Share on Google Plus 1 Share on Twitter 1 Share on Facebook 2 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon 1 Tell A Friend (5 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   1 comment

Life Arts

Chad Pregracke: Cleaning up the Mississippi River one piece at a time

By       Message Frosty Wooldridge     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

1   1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 6/11/14

Author 4682
Become a Fan
  (4 fans)
- Advertisement -

The Mississippi River sweeps millions of bottles, cans, tires, oil, plastic bags and containers, along with junk of every description, and chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico 24/7. From Minnesota, where it starts as a six-foot-wide, 15-inches-deep stream, it travels 2,552 miles and drops 1,772 feet through nine states until it rushes into the ocean. At its mouth, the Mississippi River creates a 10,000-mile "dead zone" where most vertebrate marine creatures cannot live because toxic waters contaminate their habitat.

How do I know? Over 15 years ago, my friend Gary and I canoed the Mississippi River, beginning at its humble source in Lake Itasca, Minnesota. At first, perfect beauty greeted us until we hit the first homes and towns along the river. From there, bottles, cans, plastic bags, plastic containers, cars, sofas, tires, machinery, paper, cups, used diapers and hundreds of other pieces of trash passed by my eyes. We carried two large plastic trash bags and filled them every day. We dumped them at trashcans in the small towns we passed along the way.

At the end, I wrote a commentary asking the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press to engage civic leaders, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, high schools, Rotary and Lions clubs to form teams to clean up Old Man River. I asked them to consider a 10-cent deposit-return law for all soda pop, beer and liqueur bottles like Michigan's successful law.

The editors and publishers of both papers refused to publish my commentary. Hard fact: 70 percent of Americans refuse to recycle anything. A large percentage of them toss anything, anywhere, at any time. McDonald's and Pizza Hut customers throw the most trash out their car windows. Plastic water bottles, beer and soda containers litter the landscape by the trillions!

Last week, my preacher spoke about the Herculean efforts of Chad Pregracke on his quest to clean up the Mississippi River one piece of trash at a time. Americans along the river toss their debris one piece at a time and Pregracke intends to pick it up "one piece at a time." Pregracke ran into the same roadblocks with his efforts to engage government and civic clubs: they ignored him.

"At the age of 17, he started making calls to government agencies to notify them of the problem, assuming someone would take care of it. Year after year passed by and the problem only worsened. In 1997 Chad decided that, if no one else was going to clean up the river, he would."

Visit his website: www.LivingLandsandWaters.org
- Advertisement -


Since 1998, Chad engaged 60,000 volunteers to retrieve 6,000,000 (million) pounds of trash of every description. He expanded his work to the Ohio and other rivers.

On his website: "Chad's vision, charisma, non-stop work ethic and natural leadership garnered him an abundance of awards and honors over the years. Most notably, Chad was the recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service, America's version of the Nobel Prize, in June 2002. Chad accepted this award in the United States Supreme Court in Washington D.C. with other award recipients: Rudolph Giuliani, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Lilly Tartikoff."

Chad's teams picked up 13 football fields worth of one-foot thick Styrofoam; 8,800 feet of barge cables; 1,095 chairs; 19,700 balls; 63 250-gallon drums; 83,900 bags of trash; 5,800 55-gallon drums and thousands of other articles tossed by mindless Americans. The list runs down the page like a ticker-tape parade of embarrassment.

Chad Pregracke authored: From the Bottom Up: One Man's Crusade to Clean America's Rivers. To purchase a copy of the book, please call the office at (309) 496-9848.
- Advertisement -


This brings up the most important point: we Americans must begin to clean up our country "upstream" by changing ourselves from a "throw-away" society to a "recycling-return" society. All the cleanups in the world won't solve the core problem: millions of Americans tossing their containers and trash.

We need to help Chad expand his work into the "deposit-return" container laws like the State of Michigan. We need to transform from plastic bags use to cotton bag use. It's evident that millions of Americans don't care where they toss their trash. Economic incentives change that behavior very effectively. Michigan's rivers, lakes and roadways remain pristine because an army of kids scours the landscape for 10-cent return containers.

If you're the kind of person who cares about North America's environment and beauty, sign on with Chad Pregracke's team. Start your own team in your own city or state. Expand your powers by forming groups that create change. Model your work after Chad's work. He will help you.

Finally, where you engage your heart, you infuse your life with energy, purpose and passion. Follow Chad's lead and become a leader in your state, city and community. Your efforts will give the Mighty Mississippi a chance to run clean again along with all the other rivers in America. In the process, you will preserve Tom Sawyer, Jim and Huckleberry Finn's legacy.

"Rivers flow not past, but through us; tingling, vibrating, exciting every cell and fiber in our bodies, making them sing and glide."~~ John Muir


 

www.frostywooldridge.com

Frosty Wooldridge Bio: Frosty Wooldridge possesses a unique view of the world, cultures and families in that he has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and six times across the United States in the past 30 years. His books (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Over-Population Exponentially Increases Air Pollution

Growing Illiteracy in America: Creating entrenched poverty

U.S. economy in trouble and why

Part 1: Overpopulation in 21st century America--our risky future

Who is to blame for $4.00 a gallon gas? How about $10.00 a gallon?

What America will look like in 2050--fractured nation, multiple languages