Monday, August 20, 2007

Getting Gray

Since I pay attention to the California Delta, I also pay attention to it's most informative newspaper, the Stockton Record. Today, the Record's environmental reporter, Alex Breitler, has a challenging piece on the Graying of the Green Brigade.

Along with the story is a photo of Bill Jennings, Ex. Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Association. Jennings is also one of the most important activists in California who think about clean water and how we can have any of that precious commodity in the future. He is frequently referred to by the name of his boat, The Delta Keeper.

Stockton's most prominent conservationist says he hasn't taken a vacation since 1995. Now he and his comrades wonder if anyone else will carry on the fight when they're gone.

"The environmental community is getting long in the tooth," Jennings said. "While we find interest from younger folks, it tends to be brief. What we're not finding are the folks who want to roll up their sleeves and come up the learning curve so they can participate in the regulatory process."

There is a lot of real work to be done. What makes a few of us older folks use whatever time and talents we have to try and accomplish something while there are not enough younger people joining in. Maybe I am too old to have an answer. I was born before WW II started and that automatically makes me someone whose wisdom is questionable to many. It really seems bleak

These reflections come one month after the death of another leading local environmentalist, birder Waldo Holt. Other activists are aging and some local advocacy groups have folded or are inactive.

The largest of these, Deltakeeper, is closing. Officials with its San Francisco-based parent organization, Baykeeper, say they are consolidating operations but plan to continue advocating for the Delta.

It doesn't stop there. Two years ago, Kathy Crump, 79, and other environmental stewards started the Stockton Urban Waterways Council, a group that would clean up city streams. But the effort was recently abandoned.

I am only seeing a few real efforts to bring more young people into the actual operation of the party. It appears to me that Campus Greens has stalled. It is not moving forward on to new campuses. We once had a chapter at San Jose State University. It is now transformed into the "Environmental Club". Maybe that is hopeful if you think of things like Jennings does. However, it can also be viewed as a sign that the Green Party has lost it's Environmental focus. Maybe it is only the fact that there was little or no connection between the non-student GP County Council and the student clubs in the area.

If we don't come up with programs and actions that challenge the youth of today to be better than they know, to leave this world better than it is, then we will not survive as a party.

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