Like respect for Rutgers, one appreciates what we have in this state the more we get outside of it and visit other states around the country. I’ll never forget my best friend from HS’s surprising discovery, when she took a summer chemistry class at RU, that Rutgers has a GREAT reputation outside of the state. It was both of our “safety schools” back in the day. I ended up going there, as I couldn’t afford, and had no financial aid for, my dream school, which I surprisingly got into (I think the chickens in the bathtub gave me an edge…but that’s a whole ‘nother story). So I was thrilled when she told me that her professors at Emory thought so highly of RU.
Anyway, what I found surprising as I paddled the coastlines of this great nation, is that NJ really DOES get it. Or DID get it, anyway. We’ve had recycling programs in place longer than many states, and we’ve gone to great lengths to protect and conserve our water supplies in this most densely populated little peninsula. Sure, we have so much more work to do, but compared to other states we are incredibly prescient, educated, and resourceful.
Our politicians get it because they KNOW we place a premium on clean water and a healthy environment. That’s why we don’t have any drilling off our coasts here, that’s why we have huge swaths of protected land, you NEED undeveloped, wild, open spaces to protect your water. You NEED to NOT drill off your coasts to protect your ocean AND your water. (and yes, this IS a plug for our South Jersey Chapter of Surfrider Foundation’s “Hands Across the Sands” event THIS Saturday!)
Unfortunately, though, NJ’s politicians seem to be forgetting that we are an educated population here. That edge might slip, though, as it seems the state’s recent performance is tied more to the parents who, more than likely (my opinion), like me, got their education here when our public schools were still a priority, unlike now with the explosion of charter & private schools where teachers make seriously substandard wages.
But maybe the lead issue, at least, will wake people up. Actually, now that I’m seeing this article, why the heck didn’t the other schools respond, and where is Medford on this list??? After all, our Medford Lakes and Medford area HS’s, with the exception of Seneca HS, were built BEFORE lead was banned in plumbing!! Makes me glad that my kids bring their own water bottles and I’ve ALWAYS told them not to drink from the schools’ fountains. But really, Medford & Medford Lakes, didn’t anyone ask for your input on our schools water????
Between battles for open space and aquifer protection in this state, we would do well to look at the bigger picture. How we remedy these issues at home can help provide a basis for water resource management around the globe. If the World Bank expresses concern, shouldn’t we?