Perhaps you have followed the growing debate over the wellbeing of the Bay. Or perhaps you or someone you know participated in the 15th Annual Publix Grandman Triathlon. Either way, you may have heard of Mobile Baykeeper, the nonprofit working to protect the Mobile Bay Watershed.
With campaigns to transition to a litter-free Mardi Gras, raise awareness of the coal ash pond at Plant Barry and monitor sewage spills, the organization is in action all over Mobile and Baldwin County. But there is one woman at the center of it all, executive director Casi Callaway.
Casi has been working to protect the environment for three decades and holds multiple gubernatorial appointments and countless positions on local environmental organizations. Her effort, especially during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, has not gone unnoticed. Waterkeeper Alliance, the international organization that supports grassroots movements for clean water around the world, has recognized Casi as one of 20 “waterkeeper warriors” – activists committed to fighting for our waterways.
As a part of this recognition, Waterkeeper Alliance has collaborated with Culture Trip and a host of notable figures to tell these warriors’ stories. You can see the beautiful images from Culture Trip’s photographers and hear these stories narrated by the likes of Alec Baldwin, Jon Hamm, Lupita Nyong’o, Larry David and more at www.waterkeeper.org/warriors.
[Click here to listen to Casi’s story voiced by Alec Baldwin]
Casi was kind enough to answer a few questions about her recognition and her decades of work protecting our coastal community.
MB: I had the chance to listen to the voice recording, and I got chills hearing Alec Baldwin talk about our community. What was it like to hear him tell your story?
Casi: Okay, so I actually haven’t heard it yet! I only found out on Monday that Alec Baldwin was doing this. I had no idea that’s what they were going to do. It’s really incredible that someone of his stature is talking about the importance of environmental protection in a place like Alabama. It’s critical that we get people to understand how valuable our resources are, and how important they are to protect. The whole wide world needs to know how special Alabama is, especially Mobile Bay.
MB: I remember that, at the time, the Deepwater Horizon spill seemed like a local tragedy. Only later did I realize that it was actually a national event. What was it like to be in the middle of both a local crisis and a nationwide news story?
Casi: When the oil disaster happened in 2010, I had already been working in this watershed for twelve years. I got involved because I love our beaches. I love our rivers. I grew up in Mobile, spending every summer on a sandy beach in Gulf Shores. I never would have believed that we could lose it all before BP. It was both terrifying…and empowering, to know that we could make a difference. We could change the face of it for Mobile Bay and Alabama’s coastal beaches, as opposed to sitting in some other part of the country and watching it and just being sad.
MB: I’ll be completely transparent. Not long ago, the only thing I knew about Mobile Baykeeper was that you sold the Baykeeper Blend at Carpe. What do you say to the people in the Mobile Bay area who haven’t heard of it, or have and don’t feel the need to support it?
Casi: I ask you this question: do you swim in Mobile Bay? Do you eat seafood from its waterways? Do you go to the beach? Do you have a job that puts you on or near the Bay? If the answer to any of those is yes, then you need to be a part of Mobile Baykeeper. You need to be a member, you need to be watching what we’re doing, and you need to write letters when we ask you to.
Click here to learn more about Mobile Baykeeper