When you open the official community web page for Vero Beach, Florida, you are confronted with soft focus image of a stretch of Atlantic Beach. Clean, white sand in the foreground is accented with seagulls and a healthy amount of seaweed, and the sky in the background is blue. Underneath the photo a cation reads: “Discover our Lifestyle Choices.”
Vero Beach is a resort community on the East Coast of Florida. It distinguishes itself from other resort communities on the East Coast of Florida through its “priorities on art, education, culture, and unequaled lifestyles.” And really, life in Vero Beach does seem to be pretty nice.
Among its almost 20,000 residents are seven national merit students, forty-six volunteers for the elderly, and one international criminal wanted for the culpable homicide of over 8000 people in India.
Welcome to the “unequaled lifestyle” of Warren Anderson, 82 year-old ex-CEO of Union Carbide, who’s been splitting his time between a home in Bridgehampton, NY, and Vero Beach, FL, absconding from justice for the past thirteen years. Somehow, this notorious corporate criminal and overseer of the world’s worst environmental disaster has managed to avoid going to jail over the lives he shattered in Bhopal in 1984, and seems to be living pretty well these days.
Meanwhile, the 20,000 victims exposed to Union Carbide’s toxic release in Bhopal are still drinking contaminated water, suffering countless health problems, and waiting for compensation.
Diane Wilson is hunting Warren down to ask him to take a little responsibility for his actions in Bhopal, but he won’t be easy to find. There are eleven golf courses in the Bridgehampton area alone, and Warren could be sipping a mint julep at any one of them. The price point on that mint julep kind of makes you wonder whether the victims of Bhopal can even imagine the unequaled lifestyle of Warren Anderson. It also makes you wonder whether the residents of Vero Beach could imagine that their neighbor is responsible for the destruction of a community larger than Vero Beach itself.