By Ameera Steward
The Birmingham Times
When the Cahaba River Society (CRS) wanted to create short videos to get across to young people how the cans, cigarette butts, and plastic bags they drop can end up into their river, the CRS turned to a pair of twenty-something year olds to get out the message.
Carey Fountain and JC Swoopes, co-founders of DoReMe Media Group, have been working with CRS to create short videos for our “What Litter Ends Up In Your River” campaign.
“The rivers are very important,” Fountain said. “A lot of people don’t realize how much stuff they waste that can pollute the river and they don’t think about the impact. So, the videos were important to bring attention to that.”
Swoopes added, “It’s our drinking water in Birmingham…and I personally have to drink out of this and I feel like I should care about it…and then after doing the videos I learned so much and….I didn’t know how much the environment was affected by humans like cigarettes and plastic bags and I didn’t know to what extent how bad it’s killing our environment.”
The Cahaba River, one of the Birmingham region’s major drinking water sources for the Water Works Board, is polluted with trash. Few realize that the litter they drop in parking lots and on streets will be carried by rain runoff into storm drains, creeks, and eventually our rivers and lakes.
That’s where Fountain, 27 and Swoopes, 26 have come in.
Fountain and Swoopes did a total of four videos on a clean up the Society was having and to bring awareness of what littering can do to the environment.
One video was on how litter ends up in the river; one on how plastic bags end up in the river; one on how cigarette butts end up in the river and one on how aluminum ends up in rivers. The videos can be viewed and shared from Https://bit.ly/riverlitter.
An Important Issue
Fountain said he enjoyed working for a nonprofit to bring attention to an issue that is dear to him.
“I tried to approach it just like a challenge….more so from an artist perspective in terms of trying to be creative and figure out how to give them what they want and also accomplish doing something good for the community ,”he said.
Although Swoopes did something similar last year by making a four minute documentary about hurricane Michael affecting Florida, the Cahaba River project was more personal because it directly affects him, as well as other young people, he said.
“We [other young people] have to be here on earth, they have to live here so I feel like everyone should be educated. . . and if it wasn’t for the Cahaba River Society I wouldn’t even be educated . . . I feel like everyone should [about the importance of clean rivers], especially if you’re living in Birmingham,” Swoopes said.
It’s a subject that should be taught and spoken about more often because people use water every day, “and some people don’t have access to water so I feel like we should be at least grateful for what we have and take care of it,” he said.
Fountain added that the Cahaba River is the most biodiverse river in Alabama and one of the most biodiverse in the country with an ecosystem that may not be found anywhere else.
“It’s just important for people to pay attention to that kind of stuff and not be ignorant to the fact that…at the end of the day the environment is a reflection of us and if we destroy the environment we’re ultimately destroying ourselves,” Fountain said. “I think it’s almost like a no brainer, we should be more aware of the environment and our impact on it, and ways that we can help make it better and improve ourselves and have better habits.”
Fountain, a University of Alabama graduate, is a multi-disciplinary artist, media production specialist, community organizer and front-end developer in Birmingham.
Swoopes is a film maker, University of Alabama at Birmingham graduate student, and also involved with Free Spirit Apparel, which uses profits to create care packages for the homeless and organizes supportive services, such as sidewalk haircuts given by volunteer barbers.
A Lot In Common
Fountain and Swoopes met in 2016 through a mutual friend and “we just have a lot of the same goals with everything he does with his company and everything and things I’m trying to do with DoReMe so we just started working together on a bunch of stuff,” said Fountain.
About three months after meeting, they decided to go into business under Do Re Me which stands for Discovering Ourselves, Revolutionizing Earth and Maintaining Enlightenment.
“The goal was to use DoReMe as a way to unite people…just noticing that a lot of times in our culture we focus more on our differences and that’s why we have such a strong divide…instead of trying to focus on how we’re similar, it was like an artist project, social experiment type of thing….it’s all about asking questions and getting people to just think differently and challenge how they may see things,” said Fountain, founder of DoReMe.
They take on a mix of the responsibilities since both can do photography, videography and editing.
“He’s [Swoopes] about his business, I’m about my business and we know how to get things done and work with each other and move fast, and…check each other,” Fountain said. “Everything we’ve done together has been good, I know I can depend on him too so he’s the first person usually I like to hit up because I know he’s going to come through and he’s going to…do good work.”
“[DoReMe] has given me a lot of opportunity in Birmingham to showcase my talent and my work…through Carey and his company,’ said Swoopes. “A lot of people I’ve met, I wouldn’t have met without Carey and DoReMe. So it’s definitely been good for me from a from a friendship standpoint. Carey is a good guy and he’s a good business partner and has a lot of connects in Birmingham.”
People who want to learn more about their drinking water source, the Cahaba River, and how to keep it clean can come to Cahaba River Fry-Down on Sunday, October 6 from noon to 4 p.m. at Railroad Park, 12 teams of culinary competitors will vie to see whose catfish, sides, and dessert can win the 10th annual Cahaba River Fry-Down.