Wednesday, March 26, 2008

runs to the river

Today began with a trip to mark the streets with a label that warns would be polluters: anything that goes in this drain goes directly into the Anacostia River! I have been very concerned about the environment for a while now and last year got very inspired by a guy who has a blog called No Impact Man where he chronicled his families life living in NYC trying very hard to have a zero carbon foot print for a whole year. I was so inspired by his drastic measures to make a point that I quickly started looking at my own life and my lazy ways of using resources without thinking. I began reading his posts every day and looking at the articles he referenced. One article he wrote and linked to was on plastic getting into the ocean. It freaked me out so much that I started for a time picking up every bit of plastic I found along the streets of my neighborhood to keep it out of the storm drains. You may go read this astonishing report in Best Life Magazine written by Susan Casey Plastic Ocean but I warn you it may make you think differently about using plastic and how you dispose of everything there after. I eventually got after my landlords about putting us on a recycle program which they had avoided for the previous 3 years and after about 6 months of excuses we now recycle. Plastic Ocean details how all that plastic people throw on the street goes wherever water flows and that means all the trash you see in the streets ends up in the drain, the creeks and then rivers and eventually an ocean. I saw that some storm drains in DC had marks on them telling where they emptied but on my walks I didn't see any in Brookland, my neighborhood of North East. We have a farmer's market twice a week but no drain markers showing where all those trash and bottles get dumped when left to float away. I found out when Keith and I attended the Green Festival last year that the District Department of the Environment has a volunteer program to mark the drains. I joined the project today alone to glue down a marker on the top of the drains to help people think about where their trash goes in Brookland. DDOE employee  Trinh Doan told me that in our Brookland area all the drains go directly from the street into the Anacostia river. None of the water is filtered or cleaned up at the big Blue Plains water treatment plant. She gave me a stack of plastic signs a wire brush, a caulk gun loaded with black glue, a orange vest and a map to mark all the corners where I put signs then showed me how to do it and sent me on alone. I did about 20 and was worn out but I want to do more. I am looking for other Brooklanders who want to help mark that drains next time they set up a date. It was fun but it would be more fun with some helpers to watch for the traffic and mark the map. 
Then I tried to find her and give back the map and tools but she wasn't around. Later I received a voice message she will be back. Then I happily strolled over to Dan Vera's house for a delicious coffee and some show and tell. 

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