Last year, Laura Krouse of Abbe Hills Farm challenged us to take leadership on a campaign to encourage all Iowans to do one new thing for water that year. Here at Iowa Learning Farms and Water Rocks!, we thought it was a great idea and launched the #1NewThingForWater campaign. Numerous farmers, urban folks and students participated.
Here are a few of the #1newthingforwater pledges that were shared over the course of 2015…
It was a good beginning but there is so much more work to do! Cleaner water comes down to individual choices. Those choices can be larger in scale like those faced by farmers and agricultural landowners, or smaller in scale like those faced by an urban 6th grade student pledging to take shorter showers (let’s put it in perspective — that is a large commitment for a 6th grader!).
Several years ago, I read this compelling book by Donald Miller called Blue Like Jazz. Early in the book, he writes about changing the world and his insight has stayed with me. In the beginning of the book, he questions whether we can actually change the world. He concludes that we can, but only if we realize that we are the problem:
“The problem is not a certain type of legislation or even certain politicians; the problem is the same that it has always been. I am the problem. I think every conscious person…has a moment where he stops blaming the problems in the world on group think, on humanity and authority, and starts to face himself.”
Whenever I want to think that something is someone else’s problem to solve or fix, I remember what Miller wrote. I try to see how I am the problem and then I try to do what I can do. My #1newthingforwater in 2016 is to get more native grasses in my yard, particularly where the soil is eroding.
What is your one new thing this year?
There are plenty of suggestions out there of what you can do: shaping and seeding a wider waterway, avoiding fall tillage, planting a native tree, increasing the amount of residue left in the field, waiting until it thaws to spread manure, seeding down a headland, cutting lawn fertilizer usage in half, putting native plantings in your yard, picking up pet waste, keeping pollutants out of stormwater. As Laura urged us last year, you decide what you can do and then get it accomplished in 2016!
Now is the time to make your pledge to water – post to Facebook and/or Twitter using the hashtag #1newthingforwater, or send us your pledge via email and we’ll share it with the world. Let’s get an avalanche of commitment across the state. Let’s get every county and every city involved. From farmers to school children, there is something everyone can do!
When you have done your new thing this year, share it. Post it to Facebook, Twitter (using hashtag #1newthingforwater) and other social media accounts. Tell your friends and neighbors. Show others what you are doing and encourage them to do something as well. Get everyone you know involved in the challenge. Let’s not leave it to others to do.
As Pierre Teilhard De Chardin wrote…