We Are Water: Water/Ways Goes to Lanesboro
Of course, in a literal sense, we ARE water: some 70% of our body is water. Minnesotans often talk about their love of water as a distinguishing state characteristic: more boat and fishing licenses per capita than any other state (so I’m told), strong nonprofit advocacy around many different water concerns, powerful governance and advocacy by lake associations.
But what do Minnesotans really think about the water in their lives?
The highly popular Water/Ways exhibit opened in its fifth location, Lanesboro MN, on Saturday and once again the combination of the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling “Museum on Main Street” exhibit with a series of displays from Minnesota state agencies is inspiring over a month of local programming. Efforts are coordinated by Lanesboro Arts, with a calendar and more information found here.
This year is Governor Dayton’s “Year of Water Action” so we’ll be hearing a lot more about agency activities to build a water ethic, and how a water ethic can materially help create a landscape of cleaner rivers and streams. One of the virtues of Water/Ways is the development of a story map for each of the host communities, where local citizens speak their mind about the water that is important to their lives.
It would be worthwhile to make a study of what can be learned from these diverse perspectives, and what additional questions have yet to be answered. What are “ordinary citizens” talking about that policy specialists and scientific wonks are overlooking? What are the specialists concerned about that has not yet made it into the awareness of “regular folks”? Whose voices do we hear often, and who is not heard?
Stay tuned…we’ll be exploring these questions further.