Diane Wilson to speak at Fairfield University


Diane Wilson, the author of the inspiring book An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas, is scheduled to lecture at Fairfield University on Thursday, September 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Barone Campus Center Oak Room.  Presented by the Program in Applied Ethics and the Program in Environmental Studies at Fairfield, this event is open to the public.

Wilson is a mother of five and a fourth-generation shrimp-boat captain living along the Texas Gulf Coast in Calhoun County. Upon learning that the county she lived in was the most polluted in the United States, she launched a campaign against the toxic pollution caused by chemical and plastics manufacturers near the Coast that were throwing lethal substances into nearby bays. She became an environmental activist, engaging in many brave acts to help make a change for the better. She took time appealing to the courts about her cause, chained herself to chemical plants, and even served jail sentences. Wilson also practiced nonviolent disobedience and went on hunger strikes.

With all her efforts came opposition from many people, including even some in the justice system. She received death threats and was referred to as a "dangerous woman" and an “eco-terrorist." However, she persisted and her work carried on, gaining supporters along the way.

In 2001, Wilson related her story at the Bioneers Conference of environmental activists and scientists and soon after the feminist group, Unreasonable Women for the Earth, was created. A year later, she co-founded the women's activist network, Code Pink for Peace. Her book An Unreasonable Woman was released in December 2005, published by Chelsea Green Publishing and has had an impact on many who read it.

She has gained recognition for her hard work that includes the following awards: the National Fisherman Magazine Award, Mother Jones's Hell Raiser of the Month, Louis Gibbs' Environmental Lifetime Award, Louisiana Environmental Louisiana Environmental Action (LEAN) Environmental Award, Giraffe Project, Jenifer Altman Award, and the Bioneers Award. Wilson has also been featured in Robert Shetterly's Americans Who Tell the Truth. Today she is still active in working to improve society.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 11, 2008

Vol. 41, No. 51