I have a T-Shirt that reads: Think Global, Act Local. I fully stand behind this message. It’s important that we think about things, like pollution or political corruption, in terms of their global effects because seeing The Big Picture reinforces the importance of issues. The only way any one person can change things on this planet is by doing their little part in their little corner of the world, by acting locally. I like to think that I try my best to Think Global and Act Local, but sometimes I feel alone in my efforts… especially here in Stockton, CA. So many Stocktonians are apathetic, unconcerned, or just convinced that the city is doomed to be Fucked for eternity. Doesn’t every native to the city dream of the day they can escape? Isn’t “Stockton sucks” our unofficial regional motto?
I have noticed that more & more of my fellow Mudville residents have been turning away from that kind of negative civic attitude in the last few years. A diverse music scene has developed because local musicians, promoters, and business owners have been doing their part to bring about change. While the economy is still dismal, small business owners in the area have done their part to improve the situation by banding together in merchant’s organizations like the Downtown Stockton Alliance or the Miracle Mile Improvement Association. Business coalitions like these are support networks and advocacy groups for Stockton’s small business owners, which is necessary in a city as hostile to entrepreneurship as this one. Citizens have been organizing senior-assistance meal programs, hosting teen leadership summits, and holding fund raisers to improve their neighborhood parks. Four years ago, I would have laughed at any asshole that preached about Stockton’s potential or suggested that local citizens were willing to work towards improvement. Now, I’m convinced that Stockton’s evolution will be brought about by the efforts of People Like You & Me. That kicks ass!
The most recent example of Stocktonians handling the mother f***ing business was reported in Tuesday’s Record under the headline Groups plan suit against Stockton. According to the paper, The Coalition for a Sustainable Delta and The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance have both decided to go head-to-head with the City of Stockton and San Joaquin County in two separate suits that cry foul on the way local government has been disposing of storm run-off and sewage. The Coalition for a Sustainable Delta is composed of South valley farmers & residents suing the city for allowing heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides to escape through storm drains and into the fragile Delta eco-system. The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance is beefing with the local government over claims that the city’s miles of sewer lines have overflown 1,487 times in the past five years. The waste usually ends up in the Delta’s waters, as do the pollutants from our wastewater treatment plant, & the Alliance is mighty pissed about what this does to the water quality.
Anyone that has ever drank Stockton’s tap water…or anyone that has spent an afternoon boating on the Delta, but were too grossed out to actually get in the water…or anyone that has heard urban legends about mutated Delta fish with arms & legs and didn’t doubt the authenticity of such tales… will agree that there is a problem & something has to be done to solve our water-related woes. We should all appreciate those hometown heroes doing their part to improve their little section of the planet & be inspired by their efforts. Visit the websites linked below for more information about the law suits, about the Delta, and about the water pollution that should concern us all.
Final thought courtesy of the groundbreaking anthropologist Margaret Mead:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”