Barbara George, founder of Women's Energy Matters (www.womensenergymatters.org) was a multitalented beautiful artist, activist, expert, friend. She died on November 7, 2013 of an aggressive lymphoma shortly after the successful campaign to keep the San Onofre nuclear power reactors closed forever and after many years challenging the California Public Utility Commission to support energy efficiency and renewable energy to replace nuclear, coal and gas.
She saw what needed to be done and did it, encouraging others to do the same. She realised the pubic needed to know about nuclear power, so she developed a one-woman show, 'Everything You Wanted to Know About Nuclear Power But Were Afraid to Ask', and took it on the road across the US awakening many who would never have gone to a meeting of talking heads. She started her antinuclear work with the Shad Alliance and the successful campaign to shut down Shoreham nuclear power reactor in Long Island, New York which closed after operating for the equivalent of two days over a two year period.
Barbara was part of the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice which had sister camps around the world. She was involved in the Hunters Point Community, one of the last black neighbourhoods in San Francisco, the place where ships from Pacific nuclear weapons bombing had been brought for "cleaning," and the departure point for nuclear waste dumping in the Farallon Islands. She introduced the US Nuclear Information and Resource Service to truckers from Hunters Point who transported radioactive and hazardous waste on a regular basis and they joined a legal challenge to US Department of Transportation and US Nuclear Regulatory Commission efforts to weaken nuclear transport regulations that would then be used to allow nuclear waste to go to regular trash and everyday recycling.
Barbara worked on the long, hard, campaign that stopped the proposed Ward Valley nuclear waste dump on land sacred to five Native American nations and bordering habitat for the endangered desert tortoise. Her relentless work at the California Public Utility Commission exposed meagre funding for renewables and incompetence of the regulator and the Investor Owned Utilities. Simultaneously, she advocated for public power and helped create the Marin County, California Community Choice Aggregation system, a model for other communities to break from electric companies and buy their own power.
Barbara knew that life is precious and short, so took the time occasionally to let it all go and swim in California's springs, hike on the beaches and enjoy healthy meals with friends. Her home was a workshop full of colour and flowers, art and beauty among voluminous documents and testimony.
How lucky we are to have known and worked with Barbara, a brave, knowledgeable, inspiring and highly skilled intervenor in the corrupt processes that give us nuclear instead of truly clean power.
− Diane D'Arrigo, US Nuclear Information and Resource Service
With thanks to Roger Herried, Abalone Alliance Clearinghouse Archivist and Louise Dunlap