Monday, June 19, 2017

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Sloop departs for DC, following Clearwater Fest


Clearwater, docked in Croton and ready to sail

CROTON – The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater quietly slipped out of its berth at Croton Point Park early Monday morning, along with the slowly shifting tide, punctuating fog and darkness with shouts of nautical jargon from its skeleton crew.

Sloop Clearwater embarks on a 10-day journey to Washington DC, to hold a congressional briefing underscoring the importance of protecting America’s waterways. The voyage follows in the footsteps of a similar sojourn taken by founder Pete Seeger in 1970, for the first Earth Day.

“Water protection is absolutely critical to our health, and our economy, moving forward,” explained Manna Jo Greene, environmental action coordinator for the Clearwater organization.

“Here in Newburgh people have their water supply poisoned with PFOS and that is just as true in Hoosick Falls and we know about Flint, Michigan. Water protection is absolutely critical to our health and our economy moving forward.”

The sloop will be carrying a Cargo of Concerns, including thousands of signatures and 25 municipal resolutions.

“People in the Hudson Valley understand how important environmental protection and clean water are,” said Greene, who is also an Ulster County legislator from Rosendale. “They believe that climate change is real; there is no doubt in people’s minds.”


Greene: “People in the Hudson
Valley understand ..."

A landlubber, Greene will be joining the sailors down in DC by automobile.

The festival tradition began in 1966, with a series of concert fundraisers up and down the valley, hosted by organization founder Pete Seeger, a folk musician and environmental activist. Originally, a banjo would be passed around as a makeshift collection hat. By 1978 the annual event was permanently sited at Croton-on-Hudson.

This past weekend witnessed the 50th Anniversary of the Clearwater Festival for 2017, following a hiatus the previous summer to overhaul the ship’s hull at Kingston home port. 

Beloved patriarch Pete Seeger passed away in 2014, at age 94, shortly after his wife Toshi died. He spoke his timeless message, while strumming that old banjo, until the very end.

 


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