Riegel: The beauty and effectiveness of citizen activists  

    I have been inspired of late by the citizen activists, who, fed up with litter and trash clogging Baton Rouge waterways, have taken matters into their own hands and formed an organization that is not only raising awareness of the issue but doing something about it, writes Business Report Editor Stephanie Riegel in her new opinion piece. 

    Photographer Marie Constantin co-founded the organization—the Louisiana Stormwater Coalition—with Kelly Hurtado, Renee Verma and Jeff Keuhny in March, after more than a year of documenting, through her arresting images, the litter she and random groups of volunteers collect on weekly kayaking cleanup trips around the Capitol Lake and other waterways.

    As of late June, the nascent coalition had established a fund through the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, raised more than $15,000, and acquired the first of what it hopes will be several litter-trapping booms. 

    It’s an impressive start for a small group, Riegel writes. especially when you consider how long it would take government to make all that happen. It is refreshing to see ordinary people band together and, through a shared dedication and vision, get things done. 

    Riegel saw another example of how that kind of passion and dedication can pay off—even if it takes decades—at a reception earlier this summer at the offices of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, which are located in an unassuming cottage in Old Goodwood, she writes. 

    Read Riegel’s full column, where she writes about the lasting, and ongoing legacy created by LEAN.