Our View: Take nothing for granted, including water

Every drop counts. That’s the motto of this year’sEarthfest, Rochester’s week-long celebration of Mother Earth and environmental activism, which begins today and culminates with...

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If we’re lucky, the weather will be as balmy Sunday as it was in 2016, when marchers gathered for the annual People’s Climate March on Earth Day in Rochester. This year’s march will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Peace Plaza.

Every drop counts.

That’s the motto of this year’s Earthfest , Rochester’s weeklong celebration of Mother Earth and environmental activism, which begins today and culminates with Earth Day. It could hardly be a more relevant theme in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

The fourth-annual festival opened with events at the Government Center and Rochester Community and Technical College, and events continue all week at the campus, the Minnesota Children’s Museum Rochester, Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center , Assisi Heights and Quarry Hill Nature Center.

Making this year’s Earthfest even more special is the reopening of Quarry Hill after its $2.6 million makeover, including a near-total rebuild of the nature center. Generations of area students and families have visited Quarry Hill and often had their first exposure to the natural sciences there, and we’re all looking forward to a first look at the new center.

The Earthfest Expo, with exhibits, demonstrations, performances and more, is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the RCTC Fieldhouse, and the People’s Climate March caps off the week at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Peace Plaza.


Mayo Clinic, RCTC Student Life, Watson Recycling and St. Paul nonprofit Fresh Energy are lead sponsors for Earthfest, and the Post Bulletin’s Radish magazine also is a sponsor.

This year’s theme, about protecting and caring for our water resources, could not be more timely. Try out these headlines from the past month:

The Mississippi River in the Twin Cities and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area last week were named two of the 10 most endangered rivers and water resources by the environmental group American Rivers.

The BWCA is on the list because of the pollution threat from proposed mining projects nearby. Last week, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith made clear she’ll do what she can to keep one of those projects, the PolyMet copper mine project at Hoyt Lakes, moving ahead. That’s disappointing for those who believe PolyMet poses risks to water quality and the wilderness that will endure for centuries after the copper and jobs are gone.

Another top issue is the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline projec t, which would replace and redirect an oil pipeline from near the Canadian border to Superior, Wis. The project has raised concerns about the potential for oil spills and damage to water quality. Last week, Enbridge’s pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac , which connect Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, sustained damage from a lake vessel and leaked benzene-containing liquid.

And last month, the city of Lake Elmo, near St. Paul, shut down a city well and water tower after unsafe levels of perflurochemicals (PFC) were found in the drinking water supply. The contamination is attirbuted to chemicals developed by 3M Co. in the east metro area.

All are reasons to question how well we’re caring for the resources that we, in Minnesota and the Great Lakes states, tend to take for granted. Water gets more precious every year, with more people, more demands and more ways in which it can be wasted and degraded.

Every drop counts, and so does every action to protect it. Earthfest is a good place to start.

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