“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
It would be easy for me to start this letter with how difficult 2020 has been for nonprofits, for people, and for the environment, but I have a feeling I don’t need to explain that this year has been like no other in recent history. I don’t need to explain how everything from the pandemic to the presidential election to racial injustice has laid bare the worst problems facing our country today, including the inequities and injustices with regards to our water resources and the deep divide among our ideas of how we move forward.
Instead of talking about the problems, I want to talk about strength and opportunities.
There is an evaluation tool we often use in the nonprofit sector called a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Too often we spend our time and energy thinking about our weaknesses and threats when the only way we can move forward is to understand and capitalize on our strengths and the opportunities they afford us.
A recent poll released by the Walton Family Foundation (yes, the family that started Walmart) found that 91% of Americans believe that protecting rivers, lakes and streams is an urgent issue. You would be hard pressed to find any other issue that Americans agree on more than protecting our water. We must capitalize on this opportunity!
The greatest strength we have in Alabama when it comes to protecting our waters is our Alliance partnerships. Your support fortifies the thousands of Alabamians who are working so hard every day to protect our clean water and a healthy environment for ALL.
By donating to the Alabama Rivers Alliance, you are empowering our organization
to continue the important work we do as a leader of Alabama’s statewide Rivers Alliance.
With your support, we have been able to look the challenges of 2020 in the face and see opportunities. To give you a glimpse of what those opportunities look like, take a look at what we have accomplished this year in the midst of all the challenges:
WATER IS LIFE ZOOM TALKS
Since we launched this new series in April, we have featured 41 partner organizations, highlighted 10 of our state’s watersheds, discussed 12+ issues facing our environment and brought more knowledge, empowerment, and strength to the hundreds of individuals who have participated.
The Alabama Rivers Alliance’s Water is Life meetings have impressed me very much, with the way they are run, presented, and the quality of guest speakers, as well as the number of attendees. The follow-up email, with its links and reminders, is yet another well done effort to educate and engage those of us that have tuned in to this valuable program directed at saving and restoring one of our most valuable resources.” – Water is Life regular participant
VIRTUAL ALABAMA WATER RALLY
After 22 years of holding the largest statewide gathering of water advocates annually, we had to take Alabama Water Rally online. But this didn’t stop the dedicated Alabamians who want to be a part of the fight for clean water. This year’s Virtual Alabama Water Rally featured 25 speakers, 30% of which were people of color and more than 100 participants from all across Alabama and the Southeast. Your support made this event possible and brought us the strength we need to continue to bring people together even in the midst of a pandemic.
My hope level has RISEN being here for the last few days for sure!!! – Water Rally participant
SOUTHERN EXPOSURE FILMS
Even though we had to change our typical process for creating short documentaries this summer, we are so proud that we were able to successfully create four amazing films with our film fellows This year, due to COVID-19, our film fellows worked remotely from Oakland, Chicago, Tulsa and Duluth, directing an on-the-ground in Alabama film “crew of two”, to create these compelling stories. This unique experience, while challenging, highlighted an innovative way of storytelling. Because of you, we had the strength to move forward with this important opportunity to lift up the powerful stories of Alabamians and our beautiful biodiversity through film!
I just wanted to share how much I appreciate you all taking on Southern Exposure. I have always valued these films in my teaching and outreach, but especially now that I can’t take students on field trips. These films offer such a fantastic place-based experience for viewers, and it really helps me connect the theoretical course material with the real world. THANK YOU THANK YOU!
What does all this strength and opportunity mean for our waterways?
It means we can carry on with the important work.
It means we do not and will not give up!
It means that your support of our work will help protect water no matter what!
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that individually we are deeply caring people and collectively we are resilient people. We still have a long way to go to fix the problems that 2020 has brought even more urgently to the surface, but with your continued support, we can remain strong and see every challenge as a new opportunity!
If you are able, please give what you can today to support our work throughout Alabama.
Water is Life,
Cindy Lowry, executive director