By Dr. Mark LeChevallier – September 4, 2015 – Comment

When it comes to leading the discussion on water preservation and revitalization, there are a number of go-to sources that everyone expects to hear from: environmentalists, government and those of us who make up the industry. Early on in the water conservation movement, the M.O. of these groups was to make a little noise and then work extremely hard to encourage a reporter or two to amplify it, realizing the media – whether it was a local paper representing a grassroots organization, or a more “massive” component of mass media – were vital… they were the ones who would provide the momentum needed for the movement to really take off.

About a year ago, the discussion on water preservation and revitalization underwent a powerful revolution when that desired target supporter – the media – joined in as a very vocal, very active advocate. It started with Keystone Crossroads, a Pennsylvania state-wide public media partnership funded by the Corporation of Public Broadcasting. United in the Keystone Crossroads mission are four powerful public news stations in the state, WHYY in Philadelphia, WITF in Harrisburg, WESA in Pittsburgh and WPSU in State College. Together, these stations are “collaborating to report in depth on the root causes of our state’s urban crisis – and on possible solutions.”

Spend a few moments exploring the Keystone Crossroads website, and you can see just how deep these advocates are going in order to drive conversation on, as well as change for, today’s water issues, in addition to other top environmental concerns. Of particular interest to me – and I hope to you as Dr. Water readers – is the Keystone Crossroads’ PA’s Urban Waterfronts initiative. Again, this is a website worth exploring. It is one that will undoubtedly draw you in deep with its stories, reporting and opportunities to add your voice to the discussions. There is also the PA Waterfront Map, offering incredible, inspiring overviews of what is happening to revitalize some of the state’s most important waterfront points and, in the process, protect everything from drinking water to economic livelihoods.

The impact being made by Keystone Crossroads comes not just from what they are doing, but HOW – that is, with the same journalistic integrity that makes public news reporting such a trusted source. The topics are relevant and hard-hitting. The reporting is honest and transparent. The articles, reports and videos are compelling, engaging and motivational.

Perhaps, most importantly, the stories are personal; they make it easy to for someone in Lehigh County to feel a connection with George Valdez living in a marina on the Delaware River and, therefore to see the impact waterfront revitalization and water conservation efforts have one everyone. The stories feature real people who represent people who are making a difference and eager to share why and how.

Wouldn’t be great if all across the country partnerships like Keystone Crossroads were formed to better inform, educate, and inspire people to take action water advocacy, preservation, and revitalization?  Let’s encourage and applaud those making this difference!