For some time I have been trying to determine the best way to break it all down for the every-man, woman, and child, so that understanding water, in its many forms and with its many purposes, is not quite so complicated. It is as if we need to add another item to the list of what you need to know to be an adult, and this item is moving it’s way to the top quickly for many people I know. Certainly, there are many topics on which I could stand to become much more well versed, but in this realm, where water is concerned, I am, as they say, like a duck.
As an educator, researcher, and consultant for the past twenty years on topics regarding the form and function of streams and rivers, water quality, and the effects of various land uses on all of the above, discussing these matters is really second nature. That is all well and good if you immerse yourself in the world of academia and your peers are as fluent as you…hence the reason conferences are so enjoyable! Yet, for most, that is not the case. While I was once in that bubble, it has long since burst and I have been steeping in the practical for years, and over time it has become more and more apparent how little the average citizen knows and understands about drainages, flooding, the quality of the water that surrounds us…and how we effect all of these things with our daily practices.
For some time, it has been somewhat of a NIMBY phenomenon, whereas, if your house wasn’t flooding, your water source was not contaminated, and your livelihood did not depend on wetlands, permittable impacts, and the like…you really could just skate on by, blissful in your unknowing.
That is changing, and it is changing quickly. It has already become a very bumpy ride for some and that group of people will continue to expand from this point forward. As with climate change (and of course it is all tied together, because…nature), there are measures we can take to offset issues that already exist and slow down future, potential damage. The crux, it must be a priority. To make it a priority, you must understand it. To understand it, you need to be taught, to ask questions, get accurate and meaningful answers, and then determine how you can be a part of the solutions. I hope more than a few of you will want to participate in this journey and educate yourselves ~ I feel confident in saying that you, and the rest of us, will benefit by knowing.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
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