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The Eclipse as sketched from Grand Tower, Illinois, looking downstream toward Trail of Tears State Park

Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No 424
Seeing is Believing?
Friday, Sept 1, 2017 ~ Clarksdale, MS ~ Helena, AR ~

View downstream from Frontier Park, St. Charles, MO, Aug 2017 Race for Rivers


Check out a David Ross short film (7 mins) featuring the Big River and the Blues:
River Made:
Deep into the Gut of America Hurricane Harvey: Our thoughts and wishes go out to the good people of South Texas and Louisiana who have been flooded by Hurricane Harvey. We know exactly how you feel. A year and a half ago (in March 2016) we got washed out of the original location of the Quapaw Canoe Company by catastrophic flooding of the Sunflower River in downtown Clarksdale. We decided not to rebuild in that low-lying location within the floodplain, but instead moved 2 stories higher, literally 20 feet above the old location. We fortunate enough to be able to do in the same building. But many people afflicted by Harvey will not have this luxury.

In Houston we have seen canoes, kayaks and paddleboards used for rescues and flood transport, a hidden benefit to owning a paddle-powered vessel.

Our good friends at the Louisiana Enviromental Action Network sent some very useful information about recovering and cleaning up from a flooded community. They ought to know. They helped their neighbors survive Katrina. They also shared a very timely appeal from Pope Francis:

Pope Francis to World Leaders: 'Listen to the Cry of the Earth'

Pope Francis, who has a strong belief in the science of climate change, called upon world leaders on Wednesday to "listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor, who suffer most because of the unbalanced ecology."

In 2015, the Pope designated Sept. 1 as "a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation, framing the preservation of the environment as a "moral responsibility."

Similarly, Bartholomew—who backed Francis' 2015 encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si—once said:

"There has never been so much turmoil on our planet, but there has never been greater opportunity for communication, cooperation and dialogue. Basic human rights such as access to water, clean air and sufficient food should be available to everyone without distinction or discrimination. We are convinced that we cannot separate our concern for human dignity, human rights or social justice from the concern for ecological preservation and sustainability."

Pope Francis has long pressed for strong climate action. In May, during their meeting at the Vatican, the pontiff gifted President Trump a copy of the climate encyclical right as POTUS considered whether the U.S. should exit from the Paris climate agreement. Trump, a notorious climate skeptic who does not agree with Francis about the global phenomenon, apparently didn't take the Pope's message to heart—he controversially withdrew the U.S. from the Paris accord just a month later.

Monarch Caterpillar Munching Milkweed
Poleski Butterfly Garden
St. Louis, MO, Aug 2017


Saturday, Sept 9th: FAST for 9 Hours:
FAST America and Rejoin the Paris Accord:

Aug 2017 Eclipse over the Missouri River as depicted from St. Charles

Should You Trust Climate Science?
Maybe the Eclipse Is a Clue

A recent NYT article artfully described a strange contradiction in our belief systems as illuminated by the recent eclipse. Scientists accurately predicted and described the passage of the Aug 2017 eclipse across America, and we Americans flocked to the umbra and penumbra and were wowed by what we saw. We believed in the predictions, and they came true with precision, both in space and timing.

The article raises the simple question: we believed -- and then we saw -- the eclipse -- as a nation. The question is: why are we still doubting science about global warming?

Click here for complete article: Should You Trust Climate Science? Maybe the Eclipse Is a Clue

Essential Flood Survival Tips From LEAN:

What you can't see could hurt you and your family!

After a flood event many hidden dangers can still be present in your home and yard:

MOLD: Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies, may have more severe reactions including fever and shortness of breath. Individuals with chronic lung illnesses may develop mold infections in their lungs.

TOXINS: A number of toxic materials may be present in flood waters and deposited into your home and yard as the water recedes. For example, sediments left behind during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans were shown to contain significant quantities of arsenic, aromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum hydrocarbons and lead. Some of these toxins have been strongly associated with cancers as well as nervous system effects and kidney and reproductive system damage.
You CAN reduce your exposure to these materials by taking a few simple steps!
If you are re-entering, cleaning out or rebuilding a structure that has been affected by flood water you should take precautions to protect yourself from potentially harmful materials.

WEAR RESPIRATORY PROTECTION to protect yourself from mold spores and potentially contaminated sediment dust (as the sediment dries it can turn into a fine dust and be stirred up by everyday activities including walking through the structure). Be sure to have a mask with a NIOSH rating of at least N-95. You will find this number on the packaging and the mask itself. If the mask has no numbering on it, it is probably a common household dust mask and is not adequate protection.

WEAR GLOVES AND PROTECTIVE CLOTHING to prevent potentially harmful material from touching your skin or contaminating your regular clothes. The protective clothing can then be disposed of without causing further contamination.

WEAR SAFETY GOGGLES to protect your eyes from hazardous material and injury while working. Ventless goggles will help keep mold spores and dust out of your eyes.

WEAR RUBBER BOOTS and protective footwear to protect against contamination of your shoes and injury from sharp debris (rusty nails, broken glass, etc.).

WASH YOUR HANDS and any exposed skin thoroughly and regularly. "Waterless" hand sanitizer can be a convenient way to protect yourself from germs.
If you are working to clean out a flooded structure be sure to stay hydrated (drink water) and remember to take adequate breaks to stay cool while working in the heat.
See below for a list of protective items available online. These products are not endorsed by LEAN but may help you identify appropriate safety equipment. Examples of Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) that may be helpful in protecting you and your family from these hazards:

IF you order PPE online through Amazon be sure to sign up for AmazonSmile and have your purchase support the Louisiana Environmental Action Network(LEAN)

ON THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL, NORTHWEST OF TRUCKEE, Calif. — This will make me sound grouchy and misanthropic, but I sometimes wonder if what makes America great isn’t so much its people as its trees and mountains.
In contrast to many advanced countries, we have a vast and spectacular publicly owned wilderness, mostly free and available to all. In an age of inequality, the affluent have gated neighborhoods, private schools, backup generators and greater influence on elected officials. But our most awe-inspiring wild places have remained largely a public good to be shared by all, a bastion of equality.
My family and I have been backpacking on the Pacific Crest Trail through the Sierras north of Donner Pass, enjoying magnificent splendor that no billionaire is allowed to fence off. We all have equal access, at no charge: If you can hold your own against mosquitoes and bears, the spot is yours for the night.
Click here for full article:

Eclipse at Tower Rock and the Missouri Hills


Nov 1-Nov 10: Continuation of the Rivergator Expedition:
We will return to Bonne Carre Spillway in early November and resume the expedition to the Gulf of Mexico. More details forthcoming, but dates are approx Wed, Nov 1 to Fri Nov 10th, weather dependent of course.


Tony Wood sent a video of a stranded Koala Bear being rescued by a canoe on a flooding Murray (biggest river in Australia) by some Latrobe University students. Good job Latrobe! Thanks Tony! Click here for video:


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