A prayer in a Christian denomination asks congregants to pray for "the good Earth which God has given us, and for the wisdom and will to conserve it." Caring for the environment requires knowledge and action.

Many people have a philosophy about their world that it ends with the edge of their property. Not so. We're deeply integrated in the same ecosystems, and what your neighbors flush down their stormwater drains will eventually have an impact on someone else.

Organizers of a program launched Wednesday hope residents of South Georgia will think twice before dumping motor oil, grass clippings or other types of waste in storm drains.

Some residents might not know stormwater drains and sewers drain into the area's rivers and streams. They do not go into a water treatment plant. Consequently, pollutants such as chemicals and an excess of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers can seriously harm waterways and the wildlife that depend on them.

The South Georgia Regional Development Center with the help of local 4-H members launched a program to increase awareness with curb markets to remind residents of these facts.

With the pending growth of the newly designated metropolitan Valdosta area, the need for diligent actions to protect the environment becomes more important. More development will lead to more stormwater runoff, which not only pollutes streams but can cause flooding. This year's excessive rainfall following years of drought and rapid development in the Atlanta metro area is causing serious flooding there.

Local planners and elected leaders might want to re-examine regulations that might be forcing developers to add excessive parking spaces to new commercial areas.

The awareness program is a good first step. It will provide wisdom, but it will be up to individuals to have the "will" to conserve our good Earth.

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