Spring Log On Line March-April 2001
A strong March light filled the forest with brightness on the first day of spring as I walked to the lakeshore. The silvery light reflected off the white snow that still covered the ground. It gleamed silver upon the flat needles of the dark green hemlocks, and after December's weak glow, it's power brought new hope to the ice locked lake watcher.
A cardinal glowed like a hot red ember as he called from his perch. The cries of gulls sounded sharp and fierce as they flew overhead. And off in the distance a persistent titmouse called again and again, a sweet brief whistle on the cold air.
My walk took me past a small sugar bush operation where I paused to assess the sap run. Several dozen trees wore slowly filling plastic buckets. I heard a half dozen different notes as the soft music of running sap dripped into each bucket. It was sweet music indeed after winter's long frozen silence.
The gravel shore still has a partial cover of ice, but near the water's edge, the lake itself was ice free. On this bright blue day, I fancied it's color was a little softer than it had been under a winter sun, and perhaps there was a tinge of green within its depths- an early algae bloom?
I paused beside a dining table sized slab of tilted gray grimy ice. It was about fifteen inches thick, and as I looked at it, a single clear drop of water fell from its edge. I waited a long moment, but saw no more melting. But the signs were clear that day. Winter was beginning to retreat, losing ground to time's onward march. Time to make plans for launching the boat!
March 22 was World Water Day. It was marked by a mere ripple of activity in the U.S. and by President Bush's decision to defer lowering the 50 ppb standard for arsenic limits in American drinking water to 10 ppb. The world-wide standard adopted by Europe and other countries in the third world is now 10 ppb. In Canada, Water Day got a bit more press and public attention than here as it did in Turkey, Bangladesh and South Korea where the prime minister spoke at a Water Day ceremony.
Water is something we here take pretty much for granted yet in many areas of the world women and young children walk miles a day, to carry water to the household. It's interesting, too, that a prominent financial weekly recently featured pure water as an investing opportunity as its cover story. Within the last three months I've seen at least a half dozen national circulation magazines featuring pure water and the lack of same world-wide.
One recent UN study warns that two thirds of earth's population will experience a "moderate to severe lack of water" within 25 years. A leading private international relief agency warns that this could lead to massive dislocations of population in poorer countries as "water refugees" are forced to trek in search of clean water. In the 1990's global water consumption has risen three times faster than the population.
We can fly to the moon, split atoms and, at least briefly, control fusion. But we cannot create water on a commercial basis. We can only process, filter, and otherwise attempt to purify the supply Mother Nature endowed the planet with ages ago. What goes around comes around.
Close to my home a grass roots effort is underway to protect the waters of Sodus Bay. The Save Our Sodus (SOS) group ( P.O. Box 202 Alton NY 14413) is working to reduce the phosphates coming into the bay from Glenmark Creek and is promoting the enactment of septic inspection laws that require mandated inspection of all such systems regularly.(This is done in Cayuga County but not yet on Sodus Bay). They have already had some success with their first objective though it took many hours of meetings, field research and volunteer efforts. (They got the NYS Attorney General's office interested enough to push a few hot buttons!)
SOS has several committees including a "science" committee, a political affairs committee, and a fund raising and membership effort. If you would like to get involved with this young but very active and effective group, contact them via mail above or via e mail to one of the membership folks. Ed Wheeler email@example.com can point you in the right direction. They are looking for help and for financial support and they are doing good work.