Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love that the morning gets to start with an outdoor 4-mile run (because yes, we are that family) that allows me to get an insane amount of food for the rest of the day. I love that my entire family gets together, and I get to see five generations of my family interact with one another. Thanksgiving is a day of reflection for me. From the joy of feeling my body run to the love I feel when seeing my great-grandmother hold my son.
Ever since my family started using reusable utensils and plates and there are more vegetable options to choose from at dinner, my mind takes a break from its constant internal struggle to lessen my impact on the natural world. But this year, I am challenging myself and all of you to make sure to reflect on how lucky we are in Allen County to live in such a water-rich space.
I imagine that for many of us, it is easy to forget about the natural world, wild spaces with wild animals, and meandering waterways while adding your second dessert to your plate. In and of itself, this is a blessing that so many of us take for granted. This ability to “forget” about water is a luxury so many people in the world never get to have. It is crazy to think that here on the Blue Planet, where 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, over 2.7 billion people lack access to clean and safe freshwater at least one month a year. Here in Fort Wayne, where we see an annual rainfall of 38 inches yearly, it is incomprehensible that so many people don’t have access to something we have in such excess. In Allen County, we have six major watersheds that drain all the water in our county, including the Eel, Wabash, St. Marys, St. Joseph, Maumee, and Auglaize Watersheds. When we are surrounded by water, it easy to dismiss it as something to be thankful for, but perhaps this year when going around the Thanksgiving table, be sure to reflect on how amazing it is to live in a water-rich region!
If you want to take it a step further, maybe this Thanksgiving you will commit to an action that can help protect water quality in the region so in 20 years, it can be something people can still reflect on as a positive in our area.
Here are some action options to consider:
Adopt a storm drain
By adopting a storm drain, you commit to helping remove debris and litter so that the drain can do its job correctly. This also helps to limit the number of nutrients and garbage that makes their way to our waterways.
Be mindful of where you place deicers
Make sure that you do not overuse deicers during the winter months and sweep up any extra salt to ensure that it does not enter our waterways. When deicers are left on impervious surfaces, they don’t disappear when it gets nicer, they get washed away when it rains or the snow and ice melts.
Pick up pet waste
Picking up pet waste is not only sanitary and the neighborly thing to do, but it is also imperative to keeping our waterways clean! Pet waste can contain e. Coli that can cause waterways to become unsafe places for recreation and affect the types of wildlife that can call our waterways home.
by Jacquelyn Buck