The video snapshots with the closing credits of “Knee Deep” wrap the informal tone of being and accomplishment well. What do we do? We just do it. And doing it includes hard work and smiles and laughter.
In 2013 in the Boulder, Colorado region, a thousand-year flood caused massive damage and destruction. Only Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans demanded more evacuations. Across three months, before winter, more than 1000 volunteers up and helped. They gave 21,000 hours, making an instant impact on disaster-struck lives.
Somewhere between committing random acts of kindness and radically changing our culture, there’s a sweet spot that, in this case, called itself the mudslingers. Yes, social media helped organize and mobilize it, but more than anything else, we’re talkin’ people with shovels.
People dug and dug and cleared and cleaned way beyond individuals’ abilities, on their own, to deal with such an inundation. It wasn’t drudgery. It was what can we do next? At one point, sixty motivated grunts redirected a river away from a neighborhood.
Roads were closed. So what? Many helpful tactics were illegal. Shrug. This is not the official way to do these things. Sometimes that’s where strength and effectiveness comes from.
Natural disasters will continue to strike. There’s reason to believe that we’ll see them more often and more devastating. “It’s not about the flood; it’s about after the flood.” A seventeen-minute film, “Knee Deep” captures an example of grass roots activism just right.