About me

Paul has been involved in environmental toxicants since about 1993, first with plastics and pesticides. Other topics include GMOs, nuclear power generation, depleted uranium (DU) and more.

Paul Goettlich was called “Ahead of his time” in the book ‘Plastic Ocean’ by Capt. Charles J. Moore, the founder of the Algalita Marine Research and Education Institute in Long Beach, California. But in order for him to be ahead in a useful way, he’d have to have been born several decades earlier. And then still, his education in environmental toxicants got a late start. It had to wait until after his career as an architect when he became a stay-at-home parent. His response to the good Captain’s praise is that he should pay attention more attention. We must change along with the times and current knowledge. In this case, it means to realize that as long as plastics are made, nothing will change or can be changed in useful ways and all life on Earth will only be further burdened under the vast weight of all that plastic as its production increases.

On the other hand, a professor emeritus of synthetic polymers at a southern American university derided Paul’s work on plastics as ‘fairy tales’ not worthy of a serious glance. But when Paul asked him to stipulate which part or concept was untrue, the professor emeritus demurred with the explanation that he would like to comment but that doing so would damage his career.

The only thing that could mean was that there may be some small issues in his text or ideas that the professor was not familiar with because of his deep involvement in the field. But this professor felt compelled by peer pressure to avoid having any contact, especially the slightest hint of acceptance. While some people may have been dismayed by his lack of comment, Paul reasoned that it was a positive response, as it further supports his claim that the industry bullies those involved in plastics to be obedient and to relinquish their values in order to profit from the spoils of that industry.  

As a member of the Sierra Club Genetic Engineering Committee I promoted education about the harm of GMOs through sponsoring speakers who were prominent opponents such as Percy Schmeiser (Canada) and Devinder Sharma (India). But in general, the Sierra Club is for nature lovers and bird watchers, not serious environmentalists and activists. One serious flaw in its genetic engineering policies is that they are prohibited by their board from dealing with any life other than that which grows in the ground. In other words, no animals or medicines.

As the as its health advisor to the Berkeley Plastics Task Force in about 2000, attempted to convince them into visible action against plastics. Their 1996 Report essentially stated that plastics are not actually being recycled and that it wasn’t economically viable. But they would take no further action because the organization was funded by the recycling program of the City of Berkeley, California. In spite of my article on Endocrine Disruptors, they refused to get involved as it would have gone against corporate funders. At one point they copied my website and published it on their own website, as if it was their own work.

As a board member of the Hoosier Environmental Council in Indiana, I encouraged a broadening of the focus of their basic agenda and vastly increased exposure on their website. Eventually the website was shut down because corporate funders that produce toxic products threatened to withdraw support ($).

I was also a board member of a Berkeley, CA nonprofit named Thimmakka after an Indian environmentalist, Saalumarada Thimmakka. Its main mission in Berkeley and through the East Bay was a project called The Greening of the South Asian Restaurants. I gained a new understanding of South Asian culture and maintain close ties with them. One who I especially love is now living in Mumbai and her business is Queer Ink. . . Changing the popular narrative of LGBTHQIA+ India.

I’m especially proud to have spent many hundreds of hours working with Melvin Dickson at his Commemoration Committee for the Black Panther Party in Berkeley, CA.  I edited their newspaper, did computer work, did photography and audio recordings of events. Melvin gave me knowledge of black history in America, The Black Panther Party, as well as socialism. He had been a cook at the Panthers’ Oakland School.

Melvin Dickson (1940-2018) and Paul Goettlich in 2008

I was also an active member of the St Joseph County Greens in South Bend IN. There I met many great environmentalists like Tom Brown who taught me the basics of web design. Together we created and ran their website. Tom taught me a lot about Buddhism and also ran the South Bend Meditation Group in South Bend, IN.

My comments have been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Berkeley Daily Planet, South Bend Tribune and others. A couple articles on plastic in Living Nutrition magazine and in Socialist Action. A chapter in Fundamentals of Naturopathic Endocrinology.

And I’ve spent many tens of thousand of hours researching at the UC Berkeley biology library and communicating directly with the best academic scientists.

While I’ve been somewhat silent for over ten years, I’m back. During my sabbatical, I worked as an intern pastry chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, a Miette Bakery in San Francisco and a Thai restaurant called Vanni’s. I took up baking when I remembered my mother’s and grandmother’s delicious works. It occurred to me that “When the going gets tough, the tough go baking!

I later homesteaded with my family in southern Oregon where we raised goats, sheep, chickens, strawberries, blueberries a wide variety of greens. We sold our organic greens and eggs at a local farmers’ market.

In my early life, I studied architecture and worked as an architect for many years prior to digging into environmental work. The largest building I had experience with was the World Trade Center in Manhattan. My structural steel professor in school was working at designing its structure while teaching us. The smallest building was a chicken coop at our homestead. But I’ve designed and overseen the construction of a wide range of buildings including industrial, commercial, HUD housing, a courthouse, universities and grammar schools, even back porches.

I once crewed on a Greek oil tanker out of St Johns, Newfoundland. . . drove a taxi cab in Manhattan and worked in an art supply store. . . been a lifeguard and bagged groceries at a supermarket. . . was a professional house painter in CT and MA. . . and a short order cook in VT. I prefer hitch-hiking to driving. I own no motor vehicle and travel by bus or train. If I must travel across and ocean, I plan to book passage on a freighter.

Lastly, I had a very popular website called mindfully(dot)org more than a decade ago. I gave it up when I began homesteading. I’ll add some of those old files here in the future. Visit the Internet Archive for a historical view of it https://web.archive.org/web/20230000000000*/mindfully.org

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