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The Soaring Waters in Boulder


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There are many milestones in life. An important one for those fighting for clean drinking water, fish, and wildlife, and water quality happened last week at a gathering of the Waterkeeper Alliance in Boulder, Colorado.
Our work is tough, for sure. Identifying water quality problems, finding pollution and polluters, taking the lead to do the right thing when others fail to act, protecting land, air, and water when it has no other defender, spending hours putting legal cases together, finding remedies to problems, attending many public meetings, building community partnerships, and getting up another day to start all over again – that can be a very long day.

And that is just it – this is a calling for many and not just a job. For a week in June, leaders from over 250 organizations from around the world came together to discuss their Waterkeeper experiences. Folks from different continents, who would otherwise likely not join together, came to share what they have learned, to laugh, to break bread, and to see that they are each part of something much bigger than themselves.

There is diversity among us that is not reflected in our groups, however. Many more people must still come together if justice is to be served in all of our communities. A justice that has been elusive for far too long. Global success in protecting water, land, and air requires more – and requires new organizations to join the effort to invigorate the next generation. We make progress when people learn about what we do and when our water quality improves. These are big things.

After the inspiring stories, soaring rhetoric, and meaningful discussions, the possibilities and the need for our work are clearer than ever. As the Lakota tradition that was shared with us teaches: the first medicine of life is water. And nowadays, warriors are needed to protect it. We carry that tradition forward.

Between now and next year’s Waterkeeper Alliance meeting, there is much to be done.

Let’s get to work with our partners, neighbors, members and our team – and make things happen together.

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