An Earth Day Message
We Never Shy Away From Showing You How Bad Things Are, But We Will Also Never Give Up Hope.
Superman’s Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis & What We The People Can Do About It is now out in paperback and I hope you will get a copy.
I started working on this book with Suzanne back in 2016, as a way to document water issues in this country and also as a call-for-action for everyday people to get involved in the fight for safe water.
We wanted to show successes and challenges, but something unexpected happened while writing. We kept having to edit and make updates because of all the breaking news. Laws kept changing, communities kept fighting, and more pollution and corruption became exposed.
It’s why we started the newsletter—to keep telling those stories and to keep raising awareness about what’s really happening out in the world. Plus, we wanted to build a community of people so you can meet one another, get inspired, share tips, and read more stories that don’t always get attention in the mainstream press.
So many folks reach out to me for help, and I’m just one person (even if I am loud). The book and the newsletter are resources to give you all the information you need to save yourselves. We all need the information and courage to keep this movement alive.
Most of you already know there’s more to the water pollution story than Flint, Michigan, or Hinkley, California, and that both of those communities are still fighting for clean water. It will take all of us coming together to create the change we want to see in our world.
Just this week a new study estimates that more than 61 million people in the U.S. do not drink their tap water. Tap water distrust is a huge and growing issue, particularly for Black and Hispanic adults and children, the study reports.
“Communities of color have long experienced environmental injustice across the U.S.,” wrote Asher Rosinger, one of the study’s authors in an article. “Black, Hispanic, and Native American residents are more likely to live in environmentally disadvantaged neighborhoods, with exposure to water that violates quality standards.”
Relying on alternatives, such as bottled water or whole-house filtration systems, is so much more expensive than drinking tap water.
We know polluters are excessively found near communities of color and low-income communities. The color of your skin, the amount of money in your bank account, and your zip code should not determine whether or not you have clean water. Period.
Many organizations are stepping up to help provide clean water, but more can and needs to be done to rebuild trust at our taps. I’m pushing as much as I can to call out the problems where I see them and help where I can, and I hope you will join me.
The Origins of Earth Day
In honor of Earth Day, we’re sending out a big THANK YOU to everyone who has joined this list. We’ve got lots of great content and stories coming your way. We never shy away from showing you how bad things are, but we will also never give up hope.
Speaking of Earth Day, here’s a small excerpt from my book about the origins of this day.
When President Richard Nixon created the EPA, he wasn’t necessarily an environmentalist: he was responding to huge public outcry over environmental issues. More than 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day event in April 1970, which sent a strong message to government. By December of that same year, Congress created the EPA to tackle these issues.
“My primary objective in planning Earth Day was to show the political leadership of the Nation that there was broad and deep support for the environmental movement,” wrote Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson in the EPA Journal. “While I was confident that a nationwide peaceful demonstration of concern would be impressive, I was not quite prepared for the overwhelming response that occurred on that day.”
The most-asked question I’ve had this week is: What’s the one thing you can do for Earth Day?
My answer is that I want everyone to make Earth Day a part of their life every day.
Go outside! Notice the warmth of the sun, watch birds in flight, notice the plants around you, the bubbling creek, or the cool breeze on your skin. Reconnect and keep that connection with you every day. Be thankful and bring that environment into your heart every day.
Remember that all you hold dear is happening on this little blue ball floating through space. The planet deserves your love and respect. It's in your own self-interest. When the planet is in peril, we are in peril too. We are much more connected to this Earth than we take the time to realize. Without our precious resources—water, land, air—we would not have life.
LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, a Standing Rock Sioux tribal historian, died this month of cancer at the age of 64. She co-founded the Sacred Stone Camp on Standing Rock Sioux land in April 2016 to resist the Dakota Access pipeline.
In a 2016 interview, she shared:
We have always been here. This is our land. Why should we fight to live on our own land? Why should we have to do that over and over again? We start our lives. We do our best to live. Why? I would never hurt anybody. I have always done my best to do good things in my community. Why can’t they just let us live? We love this land. And half of the time I feel bad, because they make us feel bad for loving this land.
But most important, we love the water. Every year, our people sacrifice. We go four days without drinking water, so that it reminds us how important this water is. And I ask everybody: Do you go four days without water? What happens to your body on that third day? Your body starts shutting down. So, we remind ourselves every day how important. We say mni wiconi, water of life. Every time we drink water, we say mni wiconi, water of life. We cannot live without water. So I don’t understand why America doesn’t understand how important water is. So we have no choice. We have to stand. No matter what happens, we have to stand to save the water.
Let’s honor her life and her message. Let’s love this land. Let’s stand to save the water.