Tonawanda News —
“Alan reached out to me in the spring and said, ‘We’re looking to apply for this NSF grant but traditionally, the conventional approaches of cleaning up waste sites aren’t successful,” Robinson said, adding that the researchers want to “bring in different voices.”
”As far as environmental remediation is concerned — especially in communities where the land use is hopefully necessary in future generations — we want to make that process more transparent and more successful,” she said. “Our proposal attempts to bring out perspectives that aren’t normally heard.”
Robinson, for instance, plans to focus on talking to residents in communities to learn more about what they’d like to see happen in instances of environmental remediation.
“It’s science, humanities and social science all working together,” praised Dave Ewing, the dean of the college of arts and sciences at Canisius College. “It’s beautiful ... that’s how you solve problems.”
Ewing said he’s looking forward to involving Canisius students in the research.
“Once the project gets far along (the students) may even end up as co-authors on papers,” he said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to work on this project.”
While she’s not yet sure which communities will be involved in the research, Robinson said she’s always been interested in the environmental impact of industry in and around the Tonawandas. She’s on the board of the Clean Air Coalition, which led efforts to study benzene levels in the air from Tonawanda Coke.
“I don’t want to make the research personal but I am incredibly proud to be able to do this for a community that I think has been environmentally abused for a century,” Robinson said of her home community. “It’s really a shame so if I can even do a little piece to help turn that around I am honored to do that for this area. I truly believe the environment makes the people and if we’re not healthy because of where we live how can we be happy and how can we encourage the community to be better?”
Contact Sunday Lifestyle editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116 or follow her on Twitter at @DanielleHaynes1.