My Heart is moved by all I cannot save:

So much has been destroyed

I have to cast my lot with those

Who age after age, perversely,

With no extraordinary power,

Reconstitute the world

-Adrienne Rich

The idea of Save resonates with me! Too often Environmental Activists are mourning our losses, but it is important to me that we celebrate and acknowledge our victories. You see, I live in the Alton/Godfrey region of the St. Louis Metro East which is an epicenter of ecological diversity and geographic wonders. I grew up a creek walking, geode hunting, camping, fishing, hiking, repelling, Mississippi River Rat. I’ve studied and been fascinated with the flora and fauna of my world from my first memories: spring ephemerals in the forests in my neighborhood and my beloved Pere Marquette State Park, mussels and crawdads in the river and streams…..but the sky was a different story.

In the days of my coming of age in the 1970’s there were no majestic Bald Eagles soaring along the Palisades Bluff Line or feasting on fish on the frozen Mississippi, there were no pods of American White Pelicans taking to the sky with their acrobatic seasonal migration. Mostly the sky in my world was filled with starlings, pigeons and crows opportunistically feasting from the grain spillage at the local flour mill.

Unknown to my adolescent self there was a miracle evolving, a movement crescendoing into action that would begin calling out and undoing environmental degradation suffered by the planet due to unchecked industrial pollution and unsustainable development. This movement created political will, a new Federal agency, pesticide bans and the passage and implementation of two watershed pieces of legislation.

Photo by Tiago Aleixo on Unsplash

Yes! This is the story of how we as a nation decided to SAVE! The 1970’s was the heady decade of environmental reform in the US that lead to the salvation of so much! Here’s what happened: the

United States Environmental Agency (USEPA) was founded December 2, 1970, the Clean Air Act (CAA) was enacted, and the pesticide DDT was banned, then the reorganization, expansion, and amendment of the Clean Water Act (CWA) happened in 1972. These historic environmental policies put the US on the path to healing, and gradually the sky and waters in the Palisades were transformed, by the late1980’s the American Bald Eagle made a comeback from the brink of extinction to be the main attraction in this postindustrial region as it transitioned to an eco-tourism destination.

Saving our environment is never ending and there have been setbacks and loses endured but take heart from our many accomplishments and the fact that this powerful earth changing environmental movement was begun by one woman, a scientists, author, and activist, Rachel Carson. Her book Silent Spring was first published in June 1962. Just one woman and look at all she has saved!

Please join us in celebrating what we have saved and what we can save at our Spring into Healing event on April 24th. We hope to see you there!

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