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Meet The Team: Canada

Justin Thurn:  Regional Representative for Alberta

Justin Thurn: MCS International Regional Representative for Alberta, Canada The Chemical Connection:  I have been sick for as long as I can remember. As a child I often suffered flu-like symptoms just from washing my hands with perfumed soap. Even spending the first five years of my life in the "clean" air of a farm did me more harm than good -- herbicides and insecticides are just the thing to do. It's all part of the business.

Finally, in July 2005, I was pushed over the edge by a puff of Febreeze. I was temporarily paralyzed, my brain refused to function, and somehow I knew what was happening; I knew that my body had finally gotten fed up.

Through enormous blessing I found a naturopathic doctor who sprang into action and nailed down my condition right away. My mercury, tin, and arsenic levels were through the roof, not to mention the untold amounts of other toxic substances. We found that my liver had been severely impaired in some key ways, and we set about correcting the problem. I was finally able to function after about a year.

I am still housebound, cut off from all physical society, and chained to my air purifier, but at least I was able to attend my wedding, and my mind is finally intact.

Background Information:  I am 20-years-old, and I recently moved to Edmonton, Alberta with my wife, Kimberley. I have withdrawn from university and obviously cannot work, so I spend a great deal of time reading, researching and writing. My aspiration is to become a full-time professional writer of fiction, and so far it looks fairly promising.

I am an activist -- a misfit even -- and I believe strongly in justice, honesty and humility. My life has always been a struggle with myself about what those things mean, how to attain them for myself, how to teach them to others, and how to make the world better.

I am also a member and/or supporter of several other causes, including the Adbusters Media Foundation and its campaigns, Save the Internet, Make Poverty History, Independent World Television, and many more.

To sum up my personality all I have to say is this: I am in my world to change it. My life involves me, but it is not about me. Having MCS means one thing only: I have MCS. Having this condition does not drive me to change things; my desire for justice and goodness drives me to change things. Radical ideas, radical love, radical lifestyle, radical change are all part of me. All in all, I find great joy in my life. Dow Chemical cannot hope to stop that.

The Wider Context:  I tend to believe that even fighting for MCS rights and recognition is a small, even menial thing in the face of why there is no recognition, why suffering goes unheeded, why chemicals have not disappeared despite the obvious history of death and destructive consequences. The answer can be summed up in what Hideo Kojima once said: "Let's blame greed, because it's poisoning the soul. Greed can kill anything." I believe that we need a 100% paradigm shift in order to be successful in this campaign or any other.

Fighting against Monsanto, R.J. Reynolds, or Wal-Mart (Asda) is a worthy cause, but what fuels companies like these is greed. There are even laws that make it illegal for companies not to be greedy.

A toxic world is but one aspect of this paradigm. Toxic cultures, toxic societies, toxic mental environments abound. Consumption is the new religion, and over-consumption is the new fashion. Destroy greed. Destroy that for which all of this horror stands, and the paradigm will crumble.

I am only the third generation to descend from the era when petrochemicals first came into big time use, and I am now likely permanently disabled at the age of twenty in the name of money and progress. What will happen to the next generation if the paradigm does not change? Basically what I'm saying is this: realign your perceptions.

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