OUR MISSION & VISION
Slingshot’s mission is to work alongside communities most impacted by environmental threats to take aim at polluters and build community power.
When communities facing a threat reach out, our experienced team of community organizers do thorough research to understand the problem, build relationships with residents, and support them through clarifying the change they want to create. Then we facilitate workshops and meetings to create an effective plan, and show up day in and day out as local leaders build the power needed to win that change.
Our goal isn’t just to win on local environmental problems—we are building a base of long-term member-leaders who can light the fire for change in their state and across the region. This base will be the driving force for our collective priorities moving forward. We believe in building an organization that is led by residents of the communities most burdened with environmental pollution and that will help combat systemic environmental injustice.
We will show up for communities and organize with compassion, humility, fierce love, and joy to build a more just world. As our name suggests, we are fearless in the face of powerful corporate greed, we generate momentum in the face of the inertia of an unjust and polluting status quo, and we are resourceful in the face of a system designed to exclude and ignore. Together with community leaders, we are building the movement that propels our region toward the future we envision.
Are you and your community facing a threat to your health and future? Don’t hesitate to reach out so we can talk through how we might be able to support you. We always support communities for free.
OUR WORK IN THE NEWS
Chemical companies are gaming the system, profiting from the use of toxic substances while disregarding their long-term health and environmental impacts. We know that these synthetic chemicals like glyphosate, PFAS, and PCBs, as well as naturally occurring toxics like lead and mercury, disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, communities of color, and working-class white communities.
Pesticides are designed to kill living things, so it’s no surprise that they have chronic effects on humans, including cancers, neurological toxicity, and disruption of the endocrine system. Pesticide use disproportionately impacts agricultural workers, who face high levels of occupational exposure, as well as residents of subsidized housing, where companies spray large quantities of insecticides to control infestations.
We know that there is no safe level of exposure to lead, a neurotoxin historically used in paint, water pipes, and a wide range of products like ceramics, cosmetics and ammunition. Although the United States has banned its use in many consumer products, manufacturers continue to mine lead for use in vehicle batteries, and families living in older or substandard housing are at much higher risk for exposure.
Asphalt plants mix sand and gravel with crude oil derivatives to make paving for roads and sidewalks, releasing staggering amounts of hazardous air pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene, and volatile organic compounds. All too often, industry sites these polluting facilities in low-income neighborhoods, further exacerbating environmental health disparities.
We work to hold chemical companies accountable, get known toxics off the market, and make sure that regulatory agencies are actually protecting human health. Whether we are passing pesticide use ordinances, fighting for clean and lead-free water, or shutting down proposals for toxic asphalt plants, Slingshot is taking aim at polluting chemical companies and organizing for healthy, vibrant, toxic-free communities.
Our current waste management system puts profits over people, threatening our communities, health, and environment. As private corporations have known for decades, burning and burying our trash is a deadly business, one that hurts communities already burdened by environmental threats. However, the waste industry continues to profit by sending most of our trash to big landfills and incinerators, which are disproportionately sited in rural, working-class, and Black, Indigenous, and neighborhoods of color across the Northeast.
Burning and burying our waste pollutes the air, water, and soil. Emissions from incineration and leachate landfills contain heavy metals, mercury, dioxin, and PFAS that are released into nearby communities. To make matters worse, the release of methane and other greenhouse gasses from landfills only speeds up climate change. Although the industry has been pushing “green” technologies like pyrolysis and biogas, we know that these methods only divert energy away from truly renewable energy sources.
Instead of expanding landfills, siting new incinerators, and pursuing false solutions, we must focus on actually reducing waste production and diverting materials from our waste stream. We need real zero waste solutions. We need to follow the lead of most-impacted communities, who are calling for us to decrease production of single-use products, shore up state-wide recycling and composting infrastructure, and put waste management back in the hands of the people.
As we continue to learn from Indigenous leaders, water is life. Everyone deserves access to clean, affordable drinking water. However all too often, communities' health is threatened by drinking water contamination–whether from chemicals, heavy metals, or toxins.
We are currently facing one of the largest water contamination crises of our time. Communities around the country are discovering daily that their water is polluted with per and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS. PFAS are a toxic, man-made class of chemicals, commonly known as “forever chemicals,” which were created by chemical companies for things like non-stick coating or fire fighting foam. However, PFAS have been linked to serious health impacts like cancer, birth defects, and more.
From the get go, impacted communities have known that there are no safe levels of PFAS in our drinking water. We have been working alongside side communities in the Northeast and nationally to fight for just that. It’s time to turn the tap off contamination, make polluters pay, and ensure that a contamination crisis like this never happens again.
For too long, powerful corporate interests have kept us hooked on polluting fossil fuels as our primary energy source. The result is an energy system that harms our health and our planet, that operates behind closed doors with zero accountability, and that is dragging its feet on the transition to clean, renewable options. Through generations, polluting facilities have consistently been placed in lower income communities of color, cementing an environmentally racist landscape where the same neighborhoods are battling threats on multiple fronts.
Burning coal, gas, oil, or wood for energy produces greenhouse gas emissions, toxic gasses, and tiny particulate matter that cause pulmonary issues, cardiac disease, cancers, and more. As residents in Springfield, MA have long pointed out, “We breathe what you burn.” It is past time to shift to alternative sources of energy like wind, solar, and storage, and to incorporate crucial tools such as energy efficiency, microgrids, and demand response to create a cleaner, healthier, more resilient system.
From fracked gas pipelines to fossil fuel power plants, we are working with residents who are on the frontlines of our energy system’s harmful history and present. Together, we are ensuring a just transition to a future with transparency, accountability, distributed energy, and clean, renewable sources.
We envision a world where everyone can live, work, and play in communities that are safe, healthy, and sustainable. Where communities have all the resources they need to tap into their power, make their voices heard, and determine their own futures.
We work in partnership with the communities most impacted by pollution to root out environmental racism and classism.
Our work is guided and led by community members living on the frontlines of environmental pollution.
No one should have to face problems alone, so we show up for communities facing down corporate polluters and unresponsive governments.
We take pride in our work and in bringing people together to solve problems and give new leaders in the environmental justice movement the skills and support to advocate for their communities and for a better world.
Residents are the best advocates for their communities. We don’t speak for communities, we support communities and local leaders in speaking for themselves.
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2022-2023 Annual Report