Our blog post for today is from guest writer, Jim Sholly from the CLEAR Project.  Welcome, Jim!  And thank you for inspiring us all on this celebration of Earth Day!


Earth Day in Clear Lake has historically been marked by outward efforts to “clean up” our neighborhoods and shorelines in the name of cleaning up our planet, but in the midst of our current situation, this year is shaping up to be a bit different. We will not be gathering with groups of friends to clean up our local park, or gathering together at the Surf to hear speakers and see exhibits on what we can do to make our world more environmentally sustainable. Instead, this year, we have the opportunity to reflect on how we can work every day from this moment forward to make sure our community and our planet are treated better and more in line for how they deserve.

To me, Earth Day is a celebration of what I have the privilege of working towards every other day of the year. The CLEAR Project has the underlying goal of protecting our lake from outside threats like pollution and erosion that cause algae or E coli from overtaking this beautiful natural resource. I have spent over a decade working to place protections around our lakes, and educate our communities on ways they can get involved. So today, I challenge everyone from North Iowa to stop, reflect, and make a conscious decision to do better by our lake (or any natural area) from this day forth.

Earth Day should not be the only time we stop to pick up trash along the roads, parks and shorelines, it should be something we do anytime we see items discarded where they don’t belong. Earth Day should not be the only time we seek information on how to live a more sustainable life, it should be a goal for all of us to continuously attempt to do better by our decisions and actions. So much has been accomplished since the first Earth Day celebration took place 50 years ago. All of those great milestones are worth celebrating, and looking ahead at the challenges that still await us, I am not disheartened by how far we have to go, I am inspired by the creativity that has been shown thus far and I am confident we can tackle any obstacle that has been put in front of us.

It is hard to imagine Clear Lake without the picturesque lake in the background, and the opportunities it provides as the focal point for North Iowa. Working to protect this beautiful resource has been a community effort for some time now, and through the efforts of the CLEAR Project we are now seeing a lake that is providing the best recreation that anyone has seen in our lifetimes. It wasn’t that long ago when swimmers headed to the beaches were met with an unsightly green tinge and often a smell that sent them retreating back home. Thankfully, a group of concerned citizens and stakeholders banded together to make a change. Now our lake is again living up to its “Clear” name, seeing the return of vegetation, and hosting one of the Midwest’s premier fishing opportunities.

Earth Day has always been about bringing awareness to what we can do to help clean up and protect our planet. And while this year may look a little different in how we are celebrating this effort, it should in no way diminish our enthusiasm for making a change in our life that better protects our lake and our community from pollution. I stand by the idea that no action or change of habit is to small to have an impact, for when everyone does something small…together, we can do something great!

To find out ways you can assist the CLEAR Project in their efforts to protect and enhance Clear Lake, please visit www.clearproject.net. When the world emerges from isolation on the other side of its current situation, I would love to meet with you or speak to your group about what has been accomplished and how we can work together to promote the spirit of Earth Day, every day.