While on that bridge that day, I spoke up about LEAD Agency’s pending application for a Waterkeeper and he assured me to just call his office and they would expedite it, which did result to the approval of the Grand Riverkeeper right away.
Last week’s Recycle Tar Creek Bike riders saw Tar Creek exactly as Mr. Kennedy had since no restoration efforts have been accomplished there yet, but they and the walkers learned last week from University of Oklahoma researcher Bob Nairn is bad water can be turned to good by allowing mine water discharge to flow by gravity through a series of “ponds” to passively treat the water to remove the heavy metals before it finds its way to Tar Creek. This is lessening the load Tar Creek delivers to the Neosho River and our Grand Lake.
June seventh held a great deal more significance to Bobby Kennedy, Jr. and he spoke of it that evening, recalling it was the anniversary of the assassination of his father Bobby Kennedy on the eve of winning the California primary while running for the Democratic nomination for President in 1968.
Powerful memories for all of us old enough to have remembered that day. Powerful moments for him to share. Years have passed quickly. He went on to reflect on other presidential campaigns and that the current administration leaves us “still with a fight on our hands.” With Waterkeepers from around the world surrounding him he said he wanted to continue to be our bull horn and serve us all as the president of the Waterkeeper Alliance. He certainly is going to get my vote! It is a job that suits him. As another speaker had said earlier, being a Waterkeeper isn’t always a resume builder, it is a mission, as I have discovered myself.
I attended the orientation for “New” Waterkeepers and recognized myself in one of the suggestions given by the Mobil Baykeeper, when she said we have to be the voice for our waterbody, fulltime.
Lauren Wood from the Green River Action Network in Utah allowed us all to find our voices with song lyrics, “People going to rise up like the water… singing Climate Justice Now.”
We will perish without water, fresh and clean water sustains us throughout our lives as it sustained the lives of all of our ancestors. Forrest Cuch, a Ute tribal member spoke about his experience at his tribe’s Sun Dance, a religious ritual, where the participants fast from food and water for four days. It is the lack of water that intensifies the experience and in the dry heat of the southwest and can be deadly, but also may lead to spiritual visions that are life changing.
Water is life is more than a slogan that became popular with the Standing Rock movement to stop a pipeline. It is the truth as the Sun Dance participants learn in ceremony. Water is also fragile and must be protected from extraction of fossil fuels and other minerals, industrial and agricultural runoff.
People around the globe are speaking up for water, many have joined or created organizations to become stronger advocates. They began to give our water a voice. Waterkeeper Alliance is recognized as the most important organization in the world focused on the stewardship and protection of the world's water bodies.
Waterkeepers around the world fight polluters, but also we need to be advocates for clean energy, in order to save our atmosphere and save our planet from rising seawater as the planet warms. We are all going to have to “rise up like the water with voices singing Climate Justice Now.” Residents in two US states are facing relocation due to climate change. 350 Alaskan natives in Newtok are moving because of rising seas and melting permafrost while the Louisiana island home for 29 homes of members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw and United Houma Nation tribes is sinking.
Robert Kennedy, Jr. thought Tar Creek was broken and could not be fixed, but if a billion dollars is made in profit and an expensive mess is left behind, it will take time and money to clean it up. We expect to see you at the 19th National Environmental Tar Creek Conference September 26 and 27 so you will find how it can be fixed and when it is going to happen and perhaps help you find your own voice for water and justice.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim