BUFFALO, N.Y. - When cleaning up polluted land, water and air, the conventional approach is to focus solely on scientific and engineering solutions.
But is that view too narrow? Can it lead to flawed research and harmful public policy?
Some environmental advocates think so. They argue for a more holistic method that considers what community members affected by the environmental contamination have to say.
This approach, they say, could alleviate issues of distrust between scientists and the public, and lead to groundbreaking research and public policy.
That will be the topic of a panel discussion titled "Silenced Voices: Whose Stories Do Experts Count? Lessons from Affected Communities at the Intersection of Science, Public Policy, and Environmental Health" held Thursday, Dec. 3, at the University at Buffalo.
Open to the public, the event will feature Yanna Lambrinidou, adjunct assistant professor at Virginia Tech, whose research on lead contamination in the District of Columbia's drinking water helped expose the wrongdoing of government agencies.
Also on the panel is Erin Heaney, executive director of the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York (CACWNY), and two of the coalition's founding board members, Glenn and Jennifer Ratajczak. The coalition led a successful grassroots effort to reduce benzene emissions and other pollutants released by the Tonawanda Coke Corp.