CCW Member Interviewed in National Webinar Series About Community Activists and Leaders
“Pushing Back Against Polluters: Living Room Leadership with Tom Kilian of Citizens for a Clean Wausau”
Citizens for a Clean Wausau’s Tom Kilian was interviewed by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) as part of a national webinar series developed to continue sharing the stories of community activists and leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the interview, Kilian, one of the founding members of Citizens for a Clean Wausau, referenced an African proverb when describing the ability of modest neighborhoods and small groups to move the needle, even when powerful corporations or polluters are involved: “If you think you’re too little to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito. We’ve become that mosquito here on these issues.”
Citizens for a Clean Wausau is a small group of volunteers that was founded in 2018 to monitor the activities and impacts of significant current and past local polluters. The group won one of only a handful of statewide watchdog awards from the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council in 2019. The group’s research and work has also contributed to multiple government environmental investigations. Kilian was named one of Wausau’s People of the Year in 2019 by the Wausau Daily Herald and Citizen of the Year in 2020 by the Marathon County Labor Council. He was elected to the Wausau City Council in April 2020.
Past guests in the CHEJ webinar series have included Jackie Young Medcalf, the founder and Executive Director of the Texas Health & Environment Alliance; Linda Robles, the founder of the Environmental Justice Task Force in Tucson, AZ; and Lou Zeller from the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) in North Carolina.