Meet one of our community leaders: Helen Livingston of Scotland County. I was able to get her to tell us a bit about herself and her community involvement.
Joy: Ms. Helen, could you tell us a bit of a bio of your life and ways that you have contributed to the community?
Helen: I grew up in Laurinburg, both sides of my family having been in the area for generations. My parents instilled in me a love of nature, and I appreciate the clean air and water that are so valuable in our community.
After college in Winston Salem, I lived in big cities, including Miami for 28 years, where my husband and I were engaged in political and environmental activities.
I returned to Laurinburg in 1997, as I was no longer able to work because of poor health. One of my first activities was to object to a hog farm proposal that drained hog waste into the Pee Dee River. Next was a sewage spill that caused heavy weed growth in a pond. In 2005, I became a member of a group that blocked a mega-landfill in the sandhills, through efforts at the state level, to bring about the landfill moratorium of 2006 and the Solid Waste Management Act of 2007 that prevented five or six mega-landfills across the state. In 2010, the proposed landfill near Maxton was blocked.
Today, landfills are being used for fracking waste and coal ash, even more reason to keep them out of our area. Our umbrella organization is Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, one of the premier organizations pointing out the dangers of fracking waste and coal ash in landfills. This is their 30th Anniversary of keeping megadumps (New York City garbage) and nuclear waste out of a six state area.They were instrumental in keeping a nuclear waste site out of our area in the 1980’s.
My experience with environmental toxins, which have contributed considerably to my health issues, motivates me to do what I can to keep others from unnecessary suffering from the health consequences of environmental toxins.