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An Unreasonable Woman Breaks the Law for Mother Earth

by Diane Wilson

Pub Date: May 17th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60358-215-5
Publisher: Chelsea Green

In her down-home, sassy style, an environmental activist tells of her latest battles against polluting corporations.

Longtime CodePink activist Wilson’s sequel to An Unreasonable Woman: The True Story of Shrimpers, Politics, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas (2005) continues the saga of her direct actions against those who raise her ire. Still outraged by the 1984 Bhopal disaster caused by Union Carbide (now a division of Dow Chemical), she chained herself to a 75-foot oxide tower at Dow, where she hung a banner reading “Dow Responsible for Bhopal.” Removed and arrested, she writes vividly of her treatment and the grim conditions at the county jail. Out on bond, she headed off in search of Warren Anderson, Union Carbide’s chief executive at the time of the Bhopal disaster, first in Vero Beach, Fla., and then in Bridgehampton, N.Y.—a largely futile adventure, but one that she relates with great gusto. Wilson also proudly describes her noisy protest at a Texas fundraiser attended by then–Vice President Dick Cheney, where, disguised as a Republican donor, she screamed “Corporate Greed Kills” repeatedly until being thrown out, arrested and jailed. That she has deep skepticism of the EPA’s criminal investigators is shown in her rather rambling story of working with whistleblowers who have inside information about hazardous conditions and cover-ups at Formosa Plastics, a local chemical plant. Perhaps her most dramatic public action was her appearance at the Senate hearings where Tony Hayward, then chief executive of BP, was testifying about the Deep Horizon oil spell. She poured a half-gallon of Karo syrup (which resembles crude oil) over herself before being removed and arrested yet again. At the book’s end, the author is in Taiwan, attempting to present CodePink’s negative Black Planet Award to the family heading Formosa Plastics.

A folksy memoir from a gutsy, determined, well-connected gadfly who can write up a storm when not storming the barricades.