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Watersheds are everywhere

2009/10/23

Everybody is talking about the Pacific garbage patch these days, following the return of at least one trip out to study it. Which is good because the garbage patch is a troubling thing. But this video just tweaked me a bit (view it here at Treehugger). At one point, a very earnest woman says that the landfill is in the watershed! OMG, not in a watershed! And that right there is the problem. Lady, everything is in a watershed. Every landfill, every house, every coal plant, every car. And almost every watershed is part of a larger system that eventually reaches the ocean (the Great Basin is closed, but not so many people live there so for this discussion we’ll just ignore them). So of course the landfill is in a watershed. And that means that what goes to the landfill has the potential to reach our waterways and the ocean.

That statement just had this kind of NIMBY-ish feel to it. Sort of like “The landfill is in a watershed. Watersheds are these special things. I must not be in a watershed.” You put fertilizer on your lawn—it’s in the watershed. Your neighbor sprays his fruit orchard—it’s in the watershed. That doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is funneled straight into the ocean. Stuff gets in the fish, in the plants and in the soil. So get a grip and remember, everything is in a watershed.

Watersheds in Massachusetts

Watersheds in Massachusetts

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