Barbara Brown Video Transcript

BARBARA BROWN: I think being a good citizen means taking care of the things that have been given to you. Making life better for not only yourself but all those people around you.

BROWN: I am 18 years old, from a family of 6 in rural Victoria County . ‘Don't Be Crude' started out as a 4-H project for myself and two friends, Katie Klinkerman and Lacey Jones.

BROWN: Before we started this program, farmers would just take their used motor fluids and hydraulic fluids and dump them on fence posts or alongside a barn to kill bugs or to kill weeds and so they were just using it as a herbicide or insecticide.

BROWN: It was something that we had seen our fathers do, we had all seen our father dump oil. It was something that they told us they did because their fathers did it.

BROWN: I think the part that worried Kate and Lacey and I the most was when we were told that by dumping oil that it can affect your ground water.

BROWN: Dumping used motor fluid or hydraulic fluid on the ground contaminates your water resources. A gallon of dumped oil can pollute over 250,000 gallons of water, which is enough water to supply a small city for one day.

BROWN: We live in a predominantly agricultural area, we drink the water under our own land as well as water our plants with that water and feed and water animals with that same water source.

BROWN: When we first started talking to people about ‘Don't Be Crude' and about the prospect of recycling used oil the first response was, ‘they're kids, what do they know?'

WAYNE DIERLAM (County Commissioner): I remember when they came to Commissioners Court presented this to us, like I said, we were very skeptical at first, we thought this could be dumpsites for other things, other than what they wanted it to be used for.

BROWN: When you walk into Commissioner's Court you walk in through these huge, heavy, wooden doors. We were anxious, we were nervous, we were scared. They sit up at the front, you know, behind their big desks, all of these people in charge of everything. It was a struggle to convince people who are older that we knew what we were talking about and that we had researched this and that this was something that really meant a lot to us.

BROWN: We started with 5 sites here in Victoria County. Now we are in seven counties with 19 sites. We recycle on a yearly basis, about 50,000 gallons of used motor fluid and hydraulic fluid. We are now collecting used oil filters and we protect over 500 miles of coastline and over 680 square acres of ground water.

GARY BROWN (Barbara's Father): I view myself as a realist; some people view me as a pessimist. But I can always see where the problem is and not always see the answer. Although I believe there are answers, I can't always see them. In Barbara there seems to be the ability to see the problem, as well as have the hope for the answer.

BROWN: My favorite memories of working with Don't Be Crude throughout the years have been the times when we may have been cleaning up a site or moving a unit around or just making the area look nice and people will come up to us and say things like ‘this was a really good idea, thanks for putting this here' and its very touching because you know that people are paying attention and that's probably the greatest thing about this entire program is knowing that people are really getting the idea.