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Gowanus Canal 'Empowers' Residents, Gives Them Purpose

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While the EPA is busy trying to eradicate the ten feet of black mayonnaise on the bottom of the Gowanus Canal, some residents are taking matters into their own hands. The Times profiles a group of two dozen or so neighbors who "view the Gowanus as their backyard, and the cleanup as their responsibility." One way they are doing this is flying cameras strapped to kites over the canal to make detailed maps showing where that wonderful thing called sewage-overflow runs into the waterway. "I'm trying not to focus on the fact that there's still sewage going into the canal," said one DIY environmentalist. "I focus more on what I can do in the moment."

For this group, the "cleanup is less about realistic expectations, and more about claiming a former industrial wasteland as home," writes the Times. For at least one guy, who also works for the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, it's even more than that. "It's incredibly empowering. The canal gave me a purpose." To each his own.
· For Local Residents, a Mission to Clean Up the Gowanus Canal [NYT]
· Gowanus Canal coverage [Curbed]