Livable Future NOW - Winter 2023

DONOR SPOTLIGHT Karen Fitzgerald Loves our Blue-green Planet

Please introduce yourself to our readers. My name is Karen Fitzgerald, and I live in Kittery, Maine. I’ve been a public speaking coach and speechwriter for a number of years. What sparked your interest in environmental issues? I lived in Buffalo as a kid in the late 60s. It was a huge place for industry. There was a Mobil Oil refinery right on the river. One day my mom came home and said, “The Buffalo River has caught fire.” And I said, “Mom, how is that possible? Isn't water supposed to put out fire?” She had no answers. I hadn’t studied anything about environmentalism, but it troubled me. A few years later, I visited my grandmother near Lake Erie, not far from the Bethlehem Steel Company. We visited the beach where I used to play, and the stench was overwhelming. There were thousands of dead fish all along the shore. I had learned a little about the environment in junior college, so I was troubled. But I didn't know what to do about it. Jump to 2008, I went to the Water for Life conference at the Omega Institute and heard brilliant presentations about threats to our waterways. It woke me up! I learned about Food & Water Watch and became a member and a volunteer. What motivated you to make your first gift? It’s great that organizations have an intention, and it’s great to march to the governor’s office, it’s great to do all of that. But, I’m aware that organizations cannot function without funding. So, I’ve been donating every month for several years now. What do you hope to accomplish through your philanthropy? I love this planet, this blue-green planet. And we as human beings don't have the right to

Karen Fitzgerald on the rocky coast of Maine.

devastate it. I live in a little apartment in Maine, a second-floor apartment, so I'm in the trees, literally. I have the ocean on one end of my street and the river on the other. And I walk to the rocky coast of Maine every day. It's beauti- ful. And to think that we are not taking care of it is just… If you were talking to someone else about giving to and getting involved with Food & Water Watch/Food and Water Action, what would you tell them? We need people who are holding corpora- tions accountable. We need people to educate, advocate for legislation, and prevent pollution. People have no idea what's in our water and our food. Who's watching the corporations, and who's watching the government agencies? Food & Water Watch is. What gives you hope for the future? People are becoming more aware. Very environmentally-conscious people are paying attention to the government, to the environ- ment, and questioning how we keep it healthy. And there's a lot of us. I love this planet, this blue- green planet. And we as human beings don't have the right to devastate it.

5 | WINTER 2023

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