Clean Water Rule; Celebrations and Concerns

 

The beautiful Virginia wetlands who are threatened by pollution if the Clean Water Rule is changed again

Our Beautiful Wetlands source of our clean water

Our visit to JFK library was a great success, a good outing for the group giving us time to socialize and get to know one another’ families as well. The library is impressive and extremely interesting, I particular liked the Presidential Getaway exhibit about Cape Cod and the Kennedy home there and the exhibit about Jackie Kennedy. We had an amazing time and had lots to chat about on our way home, definitely recommended for a visit.

As a group we had a visitor this week, we invited a member of Environment Virginia to come and talk with us. This ecological group is a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization and a project of Environment America. I was expecting a talk about Virginia’s carbon footprint but instead we had a very interesting presentation on clean water and specifically in Virginia. As the rest of the population I was aware that there were concerns over our streams and rivers but not fully cognizant of what was happening. Unfortunately a claim too many of us make when considering our environment. Thank goodness for organizations such as Environment Virginia.

The chemical spill in January 2014 in West Virginia highlighted the terrible consequences of not taking care of our rivers and wetlands. Loop holes in the law on clean water have inhibited environmentalists with keeping the water clean. Those loopholes have now been partially resolved with Obama’s support. Over 28,000 of Virginia streams will come under Federal Protection, 57% of the waterways! The measure signed end of May 2015, ensures that Clean Water Act safeguards are now in place to protect them. Of great concern has been out wetlands which are one of the protections we have against flooding this act will further protect. Whist this is a magnificent victory for all the hardworking people fighting to change this loophole that allows companies to pollute our streams, there is still concern that this change for the better could be challenged in the Senate. Already a key subcommittee has adopted a measure to thwart the clean water rule. This summer will be critical for the fight to protect our water.

The presentation initiated a lot of discussion and questions, as a group we have decided to further pursue this and see how we can assist. Let us know your feelings and suggestions.

 

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Becoming a more cohesive group.

My last post talked a little about how personal feelings can affect our judgements and how that in turn affects the group and the work we are trying to do.  The decision to look for mentors was well received when it was first discussed but not as easy to implement as we thought.  Questions have been raised on the integrity of the group, if issues are discussed with third parties, issues of trust and confidentiality also were raised.  Obviously this needs some consideration, as a group we have decided to hold off on the idea of individual mentors. A substantial discussion took place around this issue and we felt a consensus that we did actually deal with issues within the group itself and that process was maybe not fully recognised. Obviously the matter of faith and its conflict needs to be decided at a personal level, by whatever means that person deems fit. As representatives of our individual communities it is again a personal responsibility to keep our fingers on the pulse of the said community. It was felt we already have good connections with our religious and community leaders, as that is how the group evolved in the first place, we just have to ensure this continues.

 

JFK Challenge launched by the JFK Presidential Library

This whole exercise was a learning experience in how we run the group, and certainly we expect to have to deal with contentious  items that may cause disagreement but we are now more than ever positive we can work together to achieve a consensus. We have decided as with any other group the more we do together the more cohesive we will become. To that end, next week as a group we will be visiting the JFK Presidential Library, in February 2015 the JFK challenge was initiated by the library to encourage our children to learn more about American History and asks them by playing via an app, to become trainees in the Peace Corp or NASA,  being prepared to “Fly to the moon or help people around the world.”  I for one will be very interested in learning more about this challenge and how it is progressing and what if any part religious aspects are addressed. This video explains a little more about the challenge.

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