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In reflecting on the Clean Water Act's 40th anniversary this fall I wrote a number of columns about life before the Act, and why we should appreciate and continue to defend it today. In the course of doing this I enjoyed asking people what they remembered about our nation's rivers before the Clean Water Act. This triggered my uncle, Richard Harris of Charleston WV, to write me an email about the role that my grandfather (his father) played in bringing sewage treatment to the Elk River, upstream from where it enters the Kanawha River at Charleston.Read More
I love underdogs, especially ones with gumption. This is why the story of reclaiming the Los Angeles River immediately drew me in, even before I knew that it had been made into a feature film.Read More
Two days ago, just in time for the American high holy day of Halloween, Marc and I returned from a vacation spent with my mother and her husband, Helen and Bob Payne. They now live in coastal South Carolina, but both are natives of Charleston, West Virginia. Having just reflected on the Clean Water Act's 40th anniversary, I thought I'd ask them what they remembered of West Virginia's waters before the Act came to pass.Read More
Today's the day. The 40th anniversary of the passage of the Clean Water Act. Among those of us professional environmentalists, there has been a lot of attention given to this anniversary, perhaps in no small part because of the intense pressure from some sectors to repeal or at least eviscerate the Act. Last week I joined about 180 celebrants at Milwaukee Riverkeeper's anniversary event, and tonight I will stop by a similar shindig in Madison, Wisconsin hosted by River Network, River Alliance of WI, Interfluve, and others.Read More
Lake Michigan is beautiful year 'round, but there's only a short window of time when it's warm enough for enjoyable swimming. This summer, with its record-high temperatures, that window cranked open a bit early. This hit home for me on Saturday when my husband and I went kayaking. Wading into the water with my boat, the warm water lured me in. We'd had a fair amount of rain in the preceding days and Bender Park, where we put in, was closed for swimming due to the high bacterial count, but I made a mental note that the season had arrived.Read More
Last week I had the opportunity to join a number of my Johnson Foundation colleagues for the annual dinner of the Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce (RAMAC). Racine is home to a number of manufacturers - RUUD Lighting, Emerson (parent company of Insinkerator), and Case Manufacturing, to name a few, as well as SC Johnson and Diversey, the two companies that generously provide the bulk of our foundation's budget.Read More
How many times have you seen a list of water-conservation tips that includes "Turn off the water when brushing your teeth"? I'm not sure about you, but when I read that I think "Really? Can't we do a little better?" Turning off the water while brushing or scrubbing is the least we can do. I say, let's take it up a notch. Here are a few rambling thoughts to get started:Read More