Information Resource Guide

Civic Engagement

Film Inquiry Research and Media Education (FIRME) Productions. (2012). Retrieved from

  • FIRME aims to engage high school youth in using video media as a means to express themselves and bring about social change.
  • One student film, “The Contaminated Valley” (2007) details pollution problems facing the community of Thermal through the eyes of the residents. It was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency and won best film in the 2006 Palm Springs Student Film Festival. The film can be viewed at

Honoré, M. (2012, March 25). Mecca’s Misery, Chapter 7: EPA, other agencies step in. The Desert Sun. Retrieved from

  • “On May 6 2011, after a series of reports in The Desert Sun describing the turmoil in Mecca, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer wrote a blunt letter to the EPA demanding that the agency act urgently to find and stop the source of the odor. This was followed by a visit by Boxer and Erin Brockovich to Saul Martinez Elementary.”
  • The DTSC review could either cause Western to meet new standards, but if the cost of making changes proves to be too high, the company could chose to either close production, or continue to operate.
  • Despite the hope the report could bring, residents feel the problem will not be resolved until the plant completely halts production

Honoré, M. (2011, August 18). Activist Erin Brockovich, Sen. Barbara Boxer praise Mecca students for raising red flags on odor. The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, CA). Retrieved from

  • Boxer met privately with teachers, administrators, as well as state and federal officials at Saul Martinez Elementary School. It was an opportunity for the senator to praise the EPA after the Republicans called the agency a “meddlesome bureaucracy.” Boxer also praised the students for raising red flags on the issue.

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