Several years ago I spoke with my Congressman about the need to fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. He told me I was the only one who ever contacted him about the Great Lakes. “Jobs,” he said. “All I hear about is the need for jobs.”
To him I was a flyer. A flyer is sailing lingo for a sailboat that travels to the far corners of a race course hoping for a wind shift. The fleet is battling for air elsewhere, a flyer is usually alone.
Those wishing to be reelected do not have time for flyers.
Almost 600 people read the story “A Cry for Help” on either my website or Facebook page in the first twenty-four hours, over 850 in the first week. It demonstrates the power of social media at its best . . . people connecting with people about the need to restore and protect twenty percent of the world’s fresh surface water.
It is a mistake for any elected official to consider me a flyer when it comes to the Great Lakes. I am not alone!
But we don’t have to choose between jobs and clean, fresh water. We can find ways to have both. I had the privilege of working as an executive for a global corporation committed to sustainability, to a long-term approach that included environmental, social and economic responsibilities as top business priorities. Goals in all three areas were established and results tracked and reported annually. The challenge of balancing the three priorities fostered creative thinking, drove innovation, provided short term results while positioning the company for the future.
We can do the same as a country.
Our elected officials have an opportunity to position us for greatness in an increasingly competitive global environment. By focusing on sustainability, on balancing our country’s short term financial challenges with the need to protect limited natural resources, they can create an environment that fosters visionary leaders across private and public sectors. It requires political courage, particularly in the current polarized environment. But we can help.
The 2014 budget will be debated in the full House and Senate this fall. Please take a moment to contact your representatives in both chambers. Let them know “you appreciate their efforts to reduce the federal deficit but you want to see the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative fully funded and municipalities provided with low-interest loans to upgrade outdated sewage treatment facilities. Remind them we can live without many things, clean, fresh water is not one of them.”
To contact your representative, type in your zip code at http://www.house.gov. The site will immediately prompt for your address and provide a space in which to leave a comment. For the Senate, go to http://www.senate.gov.
Thank you for sharing the message with others! Thank you for getting involved!
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