WELL TRANSITIONS TO GREEN SCIENCE POLICY INSTITUTE
WELL Network began in 2001 as a small group of committed, influential women with a shared concern about environmental health and its connection to our own.
Despite our healthy lifestyles, many of us, and our friends and family members had faced serious illnesses. We worried that some health problems might be related to the pervasiveness of chemicals in the air, water, food, and products we use every day. The risks to human health and the environment of widely used chemicals are largely unknown. We wanted to educate one another, other women, and our elected leaders about the potential dangers. WELL Network was born.
WELL Network sponsored meetings, workshops, and conferences about the need for caution, study, and reform in chemical use. In March 2006, we hosted a California Chemicals Policy Symposium and invited nonprofit, government and business leaders, and scientists. One of those scientists was Arlene Blum, a PhD chemist, environmental health advocate, author, and mountain climber who, as a post doc at Stanford in the 1970s, published research that contributed to stopping the use of cancer-causing Tris flame retardants in children's sleepwear.
WELL Network’s symposium rekindled Arlene’s passion for scientific research and policy work to protect our health and environment from toxic chemicals, and connected her to others who shared this mission. She founded the Green Science Policy Institute in Berkeley, and has been working full time with scientists, government, industry, and NGO’s to stop the use of flame retardant chemicals in furniture. The Green Science Policy Institute has since prevented the unnecessary use of hundreds of millions of pounds of toxic chemicals in consumer products worldwide.
“I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t gone to WELL Network’s meeting and reconnected to using science to protect our health,” says Arlene.
WELL’s Board of Directors met with Arlene and recognized an exciting opportunity. In November 2012 the Board voted to transfer WELL’s 501c3 tax-exempt status to the Green Science Policy Institute—shortcutting the time and expense of a lengthy application process to the IRS, and enabling the Institute to raise funds at a time when green chemicals policy is in the national spotlight.
Arlene and the Green Science Policy Institute were recently featured in the New York Times Magazine “How Dangerous is Your Couch;" the Chicago Tribune investigative series, Playing with Fire; and on NPR. You can learn more about this important work and how to limit exposure to toxic chemicals at www.greensciencepolicy.org where you can sign up to receive a monthly newsletter.
We’re proud of what WELL has done to steadily build awareness and influence and forge connections with those who share our commitment to a healthy environment for all Californians. More than a thousand people have attended WELL-sponsored events over the years, including state legislators, foundation leaders, writers, entrepreneurs, activists, and parents seeking a healthy future for their families.
Our leadership can be seen many ways: in the trips we led to The Netherlands for environmentalists and policymakers; the research and policy papers we published; our testimonies before the Congress and the State Legislature on the need for stronger chemical regulations; the UN forum on green planning; and the Fort Baker Leadership Summits, which demonstrated greener, fairer alternatives to California’s disconnected policies for air, water, land, and the economy.
Just as we see the economy, environment, and a healthy future as inseparable, we see WELL Network as inextricably linked to many individuals and organizations working for a better California. We are excited about this transition for Arlene Blum, the staff at Green Science Policy Institute, and for WELL Network.
Thank you, for helping WELL Network to make a difference.