The beginning of an entry for the Science and Art sought by LEAD Agency? No, but it should be. Actually this was a recollection of the marvelous memory of a woman who is a declared environmentalist. She relayed this memory to me this week, when reflecting on the loss of what she remembered as a treasured part of her childhood growing up living in Rockdale with a relationship with our Tar Creek. A town with the prestige Miami had, was built in a way to show off her creek. We know this because some of the nicest homes were constructed there, as well as her shining jewel, a college.
Truly 'a creek runs through it' was the theme then and it is this year for the 18th National Environment Tar Creek Conference which will be September 13 and 14 at the Miami Civic Center. Art and science entries will be entered in a drawing for prizes, which will include a covey of bicycles of all sizes for the winners. The first drawing will be Sept. 14 at the conference, the second on Earth Day, April 22. All ages are encouraged to enter.
The great effort the City of Miami went through recently to set their long range vision included returning Tar Creek into the asset side of the page, seeing that a creek that runs through it could be maximized to bring people outside again, perhaps with walking or biking paths along the creek's route through the city. LEAD Agency agrees with that plan and is encouraging others to also.
Across the U.S., public health professionals are seeking to reduce inequities in the way our environments affect our health. Dr. Edd Rhoades from the Oklahoma Department of Health and his staff will be at this year's conference to update us on the trends in Ottawa County for lead poisoned children and stressing the great need to reduce those numbers here. The U.S. government’s Healthy People 2020 program has specific goals to improve air quality, reduce lead levels in kids, reduce environmental hazards and improve access to healthy foods.
All of these will improve our health, but to do that we must remember it will be easier if we "Heal the Earth." For us, this will take plans, purpose and probably politics, since it will be funded with the help from Congress. We can encourage they take action to put the tax back on polluters as the Superfund was designed and the long range cleanup might speed up.
Lots of black boards in years passed greeted students with a quote for the day, I guess that could be one reason we are drawn to them. This year's conference theme is a quote by David Orr, "When we heal the Earth, we heal ourselves."
My friends who are dealing with health issues that could have direct links to the exposures we face from the legacy lead and zinc mining that made great wealth for some and a living for many, or for those who have lost loved ones from such diseases make this quote one to remember. We have to want this place better and as community members put some energy into it. Water is life, but also beauty and a means to float calmly on a summer afternoon. It has been way too long since it was safe for children to launch a boat on Tar Creek.
To find information on the Art and Science Drawing or to register for the 18th National Environmental Tar Creek Conference call 918-542-9399 or go to www.leadagency.org.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim
Your Tar Creekkeeper