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Diane Wilson featured in book on Texas activists

By by Dianna Wray
Oct. 14, 2010 at 5:14 a.m.

Environmentalist Diane Wilson loves Texas.

The Seadrift native has been an active environmentalist for more than 20 years, and despite her Texas drawl, she's usually known for her aggressive protests rather than the state she comes from.

When she was approached to appear in "The Texas Legacy Project: Stories of Courage and Conservation," a book on Texas environmentalists, Wilson said she was thrilled.

The book, edited by David Todd and David Weisman, is a culmination of more than a decade of work.

The project started out as an effort to capture the memories of Texas environmentalists. Weisman and Todd travelled back and forth across Texas filming interviews of notable environmentalists from a West Texas grocer fighting nuclear waste to an Austin lobbyist pressing for green energy.

After transcribing and archiving the interviews at length, Weisman decided to turn excerpts of them into a book.

Weisman said Wilson was a natural choice to include in the book.

"Diane is just passionate about advocating for public health and the environment. A lot of these interviews are about citizenship and what it means to speak up for your community, and she's gone further than most in that," Weisman said.

Wilson gets four pages in the book, in the section titled "Watchdogs and Watersheds." The section on Wilson gives a brief overview of her history as an environmental activist, from the time she first got involved in 1989. Wilson then speaks for herself in a transcribed interview.

According to the book, Wilson started doing some digging after hearing about neighbors' health problems, dolphin die-offs and reduced fishing catches in the area. She found out Calhoun County led the national list for toxic emissions. She got further involved, protesting Formosa Plastics when the company requested a wastewater permit for expansion in Calhoun County, succeeding through protests and petitions to accept a zero-discharge goal with full recycling of their wastewater stream.

The rest of the article is Wilson herself, recounting how she got involved in the environmental field and why she feels it is so important to protect the environment.

The book, published by Texas A&M Press, was released Friday.

Wilson said she's proud to be included in a project specifically focused on Texas environmentalists, because she loves to be associated with her state.

"Wherever I go, I always make sure they know where I'm from. I like being a Texan. I'm proud of it," Wilson said.

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