Monday, April 30, 2007

one small step...

I am so proud and happy. Today, a bill passed the Texas Senate that will require permits and a reclamation plan for sand mines on the San Jacinto River and parts of Spring Creek - SB 359.

A year and a half ago, I came up with the idea to nominate the San Jacinto River as one of American Rivers "Most Endangered" (they pick 10 every year) and got Jennifer Lorenz of Legacy Land Trust to co-nominate it with me since she runs a nonprofit working to preserve habitat along the river, and I run San Jacinto Conservation Coalition (which is really at this point just me drumming up awareness about various things related to the San Jacinto River).

So the river got selected, due to the problems caused by sand mining all along it's edges. Check out the photo at SJCC main page - it's hideous. I thought for sure the issue would get some media coverage after the big announcement. But the announcement came and went in April 2006, and the much anticipated media hype never happened. A few short blurbs ran in newspapers in the state, but not even a big piece in the Houston Chronicle!

So I said, heck I better write about this myself. I had some concern since I had nominated the river, and there's this whole debate over journalistic objectivity. But nothing was happening. And honestly, although we strive for objectivity true objectivity is impossible, and there are plenty of people actively involved in issues and writing about them - Rick Bass, David Helvarg, to name a few. I gave my talk at UNT recently about this issue of objectivity versus advocacy. I think it's important to be upfront about one's involvement in an issue, to be sure, if one writes about the issue so the reader understands where you're coming from. My piece is a very first person approach.

Anyway, I wrote a couple in-depth pieces for CleanHouston.org but then I wrote a feature article for Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, Many Bayous, One River, which also included my photos nabbing a polluter. I really liked the way it turned out. I didn't know about the legislation in the Texas Congress until several months later but my editor at the magazine emailed a few weeks ago to say that someone had requested 20 copies of my article. Turns out the entire Senate Natural Resources Committee got a copy of the mag issue with my article. Cool beans! The legislation specifically mentions that the river is an "Endangered River" so the nomination and article both helped get this legislation passed! I am very grateful to Jennifer who worked with Senator Tommy Williams who sponsored the bill. Now it just has to get through the House...

Yea! This is the coolest professional accomplishment ever. Let's just hope it gets passed for real!

3 comments:

David said...

btw, your e-mail the other day prompted me to figure out who my Arlington rep was and voice my support. So thanks for helping me be a part of it!

Miranda said...

I finally read this article and it is superb! It makes the arguments for saving the river so flawlessly and really made me feel as if I were there. Bravo!

The Quintessential Feline said...

oh freakin' WOW! I applaud you, Girl. Yes, this is definitely a professional accomplishment. Good for you! And good for our environment. Keep swinging 'em your way, kid, and you will make that difference you said you always wanted to make. :-) KUDOS!!!