NRDC                         It is best if you just go to this site...It is very well developed....

The Natural Resources Defense Council's purpose is to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends.

We work to restore the integrity of the elements that sustain life -- air, land and water -- and to defend endangered natural places.

We seek to establish sustainability and good stewardship of the Earth as central ethical imperatives of human society. NRDC affirms the integral place of human beings in the environment.

We strive to protect nature in ways that advance the long-term welfare of present and future generations.

We work to foster the fundamental right of all people to have a voice in decisions that affect their environment. We seek to break down the pattern of disproportionate environmental burdens borne by people of color and others who face social or economic inequities. Ultimately, NRDC strives to help create a new way of life for humankind, one that can be sustained indefinitely without fouling or depleting the resources that support all life on Earth.

Two rivers run through it

“Please watch this
short video about a disaster waiting to
befall an American
natural treasure.”

-- Robert Redford

Robert Redford Two rivers run through it

Dear Richard,
The proposed Pebble Mine may be the worst corporate assault on America’s natural heritage that no one’s ever heard of.

I need your help to change that -- and fast.

Please watch NRDC’s new, two-minute video about this approaching disaster.

Global mining giants -- including the Anglo American corporation, Mitsubishi and Rio Tinto -- would gouge one of the world’s largest open-pit mines out of Alaska’s incomparable Bristol Bay wilderness.

My friends at NRDC call it the worst project they’ve ever seen -- and they’ve seen hundreds of them. That’s because this colossal mine would be built at the very headwaters of our planet’s greatest wild salmon river systems: the Kvichak and the Nushagak.

Tens of millions of salmon course through this unspoiled Eden, feeding not just an abundance of bears, whales, seals and eagles but also the Alaskan Native communities that have thrived here for thousands of years.

Nothing like this place exists anywhere else on Earth. It is a remnant of American wilderness as it used to be, the kind of mythic landscape that Norman MacLean had in mind when he famously wrote:

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.”

And it is right here -- in the heart of this American Eden -- that foreign mining giants want to excavate their 2,000-foot-deep Pebble Mine. This monstrosity will spew some 10 billion tons of mining waste, laced with toxic chemicals, that must be held back forever by massive earthen dams up to 50 stories tall -- all in an active earthquake zone.

The Pebble Mine is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. If it pollutes the Kvichak and the Nushagak River systems, it will take down not only the world’s greatest sockeye salmon fishery but the awe-inspiring ecosystem that depends on it.

America has sacrificed too many rivers and wildlands to the mining industry, which has consistently left them despoiled and unrecognizable -- before sticking us with the astronomical cleanup costs.

There is still time to save Bristol Bay from a similar fate.

After you watch our new video, tell the mining giants you won’t let them plunder and destroy one of America’s greatest natural treasures in order to line their own pockets.

Please join with me and NRDC -- and thousands of Alaskan Natives, fishermen and conservationists -- in fighting the Pebble Mine and saving this remnant of our disappearing natural heritage.


Robert Redford
Trustee, Natural Resources Defense Council

P.S. After you watch the video and take action, you’ll have an opportunity to forward my message to other environmentally concerned people. Please take a few seconds to spread the word. I am convinced we can stop the Pebble Mine by alerting one million Americans to what’s at stake. Building this kind of outcry needs to happen one person at a time, starting with you. Thank you for doing your part!

There are many other good causes listed on this site.  Here a a couple of examples...

Don't Drill Away the West

Across the Western United States, oil and gas companies are trying to turn our last wild places into industrial zones. NRDC is fighting with local partners and through the court system to protect stunning landscapes, rich history, critical wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation areas before they're lost forever.

Drilling Down
Protecting Western Communities from the Health and Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Production

Oil and gas production releases pollution that can have serious impacts on people's health and the surrounding air, water, and land. Although these operations are frequently located near homes, schools, and other community resources, the oil and gas industry enjoys numerous exemptions from provisions of federal laws intended to protect human health and the environment. This October 2007 report provides a comprehensive assessment of these loopholes, which allow oil and gas companies to continue polluting despite the risks, and describes the available, often economical solutions for using technology to reduce environmental contamination. The report also includes personal stories from people living in communities affected by oil and gas drilling.

This is a great article about how valuable clean water is...


Remember the thrill, at the climax of The Miracle Worker, when Helen Keller grasps her first word: water? As the liquid flows from a pump over her hands, a light suddenly goes on in her mind, and she makes the connection between the bewildering sign language she has been learning and the wetness running through her fingers.

I had a similar, if less momentous, moment of illumination over water last fall. My husband, Peter, and I had driven up to the Catskills from Manhattan, two hours away, for a whirlwind tour of its woodlands, mountains and streams as guests of The Catskill Center, a local conservation and sustainable development organization. Our guides were Aaron Bennett and Chris Olney, directors of education and conservation, respectively, who know the natural landscape of the Catskills as intimately as I know the streets of New York.

I had come to experience the connection between New York City and its watershed, and the first stop we made was the Ashokan Reservoir, one of six reservoirs in the Delaware-Catskill system that provide New York City with ninety percent of its water supply. From here, I was told, the water travels via the Catskill Aqueduct some ninety miles to the city. It was hard to visualize. The water in the reservoir, which looked much like a natural lake, appeared far too placid to be moving anywhere. And what did a modern-day aqueduct look like anyway?

Standing in that serene and pastoral setting, I felt as removed from the city as I did from the Catskills when at home. But the connection between the two grew clearer over the next two days. Markers on the road for towns that had been destroyed (and, in some cases, relocated) to make room for the reservoir became the departure point for a history lesson on what it took to get the reservoir built a hundred years ago. I also saw a segment of the aqueduct -- underground but clearly visible as a hump in the land. And on one of our hikes, I drank some Catskill water at its source -- from a makeshift water fountain in the woods that consisted of nothing more than a pipe projecting from the rocky face of the hillside.

Then came my Aha! experience.

We were following in our car behind Tom Alworth, The Catskill Center's executive director, when suddenly he pulled over, got out and motioned for us to do likewise. First, he pointed out the Shandaken Tunnel on our right, which brings water through the mountains from the system's northernmost reservoir, the Schoharie, eighteen miles away, to a little canal running under the road. Then, we crossed the road to see the canal spilling its water into the Esopus Creek, which travels eleven miles from there to the Ashokan. As we watched the streams of water merge and race past, Tom said, "All that water's going to you."

Finally, I got it.

I could see, and even feel, that this was where the lifeblood of my city came from, and appreciate the gift of the people of the area in sharing their bounty with us.

I was terribly excited -- except for one thing. The water flowing in from the canal was brown and turbid, muddying the sparkling water of the Esopus. I remembered an article I'd read a couple of months earlier about this problem, which wasn't one of chemical pollution, but clay and other particles that were routinely washing into the water after storms. Because of it, the city, which currently has the largest unfiltered water system in the United States, may be forced to build a multi-billion-dollar filtration system in the next few years. The problem may yet be solved by constructing a new water intake system at the Schoharie, but the larger meaning to me was clear and even visceral: What runs off from the land in the Catskills will eventually end up in my glass in New York.

Another thing I came to understand deeply that day was how the city has gotten away without filtration for as long as it has. A large portion of the watershed overlaps with the 700,000-acre Catskill Park, a patchwork of private and public lands, including the Forest Preserve, which is protected as "forever wild" by the New York State Constitution. As a result of this far-sighted arrangement, development in the region has been contained, and with it, erosion and chemical runoff into the waterways. The protection isn't quite good enough (there is a major threat right now from a proposal for two massive golf and hotel complexes), but it's helped to hold the land together relatively well so far.

What a blessing -- and not just because it keeps our drinking water clean, but also because it preserves, just a hundred miles from the city, an honest-to-goodness wilderness.

For animals, including black bears, bobcats, coyotes, bald eagles and rare migratory birds like Bicknell's Thrush, the Catskills provide much-needed habitat; for people, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, famously good fly-fishing, skiing, rock-climbing, canoeing and other recreation in a beautiful half-wild, half-rural landscape -- the same that inspired the Hudson River School painters more than a century ago.

If you have a chance to go sometime, be sure to grab it. Whether your dream of a perfect day is tubing down a river, climbing a 4,000-foot peak or meandering through a woodsy setting as magical as Lothlorien, I guarantee you'll find reason to say, "Eureka, I found it!"

And give the Catskills -- or whatever your watershed is -- a thought now and again when you turn on your tap. You may not live on the land where your water originates, but you do live off it. Care for it as if it were yours -- because it is.

March 2007

Sheryl Eisenberg, a web developer and long-time advisor to NRDC, writes This Green Life, NRDC's monthly green living column. With her firm, Mixit Productions, she brought NRDC online in 1996, designed NRDC's first websites, and continues to develop special web features for NRDC. She created and, for several years, wrote the Union of Concerned Scientists' green living column, Greentips, and has designed and contributed content to many nonprofit sites.

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