Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Healing Our Waters

I had breakfast with a friend this morning at one of our favorite coffee shops. Common Grounds is located at the base of the Kenosha harbor and when I met my friend at 8AM this morning, we were able to get a table at the window overlooking the harbor. Although it was not sunny, the water was calm and it was a very peaceful place to sit.

In the course of conversation, my friend asked about my blogging and specifically about the Great Lakes.

“So how are things going for the lakes?” she asked. She lives a few blocks from the lake but isn’t quite as obsessed with it as I am. I wasn’t sure how to answer her.

“Well, you know about the carp situation, right?”

“I’ve heard something about,” she said. “What do you think?” she asked me.

If you have read this blog you know what I think and know what I answered. Briefly I did a recap of a few of my postings. I also told her how much I have learned in this past year or more of writing about the Great Lakes.

“One of the best things I have learned,” I said “is how many people care about the Great Lakes and are actively working to protect them.”

One of these organizations is Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition, a coalition of over 100 groups who care about what I care about. There are other organizations, too, and I may tell you more about them at later time, but this one is on my mind today because I had thought about attending HOW’s Great Lakes Day in Washington D.C. The conference began yesterday with briefings on critical issues and continues today with lobbying government officials. You can read more about this at their website.

However, there are other major events going on in Washington this week, too. The President’s Health Care Summit. Congressional hearings about Toyoto. Votes on the Jobs Bill. Washington is very busy with critical issues. My concern is that the Great Lakes issues will get lost under all these others, and as they say, timing is everything. You want to lobby on a day when your Senator or Representative has nothing else to think about but your visit.

Still, Asian carp have been big news, too, so I hope the people from HOW can be effective in their lobbying. As for me, I am petitioning myself to go to the Sixth Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference in the fall. It’s in Buffalo, NY, my hometown, so I can probably find a bed to sleep in while I am there, making it cheaper for me than a trip to D.C.

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