Friday, May 19, 2017

Peggy M McAloon, Author and Activist Talks About Clean Water

I asked my author friend Peggy M McAloon to tell us something about herself we don't know. The following
is her compelling response:

When I retired as the National Account Manager for the National Association of Credit Management in Minneapolis, we sold our cabin and house in Minnesota, and purchased a lake home in Wisconsin. The house is nestled into a beautiful pine forest on the water’s edge with just enough birch, maple, and oaks to make the views nothing short of spectacular.
The first summer we were here, the lake started turning green about the middle of June. The term people here used was “blue-green algae” to describe the waters. Within weeks, I began having difficulty breathing whenever I went out into our beautiful yard. No matter how many questions I asked, I was told it was a form of algae and wouldn’t be the cause of my health decline.
My brother has a PhD in Microbiology, so I sent him two water samples by overnight mail. One sample was directly from the lake and the other was fixed with iodine as instructed. When the samples arrived at his lab, he assigned the project to a student working on her degree. Instead of using the safe tent method to test the samples, she worked on them on an open table.
Five hours later, she was rushed to the emergency room in extreme respiratory distress. The “simple algae” was actually a toxic form of bacteria known as cyanobacteria. It would have been simple to put the house back on the market and move, but I couldn’t do that to someone else. We decided to stay and try to make a difference.
For the past twelve years, I have been actively engaged in working for protections of our water resources.
I joined the lake association and quickly became the person in charge of communication. Newsletters were written and my husband and I became involved in stream monitoring to protect the local lakes.
Eventually, I attended the Wisconsin Lake Leaders Institute hosted by UW-Steven’s Point and the DNR. This commitment was made to help enhance skills and broaden capabilities of people in our lake communities, champion effective and communicative collaboration, and foster responsive and useful networks that support lake citizens.
In 2013, I was awarded the Minnesota State Society of the DAR Conservation Award and also with the National Society of the DAR Conservation Award. That was an enormous honor, as my mother was a DAR Regent in Iowa at one time.
We take clean water too much for granted in this country. My five-year-old nearly died of nitrate poisoning from city sources in a Minneapolis suburb. Again water has hit the news in Minnesota as children are being poisoned by lead in the water. We are seeing problems with the safety of our drinking water throughout the nation and yet we continue to ignore and/or reduce safeguards.
U.S. Senator Russ Feingold was gracious enough to answer my request and come to Wisconsin to view our lake when the green and blue foam covered the water. He asked me what the smell was, and I explained the toxins from cyanobacteria can carry in the winds up to a mile inland. That’s when the light bulb went on for him. He turned and looked at me with so much concern in his eyes when he acknowledged I wasn’t simply talking about the Clean Water Act, but that there is a serious problem with the Clean Air Act around affected waters.
There are days still, when I can barely breathe when I leave the house. I feel like the canary in the coal mine, but so far, we have only been able to take baby steps. Each day we fall backwards as profits in business take priority over the health and well-being of our citizens. I grew up in a time when we found ways to make compromises. I hope we can get there again and do what’s best for the greatest number.
Water is our birthright and heritage. We need it to live. I will always be as passionate about our water resources as I am about the protection of our children. They are forever connected and deserve our very best.
Peggy M McAloon is the author of Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals, Missing, Cosmo is Adopted, and Gloriously Gluten-Free Sweets and Treats. She has also contributed to New York Times Best Selling Author Joel Comm’s  So What Do You Do? Vol 2 and An Anthology of Modern Fairy Tales #1.  Peggy says her goal with the Elle Burton books is to inspire kids to be kind and to empower them to stand up to bullying and abuse. The Cosmo book was written for her grandchildren and includes 3 bonus sections, including questions parents can use to help children improve their “feelings” vocabularies.

You Can Connect with Peggy here:
Twitter: @PeggyMcAloon

Website:  https://peggyshope4u.comautho