More Work Arrives– I deepen my Commitment

Posted on 18th November 2009 by admin in River Blog

It has changed my life to be the steward of the Global Rivers Art Exchange Paintings. There are now more than 50 brilliant images in our collection. Four more amazing paintings arrived from Mexico today, and the quality of the art has exceeded my expectations all along, on this project. As the work pours in, I am struck by the intelligence of the artists’ statements and the creativity with which they express themselves about their rivers. The health of the rivers around the world is not widely publicized. This art collection starts to put into perspective the fragility of our waterways. The truth of these statements, and the love with which the artists have painted their rivers, serves to be a great healing. Didn’t we always say the truth will set us free?

I vow to share these images and their accompanying statements with you, dear blog reader — one-by-one. Here is one from Rolande Reverdy Moorehead, in Florida, that blew me away when I received it.

Fenhollaway River
The most rotten river in Florida flows into the Gulf of Mexico. In 1947, the State of Florida classified the Fenhollaway River as the only “Class 5” or “Industrial River” stating that the river’s only suitable use would be as a dumping ground for industrial waste. The state wanted to attract industries to the area.
In 1954, Procter and Gamble Company opened their pulp mill in Perry, Florida. The Buckeye Cellulose Corporation plant is located 50 miles southeast of Tallahassee, the state capital. Ever since its opening, this mill has discharged 46 million gallons of polluted wastewater into the spring-fed Fenhollaway River every day.
Discharge from the pulp mill causes unnatural coloring to the river giving it the appearance of tea. In some areas the water is black. The rotten cabbage stench from the mill spreads over a twenty mile radius. This discharge is changing the ecology of the river and of the surrounding region. Many fish species have disappeared. Wildlife breeding grounds have disappeared. The growth of natural sea-grass so important to wildlife is impaired. Where the Fenhollaway River empties into the Gulf, ten miles of shoreline in either direction is a dead zone.
The river water is very low in oxygen levels. It is salty and sulfur-tinged and also contains dioxins and endocrine disruptors at very dangerous levels. The only surviving fish-the mosquitofish which has both gills and lungs-has shown mutative changes.
Not only is wastewater from the plant causing terrible devastation to the environment, but people who live in this environment have shown well above average incidences of cancers.
JUNE 2009

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