Theo Colborn, an environmental health analyst who was best known for her studies on the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals, died on December 14, 2014. Theo was featured in the films "Dear Governor Hickenlooper" (Mountainfilm 2014) and "Bag It" (Mountainfilm 2010). Fractivist worked closely with Colborn during recent years and wrote this letter in her memory.
It’s with many tears that I write these words to you about how you and your work changed the course of my life. I will always honor our times together, discussing new theories over tea—you sitting in your chair with your leg propped over the side laughing about silly things or discussing the more serious topics of endocrine disruption, someone’s new scientific study and, of course, the fracking industry and its systemic effects on environmental and human health through the misuse of chemicals.
When we met years ago, you put me through a rigorous test to ensure I was capable, which allowed me to demonstrate that I could protect and assist you and your work for the greatest positive social change. Somehow I passed that test and am forever grateful just for the opportunity—let alone the years we shared afterward working together.
Ever since I was a young boy, Carl Sagan’s research and humanitarian brilliance tucked me into bed at night via . Although I never met Carl, he was my most influential mentor until I met you. You both shared the tenacity of truth, a way of exploring facts without personal bias and without giving up on the journey. You imparted a deep sense of faculty in uncovering the truth and using it to protect our environment and those who are naturally determined to thrive in it.
As one of many leaders in the anti-fracking-turned-civil-rights movement, your scientific studies were at the tip of every spear used by grassroots organizations to arm themselves with the best science available regarding air chemistry near fracking industry operations.
I cited your research at hundreds of public presentations nationwide and recall that when I gave lectures on fracking, you would send me a note that read “Knock their socks off, Shane…”
I enjoyed every bit of work I did with you, Theo, and am honored to have helped you in any small way that I could. But far more importantly, I learned that “deep inside everyone, there is something bigger and stronger than we are aware of at this time that cannot be suppressed by man-made chemicals—something that will prompt some very exceptional leadership to step forward with the courage to turn off corporate control of the government and the world and take back for society what it needs to thrive.”
As Carl Sagan said, “We are all made of star stuff.” But you, Theo, are made of the finest star stuff the universe has ever created—you are a universal treasure.
I will always see you in the stars.
Shane Davis is a data-miner, activist, biologist and the founder of Fractivist.org, an anti-fracking investigative organization. His research has empowered dozens of grassroots organizations and public debates nationwide. He was featured in the collaborative film (Mountainfilm 2014).