It makes me mad. She justified it, we are getting older. But older didn't always mean cancer, did it? My friends are the walking wounded. But do we have to accept that? Will we let our bodies crash on us? Or try doing something about it?
So today, I got a small coke and tomorrow, maybe I will just kick it. We might not be able to stop our toxic exposures, but we can change what we consume.
Emporia State students are coming this weekend to experience our outdoor science lab, the Tar Creek Superfund Site, and are using a study done by Bill Andrews as their teaching guide. I scanned that document and saw the usual suspects: lead, cadmium, arsenic and manganese, but he found high levels of aluminum in the sediments. All these years, I hadn’t noticed aluminum. Bill Andrews is a modest gentle genius and was the first person to speak up about the rare earth minerals in the mine waste. And the only person I ever heard speak about them, but aluminum got past me all these years.
My brain wants to connect dots, find the culprits making people sick and KICK them, deal with them and make sure no one is exposed again. That means all sorts of culprits, including too much water. This week a woman came into my office to bring me a copy of her letter. She is a beautiful woman, more beautiful now than she was 40 years ago, that was when she and her family moved into their first new home, the home where she continues to live. But flood after flood have occurred and she is tired of it. She brought me the letter she had written to send to FERC about her decade’s long flood impacted life in the home she loved. She spoke up and in her way she KICKED them for the hard times she has experienced. Another gentleman had spoken to me about the flood waters damages to his business, over and over again.
Our minds cannot be read but letters can be and there is just a while longer to submit them to FERC about the effects the new license for the Pensacola Dam can have on our flood prone and those who wait to see if they are next since there is a next time coming. March 13. What if just the pure weight of our letters got the attention of some regulator at the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency, or one particular letter got someone thinking, reflecting on their own mother having to wade into a family homestead and see their baby pictures floating on the dirty water or go waist deep in to retrieve their cat waiting patiently on the washing machine for a family member to rescue her.
What if we all wrote these letters and told our stories and didn’t give up until we had bushels of them? What if we kept saying how cool is would be to fix the lake and make it deep again and fix Tar Creek and stop the flow of the metals and take all our metals out of the lake and a deeper lake would mean the lake level effect would be different and safer for the flood plain people and better for the fish and the people who want to eat them and those of us who want to swim again in a beautiful clear lake again. Tie is all together. Want it all. Buy a stamp put it on your letter or wade through the FERC website and enter your 6,000 characters and push send.
But for me, my KICK IT All is fitting into an envelope and going to the mail slot at the Miami Post Office right away because March 13 is the deadline.
March 13 is easy for me to remember, it was my parents wedding day, bet it was a Friday that year. My dad always remembered their anniversary and we have too. Now it will be another special day for all of us to remember, the day a whole pile of our letters got to the national office in Washington, D.C. and FERC gets to read these stories of struggles with water, water for energy, stacked up behind the dam waiting its turn to generate electricity, some of the 4% of energy used in the United States.
On the first page of your letter you must write: Pensacola Hydroelectric Project (P-1494-483)
Address to: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary / Federal Energy Regulatory Commission / 888 First Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20426
A few hours of electricity and countless hours of work by mothers who are older now and tired, widowed and waiting knowing flood waters are coming back. So pick up a pen, go to your computer, write something. Buy a stamp and shove that message in the slot and know you have let someone somewhere know more than they did before about the real cost of electricity.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim