The dire warnings from environmentalists come so frequently that most residents ignore them. But they've largely turned out to be true: Resource issues now threaten our prosperity as well as our growth. Yet more often than not, our political leaders side with polluters instead of with the people who voted them into office.
The money-driven machine bent on squeezing every dime it can out of Georgia's air, soil and water has its own star players. But there also are shining lights who cut through the smog and sewer water -- individuals who push one step forward, even while the region takes two steps back.
This Earth Day, to recognize both the rascals and the heroes, Creative Loafing staff writer Michael Wall and editor Ken Edelstein worked with a team of experts to select the state's Green Team and its Dirty Dozen.How we did this project
Creative Loafing recruited four of the state's most respected environmentalists to help two of our staff members in researching and selecting the Green Team and the Dirty Dozen. These six individuals comprised this year's panel:
Howard Frumkin directs the Pediatric Environmental Health Speciality Unit at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. A Harvard-trained physician and epidemiologist, he works with Georgia Tech planners and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a variety of environmental and occupational health projects.
Jennifer Giegerich is an advocate for the Georgia Public Interest Research Group. Before assuming that position, she worked for two years as U.S. PIRG's Clean Air field associate in Georgia and South Carolina. She is a 1998 graduate of Drake University.
David Goldberg is communications director of Smart Growth America, a national organization that advocates environmentally sensitive, people-oriented development. A Decatur resident, he's currently a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University Design School. As a reporter and editorial writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Goldberg was nominated three times for a Pulitzer Prize and authored a national guidebook for journalists on covering urban sprawl.
Bryan Hager is the statewide director for the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club, which has 14,000 members. Hager was the director of the chapter's Challenge to Sprawl Campaign before he became statewide director, and he led the club's attacks on the Northern Arc. The Sierra Club has been active in Georgia since the late 1970s.
Ken Edelstein has served as Creative Loafing's editor since September 2000 and was CL's managing editor before that. He won seven state and regional awards as a reporter for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, where he spent six years covering the environment and the state Capitol.
Michael Wall has been Creative Loafing's environmental writer since September 2000 and has covered the General Assembly for CL and the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Committee members nominated more than 70 individuals, businesses and organizations for the two lists; researched the nominees' achievements; and, in a series of votes, narrowed down the honorees and dis-honorees to 12 individuals on each list. Edelstein and Wall wrote the blurbs.
In two cases, committee members recused themselves from voting to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Giegerich didn't vote for Dirty Dozen member Barbara Gallo, because she was sued last year by Gallo. Goldberg didn't vote for Dirty Dozen winner Jim Wooten because the two had been colleagues at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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