Finding Hope in the Futile
By Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley, Executive Director
Sometimes a day at the Georgia State Capitol feels like a lesson in futility. Requests to talk to legislators go unnoticed by the legislators themselves. Industry lobbyists hover nearby, I imagine, to unravel our arguments for safeguarding Georgia’s natural resources from hazards like coal ash waste. The place is all abuzz with people and their agendas.
But that’s when I realize it’s not a futile exercise. It’s still about the people. And today while at Capitol Conservation Day, I reveled once again in the connecting with friends, new and old, who also care like I do about Georgia’s water and Georgia’s future. We were together under the Gold Dome to appeal to the common sense of our elected officials. Surely the words spoken by the prophet Ezekiel in the sixth century (BCE) apply here:
“Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?” (Ezekiel 34:18)
Does anyone really intend to foul up our waters? Let’s hope not. And yet, threats exist. People and ecosystems made up of all kinds of living things are negatively impacted. Thankfully, the Georgia Water Coalition has been mobilizing citizens from across the state for over a decade to join voices together in protection of our water resources. So today, over 150 people came together for another Capitol Conservation Day.
That’s where I met a new friend. She had never attended this lobby day previously. Yet, she was very concerned about legislation being proposed that would have a negative impact on her family’s farm in South Georgia – land that has been farmed for five generations of her family. She knew that legislators needed to hear from her family about how HB 545 would harm her family’s property as well as their economic means. She cared enough to show up and work to be heard. My new friend intends to stay involved in any and all efforts to protect Georgia’s water resources as well as the land that it sustains. She knows that just coming to the state capitol for one morning won’t fix all that ails this legislation or any other threats to our natural resources.
Capitol Conservation Day every year invites us to get out of our comfort zones. It takes us out of our usual routine and community to fight for environmental protections that serve everyone. Every year we learn that we don’t do this work alone. We join with new and old friends to ensure that safe, clean water is a human rights issue across Georgia.
I look forward to seeing my new friend again – next time maybe at her church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Decatur, and we can talk more about how her parish can also engage in water conservation and efficiency as a witness to faith. For now, I’m grateful she’s out there fighting for what is right and asking her legislators to VOTE NO on HB 545 and protect Georgia’s farms and water now and for future generations.