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People sometimes ask me how we select our meeting topics. There isn’t any particular formula to how we do our work, but I like to tell people that we try to answer for ourselves: What is the question that isn’t being asked, but needs to be asked? In my head I have an image of a bead of water building up on a hard-packed sandy beach, but still held together by surface tension among the water molecules. If you scratch a little runway along one edge of the pooled water, it will begin to run out in that direction.Read More
It has been more than three years since the participants in The Johnson Foundation’s Freshwater Summit issued its Freshwater Call to Action, asking leaders from all sectors of society to address the challenges facing the United States’ freshwater resources. Paging back through the document from today’s vantage, it seems more prescient than ever.Read More
I love water. I love rivers. And when I travel, it’s not unusual for me to want to find the local river or water body. As the former Executive Director of the Milwaukee Riverkeeper®, I have a special place in my heart for urban rivers and the challenges they and their human neighbors face. But in the mythos of urban rivers, the Los Angeles River is Mecca.Read More
One of the things I remember my father saying about Mundy Point, a small peninsula of land on Virginia’s coastal plain that I’ve been visiting since before I had braces, was that it was blessed with an artesian water system. At the time I didn’t fully understand what that meant, but I knew it was good.Read More
A few days ago, the New York Times ran a piece about increasing rail traffic in the Pacific Northwest due to growing shipments of oil from the Bakken fields in North Dakota, as well as coal headed for westward export across the Pacific Ocean. While this increased traffic is great for the rail business, it means very busy tracks in Spokane, Wash., the pinch point through which the trains all travel.Read More
Last week I had the honor of posting a piece on the blog for Growing Blue, a project dedicated to water sustainability, including economic sustainability. You can see it on the Growing Blue site, http://growingblue.com/2013/06/25/weathering-the-perfect-storm/ but I've also pasted the text below.Read More
How many times do we have to remind ourselves of the difference between wants and needs? If forced to sort through the material goods in my life, there’s no question that I’d put clean water into my bucket of ‘needs’. But that doesn’t mean I can’t splash some of it over into my ‘want’ bucket too. Sometimes (often times) we want water for the sheer joy of it, especially on the long, clear days that mark the start of summer.Read More
When you use electricity, what do you think of? When I turn on a light, or hear the dehumidifier humming in the basement, I might think about carbon dioxide emissions, or streams that are impacted near the coal fields of my mother’s home state of West Virginia. Maybe I think about my next electric bill. But one thing that’s for certain: I think about how much water is being used with every kilowatt hour of electricity that I use.Read More
Two weeks ago at this time I was saying good-bye to a small group of experts who had gathered at Wingspread to discuss the ways that our country’s water infrastructure could provide solutions to some of the challenges that lie ahead, especially those tied to a changing climate.Read More