Are You Ready For Earth Day?

I’m Giving You Permission To Take Action & Highlighting A Few Folks Working to “Restore Our Earth"

Earth Day is next week (April 22) and this year’s theme is, “Restore Our Earth.” There’s never been a better time to care for our planet and be part of the solution. My book, Superman’s Not Coming, has a paperback edition coming out next week too, so if you’re looking to take a deeper dive into many of the water issues we talk about in this newsletter, I recommend you get a copy or share it with a friend!

In the book, I talk about the concept of permission.

I’ve noticed over the years that when I visit towns and work with people, the number one thing everyone seems to need is permission. They are looking for someone to tell them that it’s okay to move forward. Empowerment is a process that happens as we give ourselves authority to act on what feels right, what we know is right.

Here’s the thing. We all get stuck. It can be scary to act out or speak out. Believe it or not, I can relate. It’s not always easy to be the “loud one” or speak out of turn. Since we were young, we learned to ask for permission—whether it was permission to leave the dinner table or to use the bathroom during class. As we get older, we sign permission slips for our kids to go on field trips. We request time off from work—we don’t just take a vacation. We text people instead of calling them. It becomes a habit to think we need permission to act.

All these little acts add up and then we think: Who am I to stand up at a city council meeting and ask a question? I don’t know all the answers. I’m not an expert. Is there really a problem or am I overreacting?

We all have these doubts and questions. In the end, I think that the permission we are seeking is more about support. We want to know if we take action, it will be successful in some way and that our community will not shun us for these actions.

I’m here to give you a personal permission slip. I’ve been giving them out for years! Yes, you have permission to ask questions. Yes, you have permission to scrutinize your water professionals and find out if they have the right credentials. Yes, you have permission to start a Facebook group to make more people more aware of your cause. You have permission to stick up for yourself when it comes to your health, your family, your life. The world needs all of us to get involved now more than ever.

I’m sorry if you are sick of me saying this, but I will continue to say it. None of us need a Ph.D. or a science degree, or need to be a politician or a lawyer to be aware and to protect our right to clean water or a clean world.

Together, we have the power to fight for better enforcement of the laws, to push for new legislation, and to storm our city halls until our voices are heard.

All it takes in most communities is a few dedicated people to ask questions and stand up for what is right. I’ll be the first to tell you. It’s not easy work. It can feel like an uphill battle and it can take years and years to see any results. But when you are focused on your why, it can keep you motivated.

Knowing what you stand for is one of the most liberating feelings in the world. I would not have made it this far in my career without knowing why I fly all over the country or stay up late in strange cities talking to the local people about how they can enact change in their town.

In celebration of Earth Day, will you take a moment now to ask yourself a few simple questions and write down your answers.

  • What cause could I join that would make a difference?

  • Why do I want to join this cause?

  • Who will it impact?

  • What skills can I offer to help?

  • What vision do I have for myself and my family for the future?

Heroes In Action

Here are a few folks fighting battles right now. I hope you will support them or get inspired by their actions.

Protecting Alberta’s Water & The Rocky Mountains

Our friends up north in Alberta, Canada, are bringing awareness to open pit coal mining and the threats it poses to their water system. Policies are meant to protect our water and land, but in the spring of 2020, the government of Alberta rescinded a Coal Development Policy without public consultation or input from First Nations or the scientific community.

Watch one local resident from Elk Valley discuss the impact:

Stop Line 3

Line 3 is a proposed pipeline expansion to bring nearly a million barrels of tar sands per day from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin. Proposed in 2014 by Enbridge, a Canadian pipeline company responsible for the largest inland oil spill in the U.S., the company seeks to build a new pipeline corridor through untouched wetlands and the treaty territory of Anishinaabe peoples, through the Mississippi River headwaters to the shore of Lake Superior.  

Learn more here:

Saying No To A New Asphalt Plant

Residents in Madison County, North Carolina, known as the “The Jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” are working to keep their air clean and free from noxious asphalt fumes and protect their river.

More tips for fighting:

Little Miss Flint

You are never too young (or too old) to get involved. Mari Copeny is a 13-year-old activist from Flint, Michigan, whose letter to President Obama about the water crisis there prompted him to visit the city. She has used her platform to not only bring awareness to her community but to give back.

Watch more of her story here:

Are you fighting pollution in your community? Tell us about it in the comments below.