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It’s a Big River: Think and Act both Globally and Locally

July 30, 2012Patrick NunnallyUncategorizedComments Off on It’s a Big River: Think and Act both Globally and Locally

The bioregional mantra is “Think Globally, Act Locally.”  The Mississippi River is both a local system and one of the largest river basins in the world, so we have to act in our own back yard as if we’re protecting our back yard and simultaneously making a difference at the broader scale.

This recent article from the Memphis Commercial Appeal touches on many of the most important elements of this “double vision”:  the “9 Things You Can Do” is a great list, but getting out and knowing the river through kayaking, walking along it, and really seeing it is important also.

It’s great to see this kind of thinking coming from Memphis, because, as the article states, long-time Memphians have tended to regard the river as a hazard, something to be admired from a distance.

Diana Threadgill of the Mississippi River Corridor-Tennessee group, suggests that the Mississippi River, and the deep wells that supply Memphis with drinking water, could be regional attractions for population movement if the West and Midwest continue to suffer long-term drought.  Should that migration occur, it will be more important than ever that we learn to “think like a watershed.”

There is currently a regional coalition of nonprofits, the Mississippi River Network (MRN), that is trying to galvanize attention to the Mississippi River, the opportunities it provides and threats to its health.  MRN member organizations from the headwaters to the Gulf are sharing strategies to influence national legislation such as the federal Farm Bill so that the river’s health will be taken into account.  In addition, partners are developing a campaign to enlist 10,000 “River Citizens” throughout the corridor, people who have committed to call or write their Member of Congress and otherwise speak up on behalf of the river.

Last week’s column in Memphis, and the ongoing work of Threadgill and her organization are important, and just the tip of the iceberg.


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