Tag Archives: Bob Criss


Local Environmental Leaders’ New Year’s Wishes 2021

by Don Corrigan

What will 2021 bring for environmentalists, nature advocates and outdoor enthusiasts? Will the pandemic of 2020 offer some hard lessons about nature’s fragility? Will America rejoin the world forum on Climate Change? Will St. Louis cultivate more open spaces and find ways to reduce the region’s carbon footprint?

Environmental Echo contacted more than a dozen local environmental leaders and asked for their 2021 prognostications and their New Year’s wishes for the planet, the country and for their own piece of planetary turf in the heartland of the Mississippi and Missouri river valleys. Their answers were as varied as the organizations for which they advocate and represent.

Rejoin Paris Climate Accord

Pictured: Richard Thoma

Richard Thoma of the Webster Groves Nature Study Society said he is looking forward to the United States reentering the Paris Climate Accord, an agreement for countries around the world to limit greenhouse gas emissions. “In 2021, let’s put our money where our mouth is and actually do something about this global threat,” Thoma said.

“Cities too, like St. Louis, could get involved in creating more green space as part of this effort,” Thoma added. “Wouldn’t it be neat in 2021 if St. Louis and other cities around the world took those blighted neighborhoods filled with abandoned buildings, raised them to the ground, and then replaced them with parks?”

Pictured: Sister Cheryl Kemner

Sister Cheryl Kemner, with the environmental advocates of the Franciscan Sisters, said her wish for 2021 is a renewal of hope for the future and a return to and fulfillment of the Paris Climate Agreement.

She said she prays for restoration of our relationship with nature, so we see its beauty, its intrinsic value, and that this leads to an appreciation and protection of nature’s diversity.

“I pray for a renewal that establishes ‘harmony within ourselves, with others, with nature and other living creatures, and with God’ as cited in Laudato Si,” said Kemner. “I wish for sustainable lifestyles attained by living simply … I pray for a healthy planet that is sustainable, a planet that has the time to rest and renew itself.”

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Was The Valley Park Levee Built Too High?


FB 3 Levee

Local environmentalists say there are more sewage spills, property damage and flood cleanups in our future because of construction in floodplains, loss of wetlands and new levees. They say the Valley Park levee was built anywhere from five to eight feet higher than authorized and is the culprit in unprecedented flooding along the Meramec River in late 2015 and 2016 in Kirkwood, Sunset Hills, Fenton and farther downstream.

And now, after hiring a civil engineering firm to take measurements of the levee, they say they have proof that the levee was build beyond authorized specifications. They are sharing the latest findings about the levee with city officials and property owners who sustained flood damage, but say it is too early to speculate on what legal actions might result with the latest findings showing the levee height exceeds authorized levels.
Be sure to listen to a podcast interview from January of this year with Bob Criss at the end of this article. He explains why the continued development and levee construction could make flooding worse in the coming years.

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