Sudha Nandagopal was one of hundreds who volunteered for our Duwamish Alive! restoration last week. In her thoughtful piece for the Seattle Globalist, she reminds us that people’s health and the environment are deeply connected and cannot be treated as separate issues.
“This week I spent part of my Saturday with volunteers for Duwamish Alive! pulling out invasive plants in restoration areas along the Duwamish River. Looking out at this industrialized river that is also a Superfund site I watched a great blue heron land in the water. This is perhaps one of the starkest local examples of where we need to appreciate the connection of communities, nature, public health and environmental protection.
We Seattleites arenâ€™t separate from this river â€” we have shaped its history as much as it continues to shape ours. Â Those communities that live and depend on the river â€” including the Duwamish Tribe and many immigrant communities â€” are not separate from the ecosystem that needs conserving. That is obvious in an urban river, perhaps, but that lesson is true no matter what weâ€™re protecting. We need to ask ourselves, who are the people most impacted, what is their role in this environment and how can conservation efforts enhance peopleâ€™s sense of connection and desire to protect their surroundings?”