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A National Dialogue for the Future of America's Waterway

The Mississippi River as Community

River Currents Newsletter - October 2008

Webster's Dictionary defines community in several ways. The first definition - a unified body of individuals - wouldn't fit for the Mississippi River right now. But it's amazing how the next three definitions apply directly. Webster's definitions b.), c.) and d.) -- people with common interests…; an interacting population…; and a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society - all describe the Mississippi River community to a tee. Perhaps if these three definitions can be self-realized, the first one - a unified body - can come into being as well.

America's Waterway is attempting to unify the Mississippi River community using the internet and social networking to overcome geographic and cost barriers that have limited its unification in the past. It's our belief - and that of the National Science Council - that unified approaches are better able to address a whole-River system than the disjointed approaches that have predominated throughout its history. We're going to see if that isn't possible in this era of internet engagement and mobilization.

We're looking for people up and down the Mississippi River to join us in this effort by sharing their visions of the Mississippi River. In particular, we'd like to see what you see as the common characteristics. How are the events in your community representative of the Mississippi River? How are the community-development issues and the water-quality-protection issues the same for you as they would be for other River communities? Do you have photos or videos? How is your organization addressing the development of whole-River approaches? How do you see the character, condition and possible future of the Mississippi River impacting your life?

It's time the Mississippi River community started to come together. If we start to share ideas today, maybe we can share solutions in the future. We hope you'll join us and send your photos and thoughts to America's Waterway at alewis@americaswaterway.org.

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