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‘The rivers are us’: SC author advocates protection for endangered Edisto River

January 2, 2019

Author and environmental activist Carol Bass, a South Carolina native, is appealing to state legislators through art to protect the Edisto River.

Bass lives on Edisto Island off the South Carolina coast. She became concerned with the welfare of the Edisto River after it was named one of America’s top 10 most endangered rivers by American Rivers in 2014. It’s primary threat was listed as water withdrawal.

Bass’ concern increased to alarm when she learned about logging and large-scale water withdrawal from the Edisto River in Aiken County by Walther Farms, a potato farm that came to South Carolina from the midwest.

She recently published a new book, “Ripple Effect,” to educate people on the importance of water sources like the Edisto River.

The book contains poetry, photographs, paintings and stories from over a dozen artists from South Carolina and out of state. Its purpose is a “plea to the State of South Carolina’s legislature to not squander this precious resource to out-of-state industrial farms and manufacturing,” according to a press release.

“I started by asking my friends for their poems about water and the project grew like crazy,” Bass said. “Everyone wants to protect our waterways.”

Bass said art can be an important part of advocacy in politics by adding “mercy to the mix” through evocative creativity.

“I felt like I had been assaulted,” Bass said via email, recalling the day she learned about the agricultural operations moving into the Edisto. “The rivers are us. I grew up swimming the Edisto. I felt my childhood had been violated, and by a midwestern farmer who wanted to grow potatoes. It was corporate greed pure and simple, unfair and exhibited an immoral relationship toward nature.”

The Edisto River retained it’s endangered position in 2015.

The largest blackwater river in the United States, it has been listed as an important source of recreational activity, tourism, water and wildlife habitat for South Carolina by groups such as Friends of the Edisto.

Bass plans to meet with S.C. lawmakers in 2019 to address the issue of the Edisto River, and hopes to give each legislator a personal copy of “Ripple Effect” to further her cause.

“Ripple Effect” is available for purchase at amazon.com.

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