If you were walking by an irreplaceable masterpiece of art and saw trash hanging from its easel, would you continue past it, or would you take the time to remove the blemish? Most of us, of course, would remove the garbage so we could, one and all, appreciate the masterpiece in its full glory. Let me ask you a harder question; Why is the same reverence not taken with our rivers and creeks? They are certainly irreplaceable, they’re certainly enjoyed by all who visit them.
Maybe we can’t answer this latter question. However, a month ago a group of conversation-minded individuals decided to form River Aid San Antonio, and embark on a crusade to remedy this neglect. Brought together by nothing but their love for the community and environment this diverse group is dedicated to a shared vision of a cleaner, more sustainable San Antonio. River Aid began as a casual conversation between volunteers at Gardopia Gardens about a consistent trash pick-up, and an effort to make the biggest difference with a small group of weekend warriors. After days of scouting, researching, and debating, it become clear to the group that the waterways of San Antonio served as magnets for our city’s trash. The San Antonio River, and the creeks of San Antonio are consistently saturated with garbage due to runoff from storms and high pedestrian activity along their paths. The focus of their mission became a consensus, the group would take on stewardship of San Antonio’s water ways.
On the same day that the group concluded where they would start their mission, they came to another realization. This task was too ambitious to take on alone, they would need help. It was this epiphany that led to the formation of River Aid San Antonio. An organization focused not on simply picking up trash, but with an aim to show individual citizens that their efforts towards sustainability and environmental protection can and do matter. That each separate commitment towards personal efforts to reduce our city’s litter can not only achieve a clean community but inspire others to work towards the same goal. River Aid believes that this attitude is infectious, and with their enthusiasm it is easy to see why.River Aid San Antonio decided to make the stretch along Confluence Park the first location to clear. The organization and its volunteers will work until their efforts allow them to move south along the San Antonio river. River Aid’s vision is to have the numbers and resources to address the San Antonio River’s trash from Roosevelt Park all the way to Mission Espada.
“This is a lofty goal, but not an impossible one. We believe it to be attainable, and regardless of our level of achievement our efforts WILL be fruitful.” – River Aid Spokesperson
Aside from River Aid’s volunteer events the organization hopes to raise awareness of the trash epidemic plaguing our waterways and our city. The idea is if someone could see the amount of trash that can be pulled out in just a few hours they may think twice about littering that water bottle. As a River Aid Spokesman put it “Getting the trash out of our river is our focus right now. That being said, we believe along the way we can educate the public through media outreach and community engagement. This will not only help us grow our numbers, but it will hopefully slow the root of our litter problem, which of course is us, all San Antonians! We are responsible and only we the people of San Antonio can fix it.”
River Aid San Antonio has acquired seed money through ChangeX, an organization funded by Microsoft to support community projects throughout our country. This seed money was enough to operate and have a modest effect, however, to scale and grow they need local partners and sponsors. The organization is seeking donations and courting partnerships with local businesses. They see this as San Antonio’s mission not theirs. River Aid San Antonio needs you, and the San Antonio River needs us. Reach out to River Aid San Antonio