Most of these blogs are simple diaries. People discussing their personal lives including events that may just be a bit too much information! Others use their blogs as soapboxes to spout their opinions on everything under the sun. There is an old saying about opinions and a certain body part that I find particularly true. I guess no one can make a blog without expressing their opinion. While I am just as guilty, I have tried to make this blog something more – sharing news about the folk music community.
Well, a few bloggers got together and came up with an idea that is starting to spread – and as the old advertisment claimed – unleashes the power of the Internet at your fingertips.
Today is “Blog Action Day” – an event that has been organized in a true grass roots fashion. They have put forward the suggestion that today, October 15, all bloggers discuss ONE topic – and this year the topic is the environment.
With a site dedicated to folk music, the subject of the environment is close to our heart.
Those of you who had a chance to listen to my radio show yesterday (WFDU-FM’s TRADITIONS) heard an interview with film maker Jim Brown about his latest film “Pete Seeger: The Power of Song“. We discussed Pete’s work with Clearwater – an environmental group that Pete inspired into existence. In 1966, Pete had an idea to recreate a sloop – a style of boat that dated back to the 18th century and at one time was a popular vessel on the Hudson River. With his home overlooking the Hudson, Pete had taken up sailing and was appalled by the garbage in the river. The Hudson River was a garbage dump – human waste, chemicals and all sorts of debris floated in the river. In the days before ecological consciousness took hold, businesses were actually encouraged to dump into the river.
Pete’s idea was to create a boat that would teach. People would come to the river to sail on the boat and see the damage that was being done. When Pete first came up with the idea, he was met with a lot of resistance. The Vietnam War was still going on. The Civil Rights movement was ongoing. Many people felt that building a boat would detract from those struggles and that the idea would not work.
Of course, Pete proved them wrong. The Clearwater was launched in 1969.
Think globally, act locally. It worked.
Today, you can swim in parts of the Hudson. Fish are returning. The Clearwater made a difference. The work that Pete started and was soon undertaken by dedicated volunteers made it possible for legislation to be enacted to clean up the river.
In addition to hundreds of sails during the season, the Clearwater also brings people to the river with their annual festival. Even more important, the Clearwater has served to inspire similar organizations across the country.
Contact the Clearwater at 112 Little Market St. in Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. Their phone number is 845-454-7673 and you can visit them on the web at www.clearwater.org .
The environment should not be a political issue. It is not a question of Republican versus Democrat or liberal versus conservative. It takes two eyes and an open mind to see what is happening and how it can be changed.
In our own backyard there is a wonderful group called the Hackensack Riverkeeper. WFDU is located on the campus of my alma mater, Fairleigh Dickinson University. The river splits the campus of FDU into the Hackensack and Teaneck sides. You can see the river from most parts of the campus, and when I was a student I certainly remember smelling the river.
Thanks to Hackensack Riverkeeper, the river is in better shape then when I was a student in 1975. There is still a great deal of work to be done. Hackensack Riverkeeper is serving as a protector of the enviroment – working with federal, state and local officials to identify polluters and to enforce the legislation that is protecting the river. Hackensack Riverkeeper promotes sustainable development of the river environment, which will help correct the damage done to the river over the decades.
Contact Hackensack Riverkeeper, Inc. at 231 Main Street in Hackensack, NJ 07601-7304. Their phone number is 201-968-0808 and you can visit them on the web at www.hackensackriverkeeper.org.