Click below to view video clips from “HOMELAND: Four Portraits of Native Action” a production of Katahdin Foundation, courtesy of Roberta Grossman.
Dr. Lucy Boulanger and Dr. John Fogarty, physicians and public health advocates, are a wife and husband team working to develop a new energy economy based on renewable sources. The two believe that responsible planning and the right leadership will lead to prosperous communities and a better future for generations to come.
They are presently developing a diverse network of advocates who are helping society transition from fossil and nuclear fuels to new energy sources such as wind and solar. Their work will have a variety of impacts including the creation of new jobs in some of the lowest income communities, reduction of air pollution, preservation of water supplies, and the slowing of climate change.
In recent months they have been organizing advocates from Native American and Hispanic communities along with environmental and business leaders to develop renewable energy models to replace polluting methods currently in use. They are also working to develop new communications strategies to more effectively reach broader audiences.
Dr. Boulanger and Dr. Fogarty’s advocacy efforts around clean energy started after working as clinicians on the Navajo reservation. As physicians they have witnessed an epidemic of lung and kidney disease among their patients, stemming from previous decades of uranium mining activities on Navajo lands. Uranium used in the first atomic bombs and for much of America’s nuclear weapons stockpile came from more than 1,100 uranium mines operated on the Navajo Nation. Underground miners were exposed to high levels of radiation, and the mining activities left behind radioactive waste in many communities. This waste now contaminates water supplies, harms air quality, and threatens future generations.
Although the last uranium mine on Navajo Nation closed in 1986, new uranium mining operations have been proposed for two Navajo communities, Crownpoint and Church Rock, located in New Mexico. These new mines will likely contaminate the only source of drinking water for 15,000 Navajos living in a high mountain desert area. Dr. Boulanger and Dr. Fogarty have worked with local community members to help mount effective opposition to the new mines, and to date no new mining has occurred.
Realizing that nuclear and fossil-fuels energy systems disproportionately affect communities of color, Dr. Boulanger and Dr. Fogarty are looking to a new roadmap for energy development.
Dr. Boulanger was born in Burlington, VT and received her medical degree from the University of Vermont. She completed her internal medicine residency at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA, and then moved to New Mexico in 1996 with the Centers for Disease Control as an officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service. She also is Board Certified in Infectious Disease after having completed a fellowship at the University of New Mexico and received the Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School of Tropical Medicine.
Dr. Fogarty was born in Iowa City, IA and received his medical degree from the University of Washington. He completed his residency training at the University of New Mexico and is Board Certified in Family Practice. Since 1997 he has worked with the Pueblo, Apache, and Navajo peoples of New Mexico as a physician in the Indian Health Service. Dr. Fogarty also has a strong interest in public health and teaches courses on health, human rights, and globalization at the University of New Mexico.