Pete Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014) helped change a river, and as a result, an entire region, for the better. An anecdote that sums up his optimism and determination comes from a New York Times remembrance: “John Cronin, the former head of the environmental group Riverkeeper, remembers spying a solitary older man about two years ago on the Beacon waterfront scooping litter into a plastic bag. When the man stood up he recognized the signature ramrod bearing of Mr. Seeger, his slender six-foot longtime friend.”
Jason Diaz wrote about Pete Seeger’s advocacy of the Hudson, and more, last February:
Legendary folk artist Pete Seeger continues to expand his legacy by working to save our planet. As the founder of Clearwater, a grassroots model for cleaning up the Hudson River and molding a new generation of environmentally-conscious leaders, Seeger has earned recognition as one of the more important pioneers and innovators in environmental activism.
Along with his hit songs “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and (from his Clearwater album) “Sailing Up, Sailing Down,” Seeger is also well-known for his involvement as a political activist. He holds an extensive resumé, ranging from his dedication to civil and labor rights for all to speaking out against the Spanish Civil War, the Vietnam War, and the Arms Race, to his extraordinary accomplishments as an environmentalist.
Seeger’s most noteworthy and celebrated undertaking as an advocate for the environment is his creation of Clearwater, which launched in 1969. Clearwater is a sloop (or single-masted sailing vessel) that sails the ends of the Hudson River–from Albany to New York City, and stops just about everywhere in between.
On these scenic sailing excursions, Seeger promotes environmental awareness and political activism with a heavy emphasis on the issues that face the Hudson River. Through song and educational programs, he teaches his fellow seafarers about the importance of a green planet with clean waterways .
For forty years, Seeger and his Clearwater shipmates have educated generations with a number of programs, including the Green Cities Initiative, Watershed Management, the Indian Point Campaign, the Hudson River Polychlorinated Biphenyls Remediation, Environmental Justice, Climate Justice, and his most recent endeavor in creating a new generation of more environmentally-conscious youth leaders: the Next Generation Legacy Project.
To get involved, sign up for classes, internships, and volunteer work, go here.
You can also view a map of the many dock locations where the sloop Clearwater regularly sails from and for directions information.
For more information on Clearwater, its partnership programs, and calendar of events, visit here.
Also, don’t forget the Clearwater Festival June 15-16, 2013 at Croton Point Park in Westchester, NY.
Photo: Annie Leibovitz