Ever tell your children the story of the boy who didn't eat his broccoli and died THE NEXT DAY?? (when he got hit by a car because he didn't Look Both Ways?) Does your daughter ignore your warnings that she might catch cold and have to miss the class play? Even though when you warned her to wear her kneepads skateboarding and she didn't, she scraped her knee so badly she had to get a shot? Do you think fear the underrated emotion and tell yourself it's what keeps rabbits alive?

Hysterical mothers, nags and anyone else who has railed against the force of will, ("I hate seatbelts") you are not alone.

When a huge horse showed up at the gates of Troy Cassandra prophesied, "No good will come of this." The Trojans branded Cassandra nuts and what happened? The horse was full of GREEKS! Who destroyed Troy!
When Lois Gibbs told people that their neighborhood was contaminated, the government said, "Everything's fine." What neighborhood was that? Love Canal!
When Monona Rossol and Drs. Cate Jenkins and Marjorie Clarke warned of the toxic soup which was the air of Lower Manhattan following 9/11, did people sit up and listen? Right.

But not all the doomsayers are hysterical mothers. None are hysterical and some aren't mothers or even women.  Joel Kupferman., Hugh Kaufman, Congressman Jerrold Nadler and men on the staff of the New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health also led the hue and cry following 9/11.
And many of the guys on the other side of the fence aren't men. Witness Whitman herself, the Darth Vader of Lower Manhattan who a few days after September 11, said, "I'm glad to reassure the people of New York that their air is safe to breathe."

So if not womanhood, what is it that distinguishes the hysterical mothers from the guys in suits?
That's right: It's the suits.
Juan Gonzalez may have been the first journalist to cry, "Toxic!" after 9/11 but he's not a bureaucrat. Hence, he doesn't wear a suit.
Joel Kupferman may be a lawyer but as he mostly hangs out at firehouses which are still contaminated from 9/11, again, no suit.

My high school friend Elinor was right: "The world is made in such a way that my mother always turns out to have been right."
So don't lose heart. Have the courage of your cautious convictions and remember the old adage: Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not following you.

Jenna Orkin
World Trade Center Environmental Organization

Honorary Hysterical Mothers who have cried Wolf while the foxes were minding the chicken coop:

Katie Acton at P.S. 65 in Queens
environmental feminism:
Suzanne Mattei of the Sierra Club
9/11 Environmental Action and the WTC Community/Labor Coalition


SEC lawyer Robert Gulack

M. King Hubbert,

Mike Ruppert and the staff of Fromthewilderness.com,

Jan Lundberg,

Mark Robinowitz of Oilempire.us,

Richard Heinberg, Colin Campbell, Postcarbon.org,

Robert Hirsch and

the other prophets of Peak Oil.