Thursday, March 17, 2005

The River's Best Friend

Great Q & A today in the Trib with Friends of the Chicago River executive director Laurene von Klan. For more than a decade, she's been advocating on behalf of this important natural resource.

Here are my two favorite quotes:

You don't oppose dyeing the river green for St. Patrick's Day. Why not?
It's not the worst thing that happens to the river. When you look closely at the problem, it's not something that needs to be our priority right now. . . . Studies show [that] for creatures who live in the river now, [the dye] is probably not harmful. However, one day when we have brown trout and native darters, we'll have to re-evaluate and look for new, great ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Have you ever eaten a fish from the river?
I have never eaten a fish from the river, but people have and people do. The other day I saw some men catching fish. They were very happy, and I attempted to explain to them the fish probably weren't good to eat. I tried to indicate to them that they should not let any pregnant women and small children eat it, but people do. Being able to eat the fish is inherent in the goal of making the river fishable and swimmable by 2020. The ability to eat from the river and streams in the back yard seems to me a basic human right. It's part of being alive and a gift from God, that's how I personally feel.

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