The 11th Annual Waterkeeper Alliance Conference brought together some of the hardest working, brightest, most progressive and creative individuals in the entire world. Nearly 200 Waterkeepers were present at the conference, representing 19 countries and 6 continents.
On day two, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of Waterkeeper Alliance, introduced guest speaker, President Bill Clinton. Before handing the mic over to the President, Kennedy reflected on the role Waterkeepers play around the world. He quoted President Lincoln, saying that “America is a great nation because we are a good nation.” He explained that democracy is measured by a country’s ability to protect the commons – the air we breathe, the water we drink, the fish we eat. Because “nature is the infrastructure of our communities,” Kennedy declared that we all have a role in protecting our waterways.
President Bill Clinton shared with all of the Waterkeepers his experiences as a boy that influenced his passion for protecting our nation’s waterways. On the matter of environmental laws, Clinton said quite simply that “if you have a law and you don’t enforce it, you don’t have a law!” As a concluding point, he warned each of us that we could win every lawsuit we bring against polluters, but if we as a global community don’t change the way we produce and consume energy, then we will have lost the war.