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Why I Sweep: Buckets of hope


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This is one in a series of guest blog posts about Riverkeeper Sweep, our annual day of service for the Hudson, involving dozens of shoreline cleanups and planting projects on a single day. Be part of the next Sweep, October 17, 2020 – Visit


Each year, Riverkeeper Sweep is an opportunity to connect with the community on our shared goal of a clean and healthy Hudson River. The river is a treasure, and the popularity of this event reflects the river’s unique place in New York’s environmental and cultural mosaic.

As we all know, the Hudson hasn’t always received the attention and protection it rightfully deserves. We all hear the stories of unchecked pollution a half-century ago, when people could look at the water off Tarrytown and tell which color GM was painting the cars on its assembly line. Thankfully, public attention and the Clean Water Act of 1972 changed the trajectory of the Hudson River’s health forever.

This is not to say challenges do not still exist. They do, and they are immense (see PCBs, climate change, and fish declines). However, due to the community of Hudson River lovers who support Riverkeeper and our partner organizations, the river has a voice. And it won’t be harmed without a fight.

While many of our campaigns to protect the river rely on individuals like you sending emails, making a phone call or writing letters, Sweep is a unique opportunity when the whole community of river lovers, from Brooklyn to the Adirondacks, head to the water and manifest their support for the river by getting dirty and cleaning the river up.

Each year what gives me buckets of hope are the families that bring their children to their first river cleanup, or the students organizing their friends and classmates to join a Sweep project. For these reasons, I love the annual Sweep, and I’m excited to head down to the riverbank again this Saturday. I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

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