Transcript: Ep. 5 - There's Something in the Water | Dec 03, 2019

ANNOUNCER: You're listening
to a TVO podcast.
Hi, I'm Colin Ellis
and this is OnDocs,
a podcast about documentaries
and stories they tell.
(Theme music playing)
This week's doc
is about a concept
that may sound new to you-
environmental racism.
When I began the project,
people were kind of scoffing
at me, you know.
"The environment is racist?
Come on."
You know, that was the attitude.
Somebody said to me,
"What's next?
The environment is sexist?"
That's Ingrid Waldron,
a professor at Dalhousie
University in Nova Scotia.
She'd been a health researcher
her whole career,
but had only heard about
this concept for the first time
about seven years ago.
So how does environmental racism
really work?
Maybe it's easier to explain
by showing what it looks like.
When Ingrid started studying it,
she set out
with a group of researchers
to map out every landfill,
toxic dump,
and pollution producing
industrial site in Nova Scotia.
Then she mapped out
the communities
that lived near them.
There's one layer of the map
solely for black communities,
another layer
for indigenous communities.
That was done
using GIS analysis.
Um, what it shows is that
the landfills, waste dumps
are indeed close to black
and indigenous communities.
What it does not say, which I
often have to explain to people,
is that we're not saying
that they're not close
to white communities.
Ingrid wrote a book
about all this last year
There's Something in the Water.
Not too long
after the book came out,
Ingrid noticed someone new
follow her on Twitter,
someone with a little blue
checkmark on their profile.
Someone named Ellen Page?
Yes, that Ellen Page!
You might know her from
a little film called
Three weeks later
I went back on that page
and I noticed that there was
a lot of activity.
That page didn't really have
a lot of activity,
'cause I'm not somebody
who posts a lot
or posts my thoughts
about certain things.
I just don't have the time.
But I noticed there was
a lot of activity,
to make me say,
"Whoa! What's going on here?
"Why are people
talking about my book?
"Who are these people and
who are these new followers
"on my Twitter page?"
So I traced it back up
and I said, "Ellen Page,
"that's the girl that I saw
on my page a few weeks ago.
"Is that Ellen Page
the actress?"
I realized it was her.
And, um,
she was saying to everybody,
"Go and read
Ingrid Waldron's book.
"This is a fantastic book!"
Et cetera, et cetera.
Page and her co-director
Ian Daniel
set out to make a documentary
version of Ingrid's book.
The result, also called
There's Something in the Water,
premiered at the Toronto
International film Festival
last fall.
We talked to Ingrid
about what it's like
to have your work
translated to film,
and what it's like
when a celebrity
is the one
doing the translating.
(Theme music playing)
So, Ingrid, thank you so much
for joining us today here.
Thank you for having me.
Um, so when people hear
the word "racism",
they often think about
individuals discriminating
against each other
based on race or ethnicity.
And I wonder if environmental
racism works the same way?
So, when I began the project,
people were kind of scoffing
at me, you know.
"The environment is racist?
Come on."
You know, that was the attitude.
Somebody said to me,
"What's next?
"The environment is sexist?"
You know, so that was
the kind of understanding of it,
because people weren't
understanding the institutional,
structural aspects
of environmental racism.
So I guess what I would like to
say is that environmental racism
is about the fact that people's
ideologies about other people,
whether or not other people
are worthy and valuable or not--
and we know that people
typically think of black people
and indigenous people
as not having as much value
as other people--
those ideologies
get written into policy,
and they get written into
environmental policy
in ways that lead to
the disproportionate exposure
of certain communities
to hazards.
Oftentimes because
those communities
don't have the power
to fight back.
So, in my book,
I talk about it, uh--
I say that we need
to look at this issue
from an intersectional
that these are not only
racialized communities,
non-white communities,
but they're also
low income communities,
communities lacking access
to economic
and political resources,
and also in Nova Scotia,
these are communities that tend
to be located in rural areas.
And we know that in rural areas,
people have less access
to particular resources.
You put all those things
when those issues converge,
you get people who are not--
I'm not gonna say
they're powerless,
everybody has personal power--
but they are communities
that lack political clout.
They lack resources in order
to be heard in many cases,
and they lack the ability
sometimes to fight back
against the siting of industry
in their community.
And we talk about government,
and this is governments--
the Nova Scotia government
and is it, uh,
parties of all stripes
that have been
implementing these policies?
Um, well, the Liberal government
is in power now.
Um, and, you know, the NDP--
Over the past few years,
the NDP has been supportive
of my work,
and supportive of putting--
of um, putting out
a Bill of Rights,
an environmental Bill of Rights.
And actually,
the NDP collaborated with me
on the first environmental
racism bill ever in Canada,
called Bill 111 in 2015.
So, um, it's really about
the government in power.
The government in power
is the Liberal party,
and they don't seem
to be too concerned
about issues
around climate change
or about issues related
to environmental racism.
So I have to say that the NDP
has been supportive of my work,
has been supportive of a bill,
but that bill is still
sitting on the table.
That bill was introduced
in 2015,
has been reintroduced
every single year since then,
um, but it's still
sitting on the table.
And we're living
in a time of anxiety
about the environment
and it's mostly related to,
I guess, climate change.
And I guess I wonder
where environmental racism
sorta fits into
that conversation?
Um, it doesn't fit
into the conversation
as much as I would like
in Nova Scotia
and the rest of Canada.
I see it as an aspect
of climate change.
Um, and the reason I do
is because of the analysis
that I bring to this.
When people talk
about climate change,
they talk about the fact
that we all have a right
to a healthy environment
and that climate change
impacts all of us
and there's an urgency
around it, and that's very true.
But when I do lectures
about environmental issues,
including climate change
and environmental racism,
I try to bring those two issues
together by saying yes,
but we still have to look
at disproportionality.
Because if you are
a low income, single woman
living in a rural environment
who's disabled,
your ability
to fight back against
and survive and flourish after
the impacts of climate change
would be much more difficult
than somebody who wasn't,
for example, single, somebody
who's able-bodied, et cetera.
So we still have to look
at marginality,
we still have to look
at marginalized communities,
because people are impacted
by climate change
in very, um, different ways.
And people are impacted by
industries in various ways,
So I just mention that
environmental racism,
So my goal is to get people
who are, you know,
climate change activists,
to understand that environmental
racism is a part of that.
And are climate change activists
more receptive to--
to hearing arguments
about environmental racism?
In Nova Scotia,
I'm happy to say yes.
I mean,
I'm connected, of course,
through my work to
young environmental activists.
That's really-- that is
the hot issue in Nova Scotia.
Across Canada, but it's
really palpable in Nova Scotia,
and those are the people
I'm connected to.
I wish they could--
when they do their presentations
or talk about it
on social media--
that they can discuss
environmental racism
within that analysis
more often,
but also talk about marginality
in the way
that I just discussed.
That's not really happening.
There's still a focus
on science,
um, greenhouse gas emissions--
all important issues, but--
and very scientific.
And scientific is great,
but for the average person
on the ground,
they're saying to themselves,
"I'm not really sure
how this impacts me."
Um, so, while yes,
some of those student activists
are very engaged in my work,
they come to the--
to the lectures that I deliver,
they come to the public
engagement events that I put on,
when left to their own accord,
they're not bringing in some of
the issues that I've discussed.
So I'd like to see more of that.
Let's talk a bit more
about your work.
You cofounded
The ENRICH Project.
Uh, just tell us
a bit about that.
Uh, the Environmental
Noxiousness Racial Inequities
and Community Health Project--
the acronym is
the ENRICH Project--
was developed in 2012.
It was actually
brought to me, in a way.
It was an environmental activist
and he said,
"I'd like you
to take on this project.
"I'm leaving to go to California
"and I think maybe
in the hands of a professor
"who has access
to research grants
"and who could
really sustain this,
"maybe this will go somewhere."
So, he kinda--
I wouldn't say handed it over,
but he said, "I want you
to do this project."
And my initial response was,
"I don't know anything
about the environment."
I know that's probably
shocking to people
because now I do this work.
I said, "I understand health
and I understand marginality.
"I understand indigenous peoples
and black peoples.
"That's the research I do.
I'm a health researcher.
"But this environmental piece,
I'm very nervous about this.
"I don't know enough.
I'm wondering, you know,
"I would wonder
if somebody's gonna call me out
"because I'm not
an environmental scientist,
"I wasn't trained that way."
I took it on because
it felt like a challenge.
It was political,
it was controversial.
I was hungering for some
new challenge, so I said yes.
So it started in 2012
and the first step for me
was to actually get to know
develop relationships.
I do community-based research,
and that means
that you have to take some time
to get to know people,
and sometimes that means
that you're not doing research,
you're just
building relationships.
So, it started in 2012 and I put
on some public engagement events
and then I got some grants
and I started doing research.
So, um, it's--
it's a research project that is
very much driven by community.
They tell me what they want
and I try to respond
by doing some of the things
that they want me to do.
And you-- you map out waste
disposal sites, is that correct?
Just around Nova Scotia.
So what-- What does it show?
Um, if you go onto the map
on the ENRICH Project site,
you'll see a map that shows
the location of waste dumps,
incinerators, landfills
close to indigenous
and black communities.
There's one layer of the maps
solely for black communities,
another layer
for indigenous communities.
That was done
using GIS analysis.
Um, what it shows is that
the landfills, waste dumps,
are indeed close to black
and indigenous communities.
What it does not say, which I
often have to explain to people,
is that we're not saying
that they're not close
to white communities.
But if you look
at the population size
of African Nova Scotians
in Nova Scotia,
it's about two percent,
and indigenous people, uh,
under that.
Perhaps 1.5 percent.
And then you look at the map
and you see how many sites
are close to the communities.
You see that disproportionality
we're talking about.
And while there are
some white communities,
and often it's low income, um,
working-class white communities
are near to industries
that are hazardous,
it cannot be argued
that these industries
are certainly
in black and indigenous
So, it's-- I see the map
as another tool in my toolbox.
If I were to go to government
to argue my case
or to do a presentation,
you know, I've got research.
I got my book.
I've got the maps.
I've got tools in my toolbox
to make my case
and to make an argument.
So it's another piece
of the puzzle.
Do you know how, um, important
those industries are
to, I guess, the economic
well-being of Nova Scotia,
and are they employing people
from those communities as well?
And that's the difficult
and challenging part
of this research.
You know, I talk in the book
about capitalism
and neoliberalism
and that, you know,
it's about profits over people.
And that's why this particular
issue is very hard.
In a case like, um,
Pictou Landing First Nation,
which has had
a contaminated site since 1967--
it's called Boat Harbour--
um, people have been employed,
um, through the mill.
That's employing people.
And right now we're at a point
where some people
actually want that to continue
on because people are employed.
In many of the cases--
for example in Lincolnville,
which is an African
Nova Scotian community,
people were employed as well,
through that landfill.
However, that community,
which is a black community,
was promised jobs and that
never panned out for them.
So, yes, this issue
of capital, capitalism,
um, uh, economics,
is central to this issue
and people are fearful
of losing out, right,
if they halt
many of these industries.
Another case is the Alton Gas
project in Shubenacadie,
an indigenous community.
Um, stand to make a lot of money
from that Alton Gas pipeline.
Um, the communities
have resisted that
over the past four years.
So, those are examples
of where communities
are in a really hard,
difficult situation,
because it's about capital,
it's about profit over peoples.
So when you're walking
through one of these sites,
uh, I guess near a paper mill--
I never--
I grew up in the city.
I didn't see anything
like this growing up.
What can you--
how can you describe it?
A stench, really.
Um, I visited-- I was invited
by an environmental activist
from Pictou Landing
First Nation,
which is where
much of the stench is,
uh, to visit the community.
And also just to go around
the community,
um, will make you feel
like you're going to throw up.
Um, unbearable.
You can see Ellen in the film,
just putting her coat over--
She does, yeah.
It is unbearable.
(Film clip playing)
That's what our community
smells like.
Sometimes you go into our
community buildings
and our homes and you feel that.
it just sticks to the walls.
(Airplanes rumbling overhead)
These are the air raiders.
They're supposedly
giving oxygen to the water,
which is very sad,
but back in the day
when they said that
it would have no impact,
this is what we're left with.
All this is, uh, boiling over
into our community.
So, not only are we suffering
knowing that, you know,
this exists to our water,
just look at our air as well.
And um, yeah, it's-- it's sad.
It also looks-- if you can--
if you see it visually on-screen
or in photographs--
you just see brown.
And they've been dealing
with that since 1967.
When I went to meet the
community and I finally sat down
after getting a tour
of Pictou Landing First Nation,
in speaking
to the community there,
this is an everyday thing
for them.
They're constantly smelling it.
For some, they have gotten
accustomed to the smell,
but for others,
they have not.
Um, so we had a discussion
about their everyday
kind of living with that stench.
Um, and also, of course,
the impacts on health.
Um, because
there have been dire--
similar to Shelburne--
impacts on health.
High-- extremely high rates of
cancer in that community.
Have those communities also
seen a lot of population loss?
Like, have people just moved?
Um, this is
an interesting question
because, you know,
oftentimes I get from,
you know, sometimes students
who would say,
"Well, Professor Waldron,
why don't they just move?"
It's an interesting thing,
and my answer to that
would be that low income,
racialized communities
can't just move.
In Nova Scotia,
many of them are in rural areas
because it's much cheaper
to live there.
Housing is much cheaper.
Um, in addition to the fact that
these are their communities.
This is where
they have been brought up,
this is where, um,
their parents are from.
It's very intergenerational.
The issue isn't whether or not
they should move.
The issue is
why are these industries
placed in these communities?
That should be actually
the question.
But I think
the real issue is, um,
communities that are low income
tend to stay.
that are higher income,
typically white in Nova Scotia,
um, tend to move out.
And there have been studies
about this.
You know, that as soon
as you put a landfill
in a particular community,
the people that have
the ability to move out
because they've got
the socioeconomic means, can.
And the people
who do not cannot.
So they must stay.
Then many that want to stay
but for those who, uh,
want to leave,
oftentimes they cannot
because they cannot
afford housing
in other parts of, uh,
the province.
Now, in Lincolnville, the
African Nova Scotian community
that has had a landfill
since 1974,
there has been out migration
of young people.
Young African Nova Scotians,
many of them have gone to
other parts of Canada, however,
because they cannot find jobs
in Lincolnville
because that landfill,
which, although
they were promised jobs,
that never panned out.
So many of them have left.
So there's a lot of
outmigration in Lincolnville.
And Lincolnville consequently
now is an elderly community.
It's an elderly community
that of course doesn't work.
They're all retired.
So the economic base
is faltering, right?
They don't have jobs
because they can't get a job
through the landfill.
But they're
an elderly population
because the young people
have moved out.
So, that kind
of socioeconomic instability,
for me, also compounds the issue
of environmental racism.
And people say,
"Why can't they just leave?"
Well, the doc
does talk about Pictou
but it also talks about,
uh, Shelburne,
which is, I guess,
a largely black neighbourhood
and it's uh--
it has roots going back to,
I guess,
when the Loyalists came
from the United States
to Nova Scotia.
Um, talk a bit about that,
like, site.
Yeah, so there's Shelburne,
and the black community
is predominantly
in South Shelburne.
So, the white community
is typically in the,
you know, predominantly
in the north of Shelburne.
So we're talking specifically
about the south of Shelburne.
And, um, African Nova Scotians
in the south end of Shelburne
have been near, uh--
some would say it's a dump,
others would say
it's a landfill--
since the 1940s,
which has collected a lot
of waste from the hospital
and army base, et cetera.
Um, dead body parts
were in that landfill.
Dead party parts?
(Chuckling) Yes.
Don't ask but that's--
You know,
if you looked at the film,
they mentioned that
as kind of shocking, right?
So, they have been near to
that landfill since the 1940s.
And I met with Louise Delisle
who was featured
in the film in 2015.
I had a job,
I wanted to hire somebody
to do focus groups because I
wanted to know more about it.
And I hired Louise
at the end of 2015 to do that.
And, um, that-- the first thing
she said to me was,
"Oh, do you think the landfill
has anything to do
"with the very high cancer rates
in my community?
"Everybody has cancer, Ingrid."
And I thought that was
a stunning thing to say.
I'd never heard of any community
that everyone has cancer.
She said, "My mother has cancer,
my sister has cancer,
"this other guy has cancer.
About 98, 97 percent
"of the people in my community
has cancer."
And I thought
that couldn't possibly be.
Um, so I thought, this is an
important community to look at.
Um, so, since then,
we have been doing research and
water testing in that community.
It's a--
this is a low income, poor,
African Nova Scotian community.
Don't have the resources,
once again, to do water testing.
So I brought together
an environmental engineer,
a hydrogeologist, and
environmental science students,
myself, and we started
a water testing project
to look at, uh, finally,
what is in their water,
to identify contaminants
in the water.
And that's kind of ongoing.
Um, there's some information
that I was given by Louise
just two days ago
that, I guess,
supports her argument
that high rates of cancer
is due to contaminants.
What we found so far,
last year in December,
was coliform and E. coli,
which is not necessarily
leading to cancer but they can.
Because we know that any kind
of inflammation in the body--
that's what cancer is,
it's inflammation--
can lead to cancer.
Since then, at TIFF, I spoke
with Louise and she said,
"Ingrid, no,
we found some other stuff,
"we're doing some other stuff."
I said, "Oh, I didn't know
that." She said, "Yes."
And I said, "So, what
do you think about these people,
"these naysayers
who say it's not--
"cancer is not caused
by the landfill?"
And she says, "Well,
we've got some more evidence,
"and I know in my bones
that it is."
Whatever it is, and I believe
it is due to the landfill,
the fact that almost everyone
has cancer is stunning.
It's a bit of a coincidence
if they all have cancer, yeah.
Yes, yes.
And does it seem to affect--
It seems like mostly men
who end up getting sick and--
and passing away.
I wondered about that, if--
why that is,
if that's just a coincidence
or what?
I don't know why that is.
I know when I spoke to Louise
and maybe other women,
the men, African Nova Scotian
men worked in forestry.
And they worked outdoors.
So, in my book I talk about
the gendered pathways
of environmental exposure,
and the health impacts.
Meaning that we have to look
at the issue of gender
when we think about how men and
women are differently exposed
to environmental contaminants.
So when we-- and we
have to think about labour.
So when we think
about where men work,
men are typically,
predominantly in outdoor work,
exposed to certain types
of contaminants.
The man on the street
that we see manual labour,
um, and industries where men
are predominately located
versus women.
When we think of hotels
in Toronto
and we think of
house cleaning staff,
they are predominately women,
and they're predominately women
from low income, marginalized--
women of colour.
And the women are also, like--
like, at least in the film,
and I presume in your book
as well,
they're the activists too.
They're the ones
that are really pushing, uh,
the government to do something.
And there's this great scene
of, um, one woman,
indigenous woman,
confronting Justin Trudeau.
Um, I wonder why, why so many
women have taken up this cause.
For a while I didn't know that.
I just noticed that in my ENRICH
Project it was always women,
and I was actually
getting kind of angry.
I'm like, okay,
so where are the men?
Why are the women
doing all the work?
It's gotta be tiring
and stressful.
Um, and then Dorene Bernard,
uh, who's the leader in
Indian Brook, in Shubenacadie,
said to me, she said,
"Actually, this is
our cultural tradition, Ingrid.
"Women are water protectors.
"We carry the water,
we give birth, right?
"So we create human beings,
we give birth.
"In our culture,
in Mi'kmaq culture,
"um, we are responsible
for taking care of the water."
So, they see it
as their responsibility.
So, that makes sense
for that community.
In terms of the black community,
there's not that sense of
"we are the water protectors",
but certainly, we know, if we
think about black communities
and black families,
um, and the fact that typ--
so, black women are oftentimes
leading their households,
it's kind of a natural--
COLIN: Mm-hm.
--and organic that black women
would take up the fight
in this case as well,
because black women,
you know, black communities,
black families
are typically matriarchal.
Um, and women lead in many ways.
Uh, because of discrimination
in terms of gender and race,
men, black men are often
outside of the labour system.
And they're less likely
to be employed,
they're much more likely
to be underemployed.
So, socially, in many ways,
black women tend to do better
than black men.
And black women are often
leading their families.
So that--
it now make sense to me, um,
when I see black women kind of
taking up arms and leading.
And it certainly
makes cultural sense
in terms of the Mi'kmaq
community as well.
(Film clip playing)
Do you worry about
your own health?
It's so funny
that you mention that,
'cause, um, just knowing,
you know, where I came from
and, you know, the family
that's gone before me,
I've never expected
to live long.
I'll be 41,
you know, next week.
(Sniffing, voice breaking)
And knowing that,
you know,
everybody passed away so young,
um, I had always felt
that, you know, I wasn't--
I wasn't gonna get a chance
to grow old.
And sometimes I think that way.
Well, we should talk about, uh,
the filmmakers
in this film a bit.
You published the book,
There's Something in the Water,
and then an actress
by the name of Ellen Page
happens to read it.
She follows you on Twitter,
and maybe you can tell us
what happened after that.
Sure. I mean, the book came out
in 2008, February,
and then in October I woke up
and I went onto one
of my two Twitter pages.
I have a Twitter page
specifically for my project
and then my own personal page.
And I noticed
that somebody was following me
by the name of Ellen Page,
but because it didn't say
"actress Ellen Page",
it just said,
"I'm a tiny Canadian",
it didn't connect.
(Colin chuckling)
And then the picture that
she chose to put on her profile
just was very blurry
and it was brown,
it was a kind of sepia colour.
And I didn't think anything
of it, so I went away.
Three weeks later
I went back on that page
and I noticed that there was
a lot of activity.
That page didn't really
have a lot of activity
'cause I'm not somebody
who posts a lot
or post my thoughts
about certain things.
I just don't have the time.
But I noticed
there was a lot of activity,
to make me say,
"Whoa! What's going on here?
"Why are people
talking about my book?
"Who are these people
and who are these new followers
"on my Twitter page?"
So I traced it back up
and I said, "Ellen Page,
"that's the girl that I saw
on my page a few weeks ago.
"Is that Ellen Page
the actress?"
I realized it was her and, um,
she was saying to everybody,
"Go and read
Ingrid Waldron's book.
"This is a fantastic book."
Et cetera, et cetera.
Um, so that's how it began
and then, um,
her friend, who's known Ellen
for over 15 years, said,
"Would you like me to put you
in touch with her on the phone?
"We can talk and see
what we can come up with."
We did. That was the week
of Christmas last year.
And we did a three-way call
and she said,
"I want to use my celebrity,
my platform, to help this case.
"I'm a Nova Scotian
and I find this appalling.
"And I wanna kind of figure out
how I can use my celebrity."
And I-- it took us a while
to figure it out.
For me, it was like, okay,
she's in New York,
she lives in New York now.
Um, the best thing
she can really do is tweet.
You know, that's what I thought.
I could tweet some stuff,
she could tweet it out.
She's got two-point-whatever
million followers.
Yeah, yeah, a lot of followers.
I don't. Right?
So this could be really great
if-- if the Mi'kmaq women
want to set up a GoFundMe page
and they need money
and Ellen tweets it out,
can you imagine
how that can get out there?
Through a few conversations,
then we said,
"What about film?"
But we weren't thinking
of a feature-length film
and we weren't thinking
about TIFF.
We were thinking
about little clips
that we could post on Twitter.
That's it. And then we--
She came up in April
and she filmed for ten days.
And I went back to her home--
to her mother's home,
and we looked
at the footage and I--
and we said,
"We have something here.
"This is passionate,
it's very emotional."
And I said, "We really need
to do this justice.
"If we just do a kinda hack job
and post it--
"clips on Twitter,
what is that really going to do?
"These women have
invested their time,
"we see them crying on-screen,
it's emotional.
"We need to do this justice."
I said.
I said, "I think we need
a feature-length film.
"I think we need
to use more film,
"and I think we need to--
"we need to put this out
at a film festival."
And I said, "TIFF?"
And I think Ian said, "Oh, if
it doesn't get accepted by TIFF,
"we can go to
the Berlin Film Festival,
"there's Sundance, et cetera."
So we started talking about that
after we filmed.
But to tell you the truth,
that wasn't--
TIFF wasn't on our mind,
a feature film wasn't.
It just organically grew
when we started
to see the footage
and we started to see
how powerful it was.
Well, you mentioned celebrity.
You know, she wanted
to use her celebrity
to make this issue
more well known.
And celebrities
do get involved in causes.
I mean, animal rights is one.
Um, is her--
is her involvement different
in a way?
I think it is.
Some people can say--
and I think she was
concerned about this--
that her celebrity
would distract, and it can.
I think it's different
because she is a Nova Scotian.
I think it's different because,
I get a sense, even though
she would say differently,
she's very well-liked.
You know, she gets hate mail
because she's gay.
Um, but, uh, she is well-liked
in Nova Scotia.
I can tell--
I can tell that on Twitter,
how people talk about her.
She has respect as an actress.
She's not-- she's an actress,
she's a real actress.
Great actress.
More than a celebrity.
Um, she still has family
in Nova Scotia.
She-- her family, uh,
used to live
close to Shelburne.
Um, so, there's a kind of
intimate connection that she has
regardless of whether or not
she's not living here,
you know, she's not living
in Nova Scotia anymore.
She's got
an intimate connection.
And she's real.
In meeting her, um,
I saw somebody
who was truly authentic
and real
and really wanted to help
and who was low-key.
And it wasn't about getting
attention for herself,
but in a way to kind of
remove herself from it,
to allow people to speak.
So, in that way,
she is the perfect person.
You know, I would imagine
doing this work
would make you-- well,
it would make anyone angry.
Especially at the government.
Um, and yeah, I wonder if, uh,
yeah, it's sort of chipped--
if doing this work and looking
into environmental racism
has sort of chipped away
at this, um,
image that we have of Canada.
I think people
would be surprised to know
that I don't get angry.
I just keep working.
Um, anger can be wasted.
I'm very determined.
Um, I keep going.
I'm very strong internally.
And while there have
been setbacks
and while I wish
government would do much more,
my response
is not to get angry.
I'm very familiar with racism,
I've experienced it myself.
I'm not shocked by it.
Anger doesn't come into play
anymore for me.
It's hard to explain that.
For me, it's about-
what can I do differently?
How can I get in
through the back door?
How can I be more creative
in the way that I get a response
from government?
Okay, so that didn't work.
So, what's next?
What do I have to
brainstorm on next?
I'm constantly moving forward.
I don't have much time,
uh, for anger.
So I'll allow other people
to get angry, as they should.
It's impacting them,
but for me, if I'm gonna hold it
together through my project,
I need to put one foot
in front of the other
and I just don't have time
for anger.
(Both laughing)
It sounds very clinical,
but it's true.
Well, I think that's
a really good place to leave it,
and I just want to thank you
so much for joining me today.
Thanks so much for having me.
And that's the podcast.
There's Something in the Water
isn't in theatres yet,
but you can definitely
pick up the book
at a bookstore near you.
And if you want to learn more
about what the ENRICH Project
is up to,
you can visit their website
If you like what you heard,
leave us a review
on Apple Podcasts,
and better yet, tell a friend.
We always love to hear from you,
so if you'd like to let us know
what you think of this episode
or environmental racism,
just write to us
And you can also follow me
on Twitter @ColinEllis81.
Thanks to producers Chantel
Braganza and Matthew O'Mara,
and production support
Nikki Ashworth
and Jonathan Halliwell.
Kathy Vey is executive producer
for digital at TVO.
We'll catch you
at the next screening.
(Theme music playing)

Watch: Ep. 5 - There's Something in the Water