2wsxog7.app7b

EPA & Global Warming

In an important change of course, the EPA now acknowledges human health threat from global warming: 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/17/AR2008071701557.html?hpid=moreheadlines

U.S. Mayor’s Conference Endorses Single Payer

HCFAT News:  The U.S. Mayors Conference recently endorsed HR 676 which is a Single Payer approach similar to an expanded Medicare for All.  Earlier this year, the American College of Physicians endorsed Single Payer also. To find out more about Single Payer, you’re invited to Healthcare for all Texas' monthly meetings the last Monday of the month, 6 pm, at Carver Library. For more information, go to http://www.hcfat.org/.

Trish O’Day, R.N.  Elected to Austin PSR Board of Directors

Please join us in welcoming Trish O’Day, R.N. to the Austin PSR Board of Directors. Trish is a faculty member in Public Health Nursing at the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. She has been a registered nurse for over 20 years and has worked in public health, health policy, health care administration, managed care and maternal and child health nursing.  Her clinical practice includes health care consultant services for HMOs, government agencies and universities.  She has already become an active member of Austin PSR, speaking on our behalf at a briefing for legislative officials and candidates on environmental issues and publishing a recent letter-to-the-editor on health care access in the Austin American Statesman.

Austin PSR Invited to Join TCEQ Advisory Group on Mercury-Impaired Waters

Austin PSR is becoming recognized as an important participant in environmental discussions at the state level.  The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has asked Austin PSR to serve on an advisory group on mercury impaired waters.  This group is to advise the commission on how to deal with surface water that has been compromised by mercury. 

Bid With Your Lid and Support PSR

Each year through its Profits for the Planet Program, organic yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm donates 10% of its profits to efforts that help protect and restore the earth.  In 2008, Stonyfield Farm has chosen to donate funds to PSR and two other environmental groups through a special consumer promotion on its yogurt cup lids. Stonyfield Farm will give each group $20,000 and print a promotional message on 20 million yogurt lids, asking consumers to “Bid with their Lids.” Each of the organizations will receive a percentage of $40,000 equal to the percentage of votes they receive. Votes as of June 30th were PSR 1584, Ocean Conservancy 2033, and Worldwatch Institute 747
 
Please cast your vote(s) to support PSR. This summer, log onto http://www.psr.com/  and  enter 1 vote and/or collect the limited edition lids and cast multiple votes by mailing the lids to Stonyfield Farm (each lid equals 1 vote for PSR).When you Bid with Your Lid, you will help support PSR.

No purchase necessary.  Deadline August 31st.

Support Mayor Wynn’s Efforts to Require Energy Audits for Homesellers

With energy use in buildings responsible for 43% of America's carbon dioxide pollution, our workplaces and homes are our nation's biggest global warming polluters. A city of Austin task force is currently considering a plan to require homesellers to get an energy audit and provide that information to prospective home buyers. People would be encouraged to voluntarily participate in a program for basic efficiency upgrades, like weather stripping and duct sealing, if a house needs it. These energy strategies would significantly reduce global warming pollution and save consumers money on their electric bills.

Unfortunately, a group of realtors, concerned that efficiency upgrades might lead to delays that cut in to their profits, have launched a campaign to stop this critical program.  Please sign Environment Texas’s petition calling on the Austin City Council to support a strong "point-of-sale" ordinance to improve energy efficiency:
http://environmenttexas.org/action/clean-energy/austin-buildings/petition?id4=ES

Eyes Wide Open

Austin PSR is co-sponsoring an important event in September to increase awareness about the consequences of the war in Iraq.  We are helping to bring a display of boots representing Texans who have died in Iraq to Auditorium Shores on September 12-14.  It will be a time to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice while bringing attention to the heavy price the families of our soldiers are paying.  Let us know if you are interested in getting more involved. For more info on previous exhibits, go to www.afsc.org/eyes/about-the-exhibit.htm

Upcoming Events

August 6th PSR President, Dr. Erica Frank to speak at Dallas Peace Center - Dallas

August 24th Austin PSR Board Meeting - Lisa and Don’s house - Austin (let us know if you’d like to attend and/or need directions)

September 12th-14th Eyes Wide Open - Auditorium Shores - Austin

October 30th-31st Children’s Environmental Health Conference - Barr Mansion - Austin (more info will be included in future updates)

 


Austin PSR September Update

Eyes Wide Open

Austin PSR is co-sponsoring an important event in September to increase awareness about the consequences of the war in Iraq.  We are helping to bring a display of boots representing Texans who have died in Iraq to Auditorium Shores on September 12-14.  It will be a time to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice while bringing attention to the heavy price the families of our soldiers are paying.  Let us know if you are interested in getting more involved. For more info on previous exhibits, go to www.afsc.org/eyes/about-the-exhibit.htm  

They really need lots of volunteers if you are interested in helping.

National Call-in Day for Clean Energy

The House of Representatives will consider a comprehensive energy package the week of September 8th.  Join PSR by calling your representative on Tuesday, September 9, and telling him/her you support a clean energy future. As the Congress debates energy choices in September it should keep in mind that clean, renewable sources of energy can be generated domestically and emit no toxic pollutants, helping to reduce the threat to Americans’ health that fossil fuels create. The energy bill being offered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will: increase our use of renewable energy from sources like wind and solar, promote energy efficiency, and promote transportation alternatives.
 
Please call your Congressional representative on Tuesday, September 9th.  Ask them to vote YES on the Clean Energy Bill.

Congressman Lamar Smith   (202) 225-4236
Congressman Lloyd Doggett   (202) 225-4865
Congressman Mike McCaul   (202) 225-2401

http://action.psr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Clean_Energy_Bill&JServSessionIdr012=ecwa3v71k2.app7b


Dallas Event with National PSR President, Erica Frank, M.D.

On August 5th and 6th Erica Frank, M.D., the president of National PSR was in Dallas at the invitation of the Dallas Peace Center.  She was the guest speaker at their Summer Lecture Series Dinner.  She spoke about the work of PSR in both the area of security and environmental issues.  About 150 people attended the dinner and her message was very well received.  While she was there she also appeared on an hour long radio show on the NPR affiliate in Dallas to talk about the mission of PSR.  Additionally she was able to speak to a large group at the UT Medical School, both students and faculty.  About forty people signed up expressing interest in PSR and an individual has stepped to do the groundwork to help form a Dallas PSR chapter.

Code Black Campaign

National PSR has launched their campaign Code Black: Coal’s Assault on America’s Health.  They have created mailings, T-shirts, billboards and advertising to raise the awareness of the adverse health effects that building more coal-fired power plants will create.  There is some great information on their website at http://action.psr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Code_Black and a slide show that can be accessed at http://action.psr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=spsr_current_events

Children’s Environmental Health Conference October 30-31.

The Childern’s Environmental Health Institute’s Fifth Biennial Scientific Symposium: Blueprint for Children’s Health and the Built Environment is scheduled for October 30th and 31st at the Barr Mansion here in Austin.  Austin PSR is a co-sponsor of the event.  The symposium will look at the role buildings that children spend their time in play in their overall health.  There will be a panel discussion how physicians can make their own practice “greener” and a tour of the Dell Children’s Medical Center to show the positive impact a hospital can make.

Support Mayor Wynn’s Efforts to Require Energy Audits for Homesellers

With energy use in buildings responsible for 43% of America's carbon dioxide pollution, our workplaces and homes are our nation's biggest global warming polluters. A city of Austin task force is currently considering a plan to require homesellers to get an energy audit and provide that information to prospective home buyers. People would be encouraged to voluntarily participate in a program for basic efficiency upgrades, like weather stripping and duct sealing, if a house needs it. These energy strategies would significantly reduce global warming pollution and save consumers money on their electric bills.

Unfortunately, a group of realtors, concerned that efficiency upgrades might lead to delays that cut in to their profits, have launched a campaign to stop this critical program.  Please sign Environment Texas’s petition calling on the Austin City Council to support a strong "point-of-sale" ordinance to improve energy efficiency:
http://environmenttexas.org/action/clean-energy/austin-buildings/petition?id4=ES

City of Austin Backs “Single Payer” Health Plan

In early August the City of Austin joined at least 24 other cities across the country and passed a resolution endorsing the U.S. National Health Insurance Act, H.R. 676, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and 91 other members of Congress.  Bill Holloway, an activist with Health Care for All Texas who helped promote the Austin resolution, said: "This vote is a major victory for those who want to see a more just, rational and compassionate health care system in our state and nation. The resolution makes it clear that managed care and other private insurance company schemes have been miserable failures when it comes to providing care or containing costs.” To learn more visit http://www.pnhp.org/.

Upcoming Events

September 12th-14th Eyes Wide Open - Auditorium Shores - Austin

October 5th, 3:00-5:00 - Next Austin PSR Board meeting, Lisa & Don’s house (non-Board
            members welcome)

October 30th-31st Children’s Environmental Health Conference - Barr Mansion - Austin

 

Austin PSR November Update

PSR on “The Today Show”

Greater Boston PSR’s report “Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging” was featured on the Today Show on October 23rd.  This is an excellent report on what affects us as we age.  The spot is about five minutes long and it can be seen here: 

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/18424824#27336587

Tell EPA:  No Perchlorate in Drinking Water

EPA Ups “Safe” Level of Rocket Fuel in Tap Water -- Tell Them What You Think!

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has formally refused to set a drinking-water standard for perchlorate, a chemical in rocket fuel that has been linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women, newborns and young children, and is asking for public comment on the issue. The maximum safe level for perchlorate in drinking water is now 15 times higher than what the EPA declared safe in 2002.  Under this new standard, more than 16 million Americans are exposed to unsafe levels of perchlorate in their drinking water, and independent analysis shows anywhere from 20 to 40 million Americans at risk.  Perchlorate has been found in the drinking water in 35 states in the U.S.
 
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has endorsed legislation requiring the EPA to set a federal standard for perchlorate and to monitor levels of the chemical in tap water.

Tell the EPA to regulate perchlorate in drinking water:
1. Follow this link: EPA's perchlorate docket http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocumentDetail&o=0900006480743ac9
2. Click on the yellow icon next to “Post Comment”
3. Tell the EPA that you think this decision is harmful to public health!

Local Activities

Trish O’Day, RN, represented PSR at a briefing on environmental issues for legislative staff hosted by Sen. Gallegos’ office.

Don Williams, MD, served on a panel to discuss the health effects of coal plants after a screening of the documentary “Fighting Goliath: The Texas Coal Wars” on the University of Texas campus.

Austin PSR was a co-sponsor for the Children’s Environmental Health Institute Conference.  Kristen Welker-Hood, Director of Environmental and Health Programs for National PSR was a presenter. Other Austin PSR Board members attended the conference.

Elliot Trester, MD, represented Austin PSR at a press conference, along with the SEED Coalition, the Sierra Club and Public Citizen opposing new nuclear power plants in Texas.

Making Race, Making Health: Historical Approaches to Race, Medicine and Public Health

November 13th 15th, Thompson Conference Center, University of Texas

Conference on the quality of life and health care and how the distribution of health care has shape the ideologies and institutions that shape racial inequality.
https://webspace.utexas.edu/jm3832/mrmhut/Welcome.html

Code Black Campaign

National PSR has launched their campaign Code Black: Coal’s Assault on America’s Health.  They have created mailings, T-shirts, billboards and advertising to raise the awareness of the adverse health effects that building more coal-fired power plants will create.  There is some great information on their website at http://action.psr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Code_Black and a slide show that can be accessed at http://action.psr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=spsr_current_events

2008 Austin Benefit for RESULTS

Monday December 1st  7:00 9:00 pm.  First United Methodist Church Schmidt-Jones Family Life Center 1300 Lavaca Street.    Please RSVP to Eloise Sutherland at nanawese@suddenlink.net

RESULTS is a nonprofit grassroots advocacy organization committed to creating the political will to end hunger and the worst aspects of poverty. RESULTS is committed to individuals exercising their personal and political power by lobbying elected officials for effective solutions and key policies that affect hunger and poverty. 

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Bobby John is the President of Global Health Advocates. http://www.ghadvocates.org/ Global Health Advocates is a global nonprofit organization that has been established to catalyze the emergence of a social movement against AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases of poverty. 

Seeds of Hope Recipient:  Dr. Charles Wallace MPH, PhD has worked with disenfranchised populations for over 30 years concerning infectious disease epidemiology, including HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis.  He is the Manager of the Infectious Disease Intervention and Control http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/ Branch of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Support Mayor Wynn’s Efforts to Require Energy Audits for Homesellers

With energy use in buildings responsible for 43% of America's carbon dioxide pollution, our workplaces and homes are our nation's biggest global warming polluters. A city of Austin task force is currently considering a plan to require homesellers to get an energy audit and provide that information to prospective home buyers. People would be encouraged to voluntarily participate in a program for basic efficiency upgrades, like weather stripping and duct sealing, if a house needs it. These energy strategies would significantly reduce global warming pollution and save consumers money on their electric bills.  Austin PSR Board members have been meeting with staff at Mayor Wynn’s office to discuss ways to strength the proposed ordinance and offer our support.  Please let us know if you’d like to help out.

Upcoming Events

November 13-15, Making Health, Making Race Conference, Thompson Conference Center, University of Texas

December 1, 7:00 9:00, RESULTS Benefit, First United Methodist Church

December 7, 3:00-5:00, PSR Board Meeting, Don and Lisa’s house

December 15, 5:00-7:00, PSR Holiday Party at Don and Lisa’s house (Evite to be sent in a few weeks kids are welcome!)

January 13th Texas Legislative Session Begins

 

Austin PSR December Update

SPSR Webinar: Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging
Speaker: Dr. Jill Stein, Greater Boston Physicians for Social Reponsibility
 
Monday, December 8, 2008
830pm EST
 
For more information, and to RSVP, please email Laicie Olson: lolson@psr.org
 
Topic:

This call will provide an overview of an important new report Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging, released in October 2008, in addition to an interactive discussion on using this information in environmental health education and advocacy.

The report offers the most comprehensive review of the currently available research on the lifetime influences of environmental factors on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, two of the most common degenerative diseases of the brain. These influences include common dietary patterns, toxic chemical exposures, inadequate exercise, socio-economic stress and other factors. These influences can begin in the womb and continue throughout life, setting the stage for the later development of neurodegenerative as well as other chronic diseases.

In addition, the report describes the substantial emerging evidence that, collectively, these environmental factors alter biochemical pathways at the cellular and subcellular levels. These alterations fuel Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, as well as other chronic illnesses referred to in the report as the "Western disease cluster" - diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. Each of these diseases in turn increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease. This collection of diseases is being driven by dramatic alterations over the past 50 to 100 years in the U.S. food supply, an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, and exposure to toxic chemicals....

For more information on the report, and to download a free copy:
http://action.psr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=boston_ha

Holiday Party December 14th

You should have received an Evite to the Austin PSR Holiday Party on December 14th from 5:00 to 7:00 at the home of Lisa Doggett & Don Williams (1309 Marshall Lane).  Just an informal get together.

Hope to see you there.

Two Wins in Stopping Coal!

By Barb Gottlieb (National PSR Staff)
Nov. 18, 2008

PSR contributed to two big victories that help block new coal plants and cut global warming emissions.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s internal review board ruled that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions should be considered in granting a permit for a proposed coal-fired power plant.   The finding raises a clear signal that the roughly 100 power plants proposed nationwide may be required by law to limit their emissions of CO2, the most widespread greenhouse gas.  The EPA decision came in response to an appeal filed by the Sierra Club; PSR submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of the Sierra Club’s filing.
 
In Wisconsin, PSR helped prevent the construction of a 300-megawatt coal-burning electric plant.  It was the first coal plant to be defeated in Wisconsin.
 
For the complete Story:
http://action.psr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Code_Black_Alert

You Are Invited to a
Green Holiday Kickoff at The Barr Mansion

Hosted by:
Texas Green Network, Austin Eco-Network, Net Impact Austin, Green Technology Alliance, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Bootstrap Sustainability

Wednesday, December 17th   5:30-9:30pm
Barr Mansion and Artisan Ballroom
10463 Sprinkle Road
Directions and information at www.barrmansion.com/contactus.html
Admission: $18 in advance/ $20 at door
Register at XXXXXXX
 
Join us as we all come together to celebrate the holidays, bring our groups closer together, and prepare for a great and productive 2009. Organic foods, coffee, tea and beer will be provided.  

Upcoming Events

December 7th PSR Board Meeting Don & Lisa’s House

December 14th PSR Holiday Party at Don and Lisa’s House

December 17th  Texas Green Network Holiday Party

January 13th Texas Legislative Session Begins