Kootenai Environmental Alliance: 50th Anniversary Event

The Kootenai Environmental Alliance (KEA) launches its 50th Anniversary activities with an evening lecture by Dr. Douglas Brinkley, a respected historian and bestselling author on Friday, July 29 at the Jewett House (1501 E Lakeshore Dr) in Coeur d’Alene. The lecture about his newest book, Silent Spring Revolution, begins at 7:30pm. Tickets and event information are found at kealliance.org and here.

Brinkley, a consummate storyteller and revered scholar, weaves together details, personalities, and cultural aspects to present an informative and captivating lecture about some of the most important laws enacted in our time. As a Presidential historian, Brinkley wrote over twenty books about the influences on and the implications of presidential choices, and he applies his expertise to his 4th book about environment policy and its impact.

Silent Spring Revolution was many years in development and the timing for release is perfect:  2022 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, among the first and the most definitive environmental laws and considered the catalyst for the modern environmental movement.

Reviewers claim “In Silent Spring Revolution, Dr. Brinkley describes the rise of environmental activism during the Long Sixties (1960 – 1973), telling a highly charged story of an indomitable generation that quite literally saved the natural world under the leadership of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon.”

This is KEA’s 50th Anniversary year – it’s the oldest environmental organization in Idaho – and there are many anniversary events planned in celebration of the long and successful history and looking forward to the coming decades with different and often more pressing environmental issues to address. KEA works to develop grassroots advocacy and an engaged community around water issues.  As the Coeur d’Alene Lake Waterkeeper, KEA is focused on water quality, land use and climate change.

There is a confluence of events this year around water and Coeur d’Alene Lake: In 2021, Governor Little designated $2 million in Leading Idaho funds for projects that reduce phosphorus pollution in the Lake. In 2022, he added another $20 million to address these issues. The CDA Lake Advisory Committee and the Idaho DEQ administer the funds.

“Coeur d’Alene Lake is the heart of our north Idaho community, playing a crucial role in its culture, economy, and way of life. Preserving the lake is an absolute must,” Governor Brad Little said. “The projects selected by the Advisory Committee are helping to protect the vitality of the Lake for our future generations. While we’ve made a lot of progress to protect the lake, we’re taking steps to address the work still needed.”

Also in 2022, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will release the findings of the 2-year study conducted on water quality in the Lake.

For over 140 years, mining activities contaminated millions of tons of lake sediments with toxic metals. Since enacting environmental regulations in the mid-1970s, metal concentrations in the lake have declined.  Now, shoreline development, land-use changes within the basin, and climate change could reverse this success by increasing nutrient loading – and that could release metals bound to lake sediments.  The National Academies report analyzes data and information about lake water quality and addresses issues of concern.

Preservation, protection, and conservation of water is not unique to Idaho, and in most of the US, water issues are increasing in concern. The importance and timeliness of Brinkley’s book cannot be understated: “Silent Spring Revolution is crucial to understanding the battle to protect America’s land, water, wildlife, and air. In a fast-evolving era when the nation is witnessing new types of environmental crises due to climate change and resource exhaustion, Douglas Brinkley’s meticulously researched and deftly written book is also a clarion call, reminding us of the passionate grassroots work that still needs to be done as the spirit of the Silent Spring Revolution continues well into the twenty-first century.”

See KEA’s website for other activities and events – including Junk 2 Funk, a popular fundraiser to be held in late October – at kealliance.org or call the KEA office at (208)667-9093.




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