Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two Important Events I Didn’t Attend

I have had this feeling all morning that I am supposed to be somewhere else. It’s kind of a reverse daja vu. Perhaps I am thinking I should be in Florida, still on vacation, or perhaps walking on some exotic beach I have never been to at all.

But no, that’s not it. Today is Conservation Day in Madison, Wisconsin, and I think that is where I should be. As an alternative, I could be in Washington DC at Great Lakes Days there. Alas, I am here in Wisconsin, only thinking and reading about both of those events.

In Madison, Conservation Day is sponsored by the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters as a day to learn and lobby on conservation issues. If I couldn’t attend the session, the least I could do is read their literature, so I downloaded the Wisconsin Conservation Priorities 2009 brochure, which has been prepared to present to state legislators. The pictures alone were worth the download. The document is very well done, first presenting the issue, then providing solutions, talking points for lobbying, and additional resources.

The WLCV list four main priorities for 2009:
* Preserving Groundwater
* Stopping Global Warming
* Restoring conservation integrity
* Restoring drinking water

Three of the four topics were familiar to me. The fourth, conservation integrity, required additional research and so I got an introduction to yet another area to be concerned about, the polticalization (is that really a word?) of the DNR in Wisconsin. Yikes. Do I need one more thing to worry about? Looks like I do.

The website of the Great Lakes Coalition, the folks who sponsor Great Lakes Days in Washington, does a nice job of explaining the purpose of the annual event. So I will quote them here and encourage you to check out who the members of the coalition are as well as read more about them on their website. They say “As part of the annual Great Lakes Day in Washington, DC, the Healing Our Waters® - Great Lakes Coalition (HOW) brings coalition members and allies from the Great Lakes states to Washington to discuss the importance of restoring and protecting the Great Lakes with elected officials on Capitol Hill...”.

One of the issues this group is following closely is how President Obama will keep his campaign promises to help the Great Lakes region. It’s more than the auto industry that is of concern to these Great Lakers. It’s the lakes themselves, protecting them, as well as the jobs and environment of the people who live with their basin.

I wish I could have been at both gatherings. I am sure it would have been great to schmooze with people of like minds and learn from them as well. I am so pleased that there are people who take the time and effort to attend these important events. Unfortunately I am not one of them, at least not this year. Maybe next year. Perhaps I should put them both on my calendar now for 2010.

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