TAKE ME TO THE WATER
An Intimate Interview with Pete Seeger
This personal interview with Pete Seeger was conducted and produced by NJFC member Andrea L. Spinelli, in February 2000, at the Hudson River Sloop Club meeting house near Pete’s home in Beacon, New York
At the time, Pete was planning The Ships to Save The Waters Conference to be held in the summer of 2000 at Jersey City, NJ. The Conference would coincide with Op-Sail 2000, when Tall Ships, including environmental education ships, from around the world would be convening in New York Harbor.
In the interview he references the Conference as well as the history of The Clearwater, the Classroom of the Waves, and personal life stories. Several members of the New Jersey and New York City Sloop Clubs were also present and can be heard singing along with Pete the iconic "The River that Flows Both Ways"
This committee deals with our hands-on programs for the environment. The varied scope of activities includes: Clean-ups of NJ streams, beaches, and bays encompassing NJ and the Atlantic Coast line; organizing protests against polluters and bad corporate and government policy; water sampling and testing; an active environmental watchdog of New Jersey's air, land and water. In the current political climate and the administration which seeks to reverse the sacred Clean Water, Clean Air, and Endangered Species Acts and the demolition of the Environmental Protection Agency after all our hard work to attain these, NJ Friends of Clearwater commits to continue the battle along with Mother Clearwater and our network of like-minded environmental organizations to retain and extend our Fight To Keep Earth Great!
Over 50 years ago, Pete Seeger realized a dream by getting the 106' Sloop Clearwater launched and spreading the word for a cleaner environment by word, music and action. The launch of the Sloop Clearwater was the creation of the organization Clearwater to manage, maintain, and bring that message to those without access to the Hudson River.
Popular folksinger Bob Killian brought a seed from Pete's endeavor which took root in the form of Monmouth County Friends of Clearwater in 1974.
Our current name, New Jersey Friends of Clearwater, reflects our goals, growth and outreach in this new millennium. NJFC will always continue its close affiliation with Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc., as a Clearwater Sloop Club.
The Sloop was paid for by music concerts, house parties, and festivals organized and performed by Pete and his many Friends before and forever after its launch in 1969. In fact, on its trip home from its launch, the Sloop stopped for music concerts from the deck and dock in town after town along the Atlantic Coast from Maine to New York City. This has all been recorded in Jim Brown's award-winning documentary, Pete Seeger, The Power of Song, premiered at the TriBeca Film Festival and shown on PBS American Masters.
Pete Seeger, Our Founder: A Long Exemplary Life
The Environmental Sail committee has 10-15 active members who serve as skippers, skippers in training, first mates, and crew members of our garvey Pete's Banjo, a 26' replica of a 17th century Tuckerton Bay design. We are actively recruiting, especially crew members. The perks include painting and scraping and varnishing and splicing lines (we teach all that) and also learning sailing all the way to skipper status if you want to go that far. And lots of sailing.
This committee's purpose is to research environmental issues and presents its findings to the Board of Directors for discussion and proper action by New Jersey Friends of Clearwater. The committee must concern itself with issues such as: incineration, ocean dumping, toxic run-off, ozone depletion, global warming/climate change, environmental legislation, etc. Among the lingering problems is the lack of Environmental Justice where the poor, people of color, and aged suffer disproportionately to the rest of the population due to their lack of a strong voice and resources to fight. We fight that injustice also.
We need people who are avid readers and listeners. This committee must keep track of local, state, national and global issues. All media as well as local town meetings, county planning meetings and state legislative meetings are just some of the territory we must cover to keep up with the issues.