In honor of Clean Water Action's 50th birthday, we are lifting up voices and stories in the Clean Water movement through #CleanWater50Stories. Our story is the story of everyday people who have used their power to make a difference to create a healthier and greener future for all.
Meet David Foster, recently retired as Clean Water Action Texas Director. David first went to work for Clean Water Action in 1995 as a field canvasser and became Texas Program Director in 2004. During his tenure, David coordinated Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund's public outreach to numerous Texas communities, elected officials, and regulatory agencies before retiring at the end of 2021.
What's Your Connection to Clean Water?
I came to work for Clean Water Action as a field canvasser in Austin in the summer 1995, motivated by the desire to help create an environmentally-friendly city at a time when the Texas capital was engaged in a protracted battle to protect Barton Springs. I would up staying more than 26 years, serving first as part of the canvass leadership and program team and eventually becoming Texas Director.
2015: Mailing out hundreds of letters from fellow Texans to EPA calling for prevention of oil and gas wastewater pollution
What's Your Favorite Clean Water Action Story?
I learned first-hand through canvassing and phone banking about the ability of Clean Water Action to motivate our members to vote for pro-environment candidates. We helped take over the Austin city council in the mid-1990s and ushered in a wide range of programs -- buying land in sensitive areas to protect the Springs and our drinking water supply, providing parks, flood protection and sidewalks to underserved communities, removing polluting facilities from BIPOC neighborhoods, expanding rebates for clean energy, and much more. This same approach helped secure notable victories at the state level, such as setting and expanding the nation's first renewable portfolio standard and stopping homeowner associations from banning drought-tolerant landscape.
2017: Austin City Council unanimously passing a Green Stormwater infrastructure resolution
Why Do You Care About Clean Water?
Earth is a water planet and water is at the heart of the existential challenges facing us -- climate change, drought, pollution. Water is the theme uniting us all no matter what our background. Clean Water helps educate people on steps they can take in their own homes and lives to protect our shared world, and the organization provides many ways to plug into this critical work.
What's Exciting for Clean Water Now & for the Future?
I continue to be impressed by the ability of Clean Water to rejuvenate itself and to provide people of diverse backgrounds with the opportunity to help shape the organization's future and embark on a meaningful career.
I am truly grateful to Clean Water Action for giving me the opportunity to earn a living doing something meaningful and effective and for the community that has blossomed around our shared endeavors. Long may Clean Water prosper!