Being in my third year here at Fort Lewis, I am becoming more aware and involved with things that are happening in our local community. This last week, I attended the Green Business Roundtable meeting for the first time. The main topic of discussion was an update on the status of the Animas River, six months after this Gold King spill in August of 2015. Living and working here in Durango when the spill happened, I observed how huge of an impact it had on our community and the attention it drew to the river. It seemed at the time that this would be the way things would remain; but as the speaker, Dan Olsen, pointed out, “attention on our town faded at the same rate of the river turning back to blue.”
Being an Environmental Studies student at the Fort, this is a concept that I have seen a lot in my studies. Being a resident in this community, I have also known that our river has always been plagued with various levels of metals, but it was only after a larger outbreak, that the issue became an addressable problem. The meeting showed ways that our community would be able to begin cleanup of the mines up river and also presented the possibility of all the open mines throughout the west being cleaned up too.
The limitation that would be faced would be the financial component needed to fund the operations. Though the number proposed is large and potentially not feasible for our area to take on alone, it is exciting to know that efforts are at least being made to have a positive outcome from all that has happened. It was inspiring attending the meeting and finding out how many green businesses are invested in our community for more than just making a profit, and they are a great example to keep in mind once I am done with my degree. Always remember the importance and power the community has; and if we all come together to address a problem, it has the chance to be solved.