Monday, June 7, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill: What Can We Learn From It?

Information about the Gulf oil spill has inundated the news for weeks now. Efforts to stop the massive amounts of oil from polluting our oceans, coastlines and wetlands have been met with more challenges than solutions. Pictures of oil soaked pelicans, ravaged beaches, negative impacts to sea turtles, dolphins, and other mammals, in addition to economic impacts of fishing being halted, slowed tourism, and the impending costs of clean up are just some of the copious issues that are a direct outcome of this catastrophe.

There is a lot of time, work, and money that will be needed to clean up this current environmental crisis. But for me, the bigger question is “How do we prevent this from happening again?” There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that prevention of such events as this would have been much cheaper than the costs we have seen to life, to the environment, and to the economy.

This is just one of the many potential environmental challenges that we may face in the years to come. What will happen if an oil pipeline across a major aquifer leaks? What about all the chemicals that we use every day? Will they end up in our water supply, kill species of animals, alter the circle of life?

We need to address these issues now before they become catastrophic accidents that leave us scrambling for answers. We are all in a position to make a difference, just by altering our own lifestyles and habits. In addition, we can pay attention to the potential risks in our communities and areas, become involved in the local decisions being made concerning our world, and most of all speak up and act upon behalf of our environment and our water resources. It’s been said before but bears repeating – We only have one Earth, one planet on which we can survive – we must be a part of protecting it for the future.

Share your thoughts on what needs to happen to prevent these types of environmental catastrophes in the future.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Traveling the state for Green Site program

During the month of May, I chartered a course to visit as many green sites as possible across the state to encourage them to become involved in our Groundwater Guardian Green Sites program. In my mind, a green site is a site that has highly-managed green space. I know that term can be open to interpretation but that gets the discussion going. We have green sites in the program that are golf courses, college campuses, city and state parks and the list goes on.

My trips started with a visit to the southeastern corner including Humboldt and then to a recent addition to the program, the Friend Country Club (bottom photo). It then led me up to northeast Nebraska including Norfolk, Madison, Columbus and moving over a bit to the middle including Atkinson, Ord and St. Paul. The big trip took me to the western part of the state last week including going through Kearney, Gothenburg and Bridgeport before visiting with people in Scottsbluff and then making my way back through Sidney and Overton.

Many of the visits I had were with people at the golf courses and it was great to hear many of the current practices that they have in place and the many things that are looking to do in the future in regards to both water and fertilizer usage.

Be sure to learn more about our Green Site program and how your green site can become involved in the program as well by clicking on this link:

We recently added video testimonials from a couple of the top courses in the state, Wild Horse (top photo) and Bayside (second photo), who are both currently a part of the program. Click on this link to hear from them and others:

--Brian Reetz