Last week I got a wonderful dose of time with our LEAD Agency Youth Activists in Training and being with them was like being with people who will be my newest lifelong friends for the environment. We started with a small group and still didn't finish the training we had planned, so Part II takes place this Friday from 10 to 2 again at our office and more trainings will follow in the future.
As an activist, days off are rare. But last Sunday I took one and missed a chicken fight meeting that was held in Colcord, OK. Kelly Bostian would attend, I knew he would and from his writing in the Tulsa World I felt like I had attended. The people were lined in his photo in rows and voiced the concerns I expected them to be recorded saying, water shortages, bad odors, truck traffic and this is before the rest of nearly one hundred new chicken houses are to be built. They are stacking them practically on top of one another and all of them are pulling water from wells. And what got my attention, what made me wonder why on earth I hadn't gotten myself up and gone to that meeting, was the water from those wells is coming from the aquifers. Our aquifers: the Boone and the Roubidoux. Lots of chickens drink lots of water and the meter isn't running on the wells they are pulling from.
There was a moratorium on putting wells into the Roubidoux in Kansas awhile back because the way water works in aquifers is a study all its own. But what I was told and am sharing with you is the hydraulic pressure pulling too much water out of one aquifer creates pressure that draws that bad water in the Boone down into the Roubidoux in the cone of something. All sorts of people were at that meeting in Colcord, people who know water. And they better speak up and figure out how to consider the future, because without water there is no future. Those aquifers are generally old water, very old sequestered water stored through the ages for the future. Pull it all up for chickens here, pull it up for fracking operations other places and the future is sucked right out the door of the truck hauling those chickens to that new facility that did not get built here, that will use a lot more water in the slaughtering of the fowls.
Another chicken fight meeting was held in Peggs a few weeks ago and there will be more meetings. People care about their homes, their way of life and don't like change. I am that way and most people are, as well. Most don't speak out until an issue starts impacting that world of theirs. They wake up. Lots of times once they are woke up, they are generally more apt to stay awake, watchful and pay attention for the next buzzard to land nearby and when it does, they want to be ready. We missed out on the great opportunity a huge chicken processing facility could be when an Arkansas site was chosen, but the folks just not too far from us in the counties just a ways down the road are going to have their lives changed with what comes next. That new processing plant must be fed and the houses must be built to raise the birds that feed the processor and for the most part those grown birds will be bound to overseas markets. But the news on NPR last Monday morning was that the market was crashing for our food giants because of the tariffs and trade wars that are set to begin. Will that be the reprieve the chicken neighborhoods get? The aquifers get? could the trade war save our water?
What a possibility. We will have to watch and we definitely will be inviting the chicken fight activists to come to the 20th National Environmental Conference at Tar Creek and we will definitely invite those hydrologists to explain a bit better than I have how the hydrologic pressure creates that cone that sucks bad water down into our precious Roubidoux. All for chickens we are not raising or processing and certainly not going to have at our next Sunday dinner at grandma's.
We had chicken fighters on-line with our Youth Activists in Training and will again since it makes sense: we are connected by water. Folks in our community have filled the Miami Civic Center in times past, banding together to stand up for water and against Big Chicken who will need to stay tuned to these issues. It is their water, too.
Respectful of Water ~ Rebecca Jim