Thinking about Future Generations

Dec 14, 2016 | Citizen Advocacy, Members

We met Chuck this fall and heard about his paddling adventures – all 50 states, five Great Lakes, a streak of paddling at least once a month for over 28 years and nearly 18,000 lifetime miles! It’s an impressive accomplishment fueled by a deep connection to water. His passion for the health of our rivers and lakes stays with us. Chuck wants his four young grandsons to experience the peace and sense of wonder that our flowing waters offer. We understand how he feels every time we look at our own young children.

Thousands of acres of Wisconsin’s lakes were too toxic to swim in during the height of last summer. Some lakes and rivers are drying up altogether. Hundreds of thousands of households in Wisconsin’s agricultural areas are at risk of contaminated drinking water in their wells; the product of runoff from livestock manure and agricultural fertilizers. Unfortunately, decision-makers in the State Capitol have made matters worse in recent years. They’ve gutted fresh water protections and the ramifications on quality of life and public health has been dire. We think about what that means for Chuck, his grandsons, and our kids not just in the future but right here, right now.

Like River Alliance, Chuck is hopeful. Despite his concerns, he takes action in his own meaningful ways. Throughout his career as a teacher, he supported an environmental ethic in students with frequent trips to the natural areas that give him so much inspiration. “Maybe, even if just one or two of my students go on to be in a place or a business where they can change others’ attitudes, we can make progress.” And now, in retirement, Chuck is a member of River Alliance supporting this same idea of attitude change – advocacy.

Our role is to inform and engage the public on important issues that impact our waters. We share knowledge grounded in science and propose solutions that aim to build partnerships with a range of interests—farmers, lake property owners, concerned parents, paddlers and everyone else who has a stake in clean fresh water. For 23 years, River Alliance has built a community around our commitment to clean fresh water. We use our influence as a statewide organization with a strong, diverse membership base to advocate for good policy or defend against bad policy. Just like Chuck, we can’t affect change alone. We need more citizens like you to join us in the fight for clean fresh water.

Our voices gain strength in numbers. There is so much to do, and so much we can accomplish together. Here’s how you can help:

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Start building relationships with your local officials. Have open conversations about your concerns and hopes for Wisconsin’s water resources. Find your local officials here.

Join your local river, lake or watershed group. Become informed about the issues in your backyard and learn what actions you can take that are meaningful – become a stream monitor, organize a clean-up day, etc. Find a local group here, or contact us to start one!

Talk! Respectfully, share why you think water is important.

Let others know why water issues need attention from all citizens and how they can help. Refer to the suggestions listed here.

Donate! We need your support now more than ever. Let’s build local leaders who fight for clean, fresh water. Make your donation here.

At the end of our visit, Chuck’s parting words were, “We all have a desire to pursue something. For me, it was paddling. Don’t be afraid, as they say, to dream the impossible dream. They can come true.” We realize it won’t be easy, but we have a secret advantage – you. Together, we can make our dreams of clean fresh water for all come true. Consider joining Chuck – become a River Alliance member today with a donation of any size.

As we look to the new year, a new cast of legislators and a new budget will likely require a timely and effective response from advocates. Your support is needed now more than ever. Please consider a donation, and please share your support of River Alliance with others.