David vs. Goliath redux

Tiny Mount Shasta goes up against big business to protect its citizens and environment from corporate pillaging and other undesirable havoc.

Toxic chemicals in the water: Keep this from happening in your town.

Toxic chemicals in the water: Keep this from happening in your town.

Photo By

Refreshing news from Mount Shasta I read an article in the online magazine Yes! (www.yesmagazine.org) about the laudable steps the Siskiyou County town of Mount Shasta is taking to keep big corporations and other behemoths, such as Nestlé, Coca-Cola and PG&E, from sucking its lifeblood and trampling its environment via such practices as large-scale water extraction and regional cloud-seeding using the toxic chemical silver iodide.

The Mt. Shasta Community Rights Project gathered more than 700 signatures in support of the Mt. Shasta Community Water Rights and Self-Government Ordinance, created to establish the community’s right to manage its own resources as it sees fit.

The proposed ordinance, to be voted on in an upcoming special or general election, “would refuse to recognize corporate personhood, explicitly place the rights of community and local government above the economic interests of multinational corporations, and recognize the rights of nature to exist, flourish and evolve,” said Yes! writer Allen D. Kanner.

Mount Shasta is part of a growing municipal-rights movement seeking to put the rights of a town’s citizens—and its natural environment—ahead of corporate interests, regardless of state and federal law.

“Four municipalities, including Halifax in Virginia, and Mahoney, Shrewbury and Packer in Pennsylvania, have passed laws imposing penalties on corporations for chemical trespass, the involuntary introduction of toxic chemicals into the human body,” wrote Kanner.

Big cities are getting on board: The Pittsburgh, Pa., City Council voted last November to ban natural-gas-drilling corporations from hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The dangers of fracking—whereby oil and natural gas are extracted from rock using a hazardous-chemical-laden fluid blasted in under high pressure—are becoming increasingly known.

Mayor Ann Schwab declares Chico a Let’s Move! city.

Photo By christine g.k. lapado

A March 1 article in the Denver Post pointed out that fracking “carries significant environmental risks,” including the possibility of wastewater full of carcinogens and radioactive material being “hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water.”

Josh Fox’s 2010 documentary movie Gasland speaks directly to fracking’s aftermath (see photo).

Go, David! Watch out, Goliath!

Lamb season Richard Coon and Christine “Baji” Hantelman of Chico’s “better-than-organic” Wookey Ranch (See “Straight from the pasture,” CN&R, April 7, 2011) informed me that they will have their in-demand, grass-fed and -finished spring lamb available for sale at the Saturday downtown farmers’ market on June 11. Call 343-2479 for more info.

Mayor’s move Chico Mayor Ann Schwab appeared at local K-8 charter school Sherwood Montessori on May 31 to officially announce the city of Chico’s getting on board with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! (and Chefs Move to Schools) campaign, aimed at reducing childhood obesity by teaching kids to eat healthfully and get sufficient exercise.

Schwab (pictured) read a proclamation declaring Chico a Let’s Move! city while standing in the school’s burgeoning vegetable garden under unseasonably drizzly skies.

Members of the Let’s Move! Chico group were on hand at the short ceremony, including local school-nutrition activists Richard Roth, Debra Abbott and Laurie Niles, Sherwood Montessori’s Chefs Move to Schools chef, Richie Hirshen, and Chapman Elementary School’s new Chefs Move chef, Alexander Cilensek.

“The goals of the Let’s Move! initiative align with Chico’s vision of being a livable, healthy and sustainable community,” said Schwab.