What Clean Water Action Means to Me
Earth Day has always had a special meaning for me – a birthday for Earth and a call to action to do what we can to protect it. In 1970, I organized the very first Earth Day event at my school in Oakland. Eschewing the bus, I enlisted a crew of friends in a bike caravan to ride 10 miles to school. Alarmed by the oil spills along the coast, and the poisoning of wildlife and humans from DDT, my classmates and I led a day long teach-in. This was the spark that ignited what has become a lifelong career as an activist. Fast forward 20 years, it seemed only fitting to celebrate the opening of Clean Water Action’s California office on April 22, 1990. I eventually became the California State Director, serving for five years (1997-2002) to begin the fight for safe and affordable drinking water, protection from arsenic and perchlorate, fund drinking water investments, organize cities to adopt the precautionary principle, and fight for protection of the Bay Delta.
So much of Clean Water Action’s success came from our amazing canvass; our field organizers working door to door to inform you, our members, about critical environmental causes and political campaigns and our phone canvassers generating thousands of letters and emails to promote important causes and defend our environment. Their energy, enthusiasm and effectiveness are the backbone of our success.
Today, even as essential workers risk their health for us and many of us are sheltering at home, I hope you’ll join me to take a moment to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the 30th of Clean Water Action in California. And I hope you’ll join me in donating to help Clean Water Action kick off its next 30 years.
Marguerite Young is on the Board of Clean Water Action. She began her career in environmental activism in 1981 as a canvasser and has been associated with Clean Water Action since. She was Clean Water Action’s California Director from 1997 to 2002. She coordinates environmental justice and climate action work for the Service Employees International Union. In 2016 she was elected to the Board of the East Bay Municipal Utility District where she currently serves as President.