Renew Our Rivers

Cleaning up seems to be a prescient topic with the horrible BP oil spill (see a recent satellite image here)facing the country and Gulf States in particular. It’s too bad that it takes an accident of this nature to focus our attention on this region’s beautiful resources and its conservation efforts.


In one of the more interesting corporate social responsibility plays I’ve seen in a while, Alabama Power has activated its local community for the Renew Our Rivers project. Ironically, it’s not a new initiative, but one that has evolved over the past ten years to encompass more than 10,000 people in the state of Alabama. The effort includes Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and the Florida panhandle, and focuses on six river systems.

A combination of old and new media tools have been used to activate the community. The goal of the online effort is to show the actual work the volunteers have done. To date, more than 10 million pounds of trash have been cleaned up from the six river systems from 2000 to 2009. The trash and debris removed includes bottles and cans to tires, water heaters, refrigerators and boats.

Perhaps the most compelling tool to date, at least for me as a photographer, is the Flickr stream. You can see how bad some of the river spots are, including abandoned house boats. It’s pretty cool to see the hard work and progress. So kudos to Renew Our Rivers.

Geoff Livingston is a regular contributor to the Live Earth blog.