River Rat

Looking back on the River Rat training, I found that the whole organizational idea of it is a prime example of how to get the community involved in protecting their natural resources.  Because the program seemed somewhat catered to people who are already active on the river, the James River Advisory Council is able to harness their manpower to effectively keep an eye on the health of the river at some of the smallest levels.  In doing this, the JRAC has established an extremely cost efficient way to better keep the river clean while also making people feel like they are making a difference in their community and the environment.  This is the correct way to go about environmental protection because it also lets people feel like they are part of an environmental community, which is accentuated by the social events organized for the River Rat program.


The River Rat program is also a good example of how to address the issues of place blindness.  In getting people to join this program, they are becoming more invested in their local surroundings.  People that would otherwise only take to the river once a month are now more likely to go out once a week.  After attending this training, I feel an obligation to give back to the environment.  Coming out of the training, I had a better understanding of what to look for in terms of pollutions sources and some of the environmental indicators that researchers use to gauge river health.  This type of grassroots level organization is what I believe provides the foundation for the increased environmental consciousness that the world needs.  From the River Rat program, local people are providing the information that can influence city officials on policy matters and force companies to comply with environmental regulations.

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