On The River – July 2013

Outreach Director, St. Johns Riverkeeper
For the second year in a row, people will be marching on land, with beer in hand, through the Riverside neighborhood to help protect the St. Johns River. A July 14th pub crawl is part of SweetWater Brewing Company’s annual “Save Our Water” campaign that kicks off on July 4th and runs through Labor Day. As part of the campaign, participating local restaurants and bars will be raising awareness about the importance of clean water as they compete to see who can cover their walls with the most paper fish donations to benefit St. Johns Riverkeeper.
The truth is our water and our river need saving. The St. Johns is unfortunately facing significant threats. Plans are underway to withdraw millions of gallons of water a day from the river to water lawns. Environmental protections are being weakened or repealed in Tallahassee. Pollution continues to trigger fish kills and toxic algae outbreaks. The state has made it harder for citizens to legally challenge the decisions that threaten our waters. And, to make matters worse, barely a handful of legislators are willing to take a stand for Florida’s waterways.
So, how do we fight to save our water? A pub crawl may not be the first idea that comes to mind to protect clean water, but reconsider. More and more businesses and their patrons are standing up for the river and our waterways. Local salons, bike shops, restaurants, bars, outfitters and artists have been busy donating their time to help raise awareness and funds to protect our community’s most important natural resource – the St. Johns River. SweetWater Brewing Company is one those companies, supporting St. Johns Riverkeeper along with Waterkeeper organizations throughout the Southeast. Clean water makes tasty beer the same way that a healthy, vibrant St. Johns River benefits our local economy and quality of life.
We have to start taking personal responsibility to preserve and protect what we care most about in our community. This involves rallying together for our river.
Can we Save Our Water with a pub crawl? There is only one way to find out.

About Shannon Blankinship

Shannon Blankinship is the Outreach Director for St. Johns Riverkeeper and contributes regularly via the “On The River” column building awareness for the many issues that impact the St. Johns River. Shannon received her B.S. from Purdue University in Natural Resources Economics and Policy and her J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville. She is currently an elected official in Duval County serving on the Soil and Water Conservation District. She is a board member for the local nonprofit The Girls Gone Green and regularly contributes articles affecting animals and health. She is a Springfield resident and works to promote all things great in the urban core neighborhoods.