How do you transform a problem into solutions? This is what I want to know. But if a straightforward answer existed I feel like more of us would be screaming it from the rooftops and making spending every living moment doing it and the world would be a happier, cleaner, safer place. But that doesn’t exist. The answer is elusive, complex and specific for different issues. So where does one even begin?
Here is what I’ve decided. Start small. Stick your face into the soil. Learn how to drive a tractor. Go to the farmer’s market. Go to the lake to swim and get your heart broken by the realization that the algal blooms have started. Attend every meeting possible. Meet the community. Ask questions, and when you think you’ve asked them all, ask more.
Now, if there is one thing I am good at it’s asking questions. Just ask my family who have endured years of my ponderings. (Also consider this fair warning not to sit down with me if you aren’t ready to have some questions thrown at you.) I will be taking full advantage of my never-ending curiosity to gain all the knowledge I can from the people around me. So far this has led me to some unexpected but valuable discoveries. I’ve learned the power that comes from remembering someone’s name and the feeling it gives a person to know they are remembered and valued. I’ve learned the difference between BMP’s and NMP’s. I’ve learned how far a smile and handshake can go. I’ve learned that networking is crucial. I’ve learned how it feels to be noticed as an outsider and how it feels to be welcomed.
How can we welcome more people to the table as we work to tackle issues of water quality in the Red Cedar watershed? I am here to learn all I can about what draws people in and what keeps people out. How do individuals create a sense of environmental ethic for a common, shared resource? Do scientific definitions of an issue discourage involvement in non-scientific routes for solutions? Where do misunderstandings lie and how can we clear them up?
Establishing an understanding of what people believe and know is a necessary step and one I am attempting to take. People are our greatest resource. In pursuit of any solutions we have to utilize the community and I hope to tap into that resource in abundance this summer. So, let the questions begin!
Peace on the Waterways.
Peace on the Waterways.