Tilden Regional Park
EnvironmentalismI am an environmentalist. I spend my free time hiking, backpacking, and canoeing/kayaking in our streams, lakes, and rivers. I want clean water because I drink it (a topic for another day, but public drinking water is a great deal for all of us…sorry I am not a fan of bottled water), swim in it, and enjoy pristine river banks. I started working at age 10 (delivering newspapers seven days a week), but my first “real” job was working for one of the first environmental groups, the Nashua River Watershed Association (NRWA), that was formed out of clean water advocacy in 1969 by Marion Stoddart. Marion led the efforts in the 1960’s to clean up the Nashua River, one of the most polluted in the US, and started the movement that led to the Massachusetts Clean Water Act in 1966 and the federal Clean Water Act in 1972. The Nashua River was red, orange, and pulpy depending on the dye being used in the paper mills that day.
Photo Credit – Nashua River Watershed AssociationI spent a summer working at NRWA teaching kids about the environmental impacts on the river and how to catch bugs (one of the best jobs I have ever had, besides Mapistry where I get to do it all!). I got to know Marion, taught her grandson, and started a summer program, Eco-Adventures, that has since expanded and flourished. This is where I learned to appreciate the advocacy and educational aspects that are necessary for clean water, especially stormwater. It is the latter part, outreach and education, that I feel has been lost in many of the conflicts that arise in stormwater today, especially with industrial stormwater.
It’s A BusinessI am a businessman. At the same time I was canoeing and hiking in New England, I grew up in a house with a wood planner, table saw, metal lathe, milling machine, and drill press in the basement. After college, my first job was with a construction company. Today, I own a business. I can appreciate the pain of regulations – some make sense, many do not, and there is not nearly enough efficiency built into the system. In addition, my dad runs his own manufacturing company, making scientific test equipment, and Mapistry works with hundreds of manufacturing companies from small family wineries to giant, international Fortune 100 companies. I think manufacturing is great! There is nothing more fun than seeing the insides of a companies production floor or machinery.
My VisionSo where does that leave us? I see both sides. There are regulations that don’t make sense and are crazy cumbersome, but there are stormwater regulations that are attempting to protect water quality and environmental groups are pursuing their vision of clean water. My ask is that both groups come together before the lawsuits get filed before money is spent needlessly on both sides, and before we destroy the environment. I would like to see companies listen more and follow the law (you know who you are….like the thousands in CA without stormwater permits). Likewise, environmental groups need to listen more to the economic impacts on businesses and acknowledge the confusion that regulations cause; and, they need to first reach out, educate and work towards a common goal.
Backpacking and swimming on Havasupai Reservation