“Do it for the dolphins!”: Relieving Our Rivers One Bag at a Time

Every time I’ve thrown my laptop in my backpack and set off for the Mississippi sunset to put a couple words down, I instead end up with the same blank screen and a green, Missouri Stream Teams bag full of mostly Styrofoam, jugs, broken glass, and the occasional propane tank.  At times, this pattern of distractions has been a curse, especially when I lose track of time, forcing me to rush to the office before the doors lock at 7 P.M.  While...

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Talking trash: Why we should keep plastic out of the waterways.

One of the most beautiful and refreshing outdoor experiences I have had in the U.S was hiking the Great Smoky Mountains. Just like the Mississippi River, it is seen internationally as one of America’s most pristine natural landmarks. I decided to camp out near the Ocoee River because of its beautiful hiking trails and one day, as I was walking to a nearby waterfall, I noticed how much litter was covering up the natural green background of the...

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Electrified Fish Fences and Oil Slicks: One Woman’s Paddling Adventure

Beginning mid-August, Margo Pellegrino will paddle her outrigger canoe from Chicago to New Orleans with the hopes of raising awareness about water quality issues. The journey will take her through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (a human-made “hydrologic connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basins”),¹ down the Illinois, Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, to Kentucky Lake, the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, and...

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Plastic dumps, a goldmine? How to reuse and replace plastic.

Every year the U.S. throws away roughly 29 billion plastic bottles. These bottles take about 17 million barrels of crude oil to manufacture. That is the equivalent of keeping 1 million cars on the road for 12 months1! According to State of the planet 2, as of 2009, the U.S. consumes on average, 110 million tons of plastic. Sadly, only 6.5 percent of this plastic is recycled and as little as seven percent is converted into energy. That leaves a...

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