in Events
August 20, 2010

EcoBirth presents A lecture by Dr. Sandra Steingraber – ecologist, mother and author (full bio below)

“The Intimate Ecology of Motherhood”  on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010, 7:30 pm

Steingraber, brilliant writer, mother of two, and respected biologist, has been called the “Rachel Carson of our day” by the Sierra Club.

With a panel of local experts from the environmental and birthing communities and practical handouts on what you can do to live a safer, non-toxic life.

Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010, 7:30 pm at the Jewish Community Center San Francisco,  3200 California St. San Francisco, CA 94118

Buy your ticket now, only $18 –

SF Bay Area PSR is proud to co-sponsor this event.

For further information : Molly Arthur,, 415-435-8031

Steingraber Bio

“Steingraber’s ability to meld literary prose with complex scientific information has made her a best-selling author. Like her hero Rachel Carson, whose 1962 book Silent Spring led to the ban on the pesticide DDT and kick-started the grass-roots environmental movement, Steingraber somehow finds language beautiful and compelling enough to seduce readers to sit through a science lesson.”The Sun, January 2010

Called “a poet with a knife” by Sojourner magazine, Steingraber has received many honors for her work as a science writer.  She was named a Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year and later received the Jenifer Altman Foundation’s first annual Altman Award for “the inspiring and poetic use of science to elucidate the causes of cancer.”  The Sierra Club has heralded Steingraber as “the new Rachel Carson,” and Carson’s own alma mater, Chatham College, selected Steingraber to receive its biennial Rachel Carson Leadership Award. In 2006, Steingraber received a Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Fund and, in 2009, the Environmental Health Champion Award from Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles.

In her electrifying book, Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood, Sandra Steingraber, brilliant writer, mother, and respected biologist, explores the intimate ecology of motherhood. Both a memoir of her own pregnancy and an investigation of fetal toxicology, Having Faith reveals the extent to which environmental hazards now threaten each stage of infant development.  In the eyes of an ecologist, the mother’s body is the first environment for life. The Library Journal selected Having Faith as a best book of 2001, and it was featured in a PBS documentary by Bill Moyers.

Full of beauty and mystery, this month-by-month story of her own pregnancy and childbirth weaves into its telling new discoveries about genetics, the intimate unfolding of embryonic organs, the architecture of the fetal brain, and the astonishing transformation of the mother’s body as it prepares to nourish and protect the new life. At the same time, Steingraber reveals the alarming extent to which environmental hazards—from industrial poisons found in amniotic fluid to the toxic contamination of breast milk—now threaten each crucial stage of infant development.

Never before has the metamorphosis of a few cells into a baby seemed so astonishingly vivid, and never before have the environmental dangers to conception, pregnancy, and to the continuation of healthy human generations been described with such clarity and urgency. In Having Faith, poetry and science combine in both a lyrical celebration and a passionate call to arms.

“When I hold in my hands a tube of my own amniotic fluid, I am holding a tube full of raindrops. Amniotic fluid is also the juice of orange that I had for breakfast, and the milk that I poured over my cereal, and the honey I stirred into my tea. It is inside the green cells of spinach leaves and the damp flesh of apples. It is the yolk of an egg. When I look at amniotic fluid, I am looking at rain falling on orange groves. I am looking at melon fields, potatoes in wet earth, frost on pasture grasses. Whatever is in the world’s water is here in my hands.”- from Having Faith

An enthusiastic and sought-after public speaker, Steingraber has keynoted conferences on human health and the environment throughout the United States and Canada and has been invited to lecture at many universities, medical schools, and teaching hospitals—including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. She is recognized for her ability to serve as a two-way translator between scientists and activists.

Interview with Having Faith, you were “a pregnant biologist searching for the voices of mothers and scientists,” resulting in an intimate, scientific look at pregnancy, fetal development, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Yet the book is also a spiritual journey, so beautifully displayed in the chapter on Faith’s birth itself. What have you learned of the sacred in our lives—in the connections between mother and child and environment—from that experience? What do you continue to learn from writing Having Faith now that you have two children?

Sandra Steingraber: Having babies was both the most ecstatic and the most biological thing that I’ve ever done. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s religious experience and a profoundly corporal experience all at once. The childbirth scene in Having Faith was my favorite scene to write and remains my favorite now. It’s where I could really use poetry to great advantage, with all its rhythmical and metrical possibilities. I could variously slow down and speed up the action depending on the syllabic construction of the words themselves. Poets are always messing around like this. It was fun to do this in prose.