Case #771
Title: Texas Shrimper-Woman Takes on Big Polluting Companies
Summary: A Texas Gulf Coast shrimper-woman turned into an environmental justice activist when she learned that her small county produced more toxic emissions than any place in the nation. She began thinking about the seven petrochemical plants that lit up the coastal prairie and filled the breeze with strange, sharp smells. When Formosa Plastics Corporation, USA, announced plans for a huge expansion, Wilson decided people needed answers just as much as they needed new jobs, and she called a public meeting to discuss how the expansion would affect the environment. With this beginning, and despite non support and sometimes even hostility from family, friends, and parts of her community, Diane Wilson embarked on her new life as an activist.
Comments: STRATEGY: Stop (or at least reduce and control) big manufacturing companies located in the coastal plain area of the Texas Gulf Coast from continuing to pollute the local and Gulf of Mexico environments.
WHAT WORKED: organizing public meetings, peacefully confronting big company executive, legal research, partnering with sympathetic legal entities, hunger strikes, speaking engagements, carrying her activism to many other countries, sinking a shrimp boat, scaling barbed wire fences, and chaining herself to the top of a seventy-foot tower. After researching and much reading, Ms. Wilson also experienced an intellectual and spiritual awakening. She has now embraced a life philosophy honoring environmental and social justice causes.
IMPORTANT POINTS: The woman who hated public speaking now brings audiences to their feet and, more important, inspires them to act in their own communities. Nina Simons, co-producer of the annual Bioneers conference of social and environmental activists, says Wilson's influence continues to grow. "With a high school education and no formal training, she has filed legal briefs, become a community educator and leader, and initiated actions that resulted in major media coverage and real impact on the corporate polluters she's targeted," says Simons. "She's living proof that, as she says, `If I can do this, anyone can!'"
Location: Texas, US
Action: Environment, Corporate/Economic Abuses
Setting: Developed World
Extent of Action: Regional (within a country)
Categories: Environment, Corporate/Economic Abuses
Year(s): 1980
Outcome successful for now
Source: Hope Magazine, May/June 2003 p. 29
Contacts: DIANE WILSON, P.O. Box 1001, Seadrift, TX 77983, 361-785-3907,,,,
Prepared By: sl, 4/06
Rating: 1