Category Archives: Waterkeeper Alliance
(Courtney, Musa, Cyrus, Gogo, Eric, and Elias in Zimbabwe, 2006)

Two years ago I spent seven weeks traveling throughout Zimbabwe with an educational based non-profit organization, the Elias Fund. During my time in this incredible country, I was exposed to many simple habits that to us, might seem extreme or unnecessary, but to the majority of Zimbabweans, these habits are absolutely necessary to survival.

Water, for example, is treated as it should be, as a finite resource essential to life. This perspective is not driven by clever marketing or encouragement from aid organizations, it is on the other hand, motivated by the simple fact that water is scarce and has to be used wisely. Simple acts such as watering crops, washing dishes or bathing are done so in a manner that to us, defines conservation, but in the minds of many, this is merely defined as survival.

Reducing our water usage is often times, in our world of ever-flowing streams and clean tap water, a mere afterthought…something that is lost amongst the misconception that we have at our disposal an infinite amount of clean water. In a country like Zimbabwe, however, and many more nations around the world, these acts of being “green” are not fashionable, nor popular, but instead they are matters of life and death. For without water, life cannot exist, and if you only have so much of it, you better figure out how to make it last.

Unfortunately, the condition of Zimbabwe’s political, social and economic environments have negatively effected the condition and treatment of their most precious resource, water. Since August, 2008 nearly 780 individuals have died from a cholera outbreak, a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated water. Recent estimates have suggested that this outbreak, caused by an inadequate supply of clean drinking water and poor levels of hygiene, could surpass 60,000 cases.

We must recognize that issues regarding water on a global scale will inevitably influence our way of life; this is not a matter of how, but when. Our thoughts are with our friends in Zimbabwe and the many lives being affected by this outbreak.


As of December 15, 2008 the UN estimates nearly 1,000 Zimbabweans have died as a result of the recent cholera outbreak.

Delfin, one of Russia’s largest enterprises, specializing in the branding, mixing and packing of motor oil, transmission oils and automobile fluids, plans to expand their operations to the United States…North Charleston to be specific.

This Monday (12/08/08), the president of the company toured a 42-acre property on the banks of the Cooper River, which was purchased by the Delfin last year for $20 million. This Virginia Avenue property is projected to receive $55 million worth of improvements when Delfin is done renovating it. Already though, this retired Shell Oil Products plant has “several storage tanks, rail connections, office space and about 257,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space.” (Not to mention a pier that extends 140 feet into the River.)

Delfin explains that the appeal of the Lowcountry was not the beauty nor the abundance of natural resources, but instead it was the advantages of the Cooper River facility, including an on-site shipping terminal. According to a recent article in the Post and Courier, Delfin USA “plans to spend tens of millions of dollars turning a North Charleston industrial terminal into a major oil-mixing and bottling hub.”

The Milwaukee Riverkeeper is getting creative in their marketing campaigns. The above picture was created by Stir Marketing, an advertising and marketing firm in Milwaukee. The firm created the ad pro-bono as a way to promote Milwaukee Riverkeeper’s work towards clean and swimmable rivers.

According to an article published today in The Huffington Post, President-elect Obama is giving serious consideration to appointing Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, a Cabinet position. Democrat officials recently shared this news with The Politico. This consideration comes at an important time in our nation’s development. As our population grows and urban sprawl increases, our demand for water (clean water) will rise exponentially and thus our need to protect and preserve our waterways will become even more essential.

“The EPA enforces clean air and clear water laws. Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and son of the late senator and attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, has long championed a cleaner water supply for New York City… As an officer and attorney for the environmental watch group Riverkeeper, Kennedy has taken on governments and companies for polluting the Hudson River and Long Island Sound.” Not only has Kennedy played an integral part in establishing the Waterkeeper movement, but he currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Waterkeeper Alliance.