Michigan resources help deliver clean water to parched land

Surrounded as we are by the greatest freshwater system on the planet, even those occasional pesky dry spells rarely give us pause to consider how blessed we are.

Recent days have brought announcements that help me both appreciate our abundance and the growing scarcity of clean fresh water that faces much of the planet.

Farewell to Great Lakes United — what now for bi-national citizen leadership?

Great Lakes cormorants with deformed beaks like this one were used by members of Great Lakes United in the 1980s to lobby Congress for stricter pollution regulations.

The binational organization claims many longtime respected researchers and activists among its founders. It recently closed.

Jane Elder, a founding member of GLU when she led Great Lakes programs for the Sierra Club, reflects on the vacuum left by the loss of the binational coalition.

Deperate Alewives: Jane’s Extremely Brief GLWQA Comment Guide for Extremely Busy People

by Jane Elder

Ah, July in the Great Lakes region, kicking off with Canada Day/Fête du Canada, followed by a quick segue into Independence Day, and then a blur of festivals, picnics, barbecues, mosquitoes, raspberry and cherry season, county fairs, beaches and boats, lemonade, and maybe baseball on the radio. We squeeze a lot into these rare weeks of precious Midwestern summer, which is why carving out time to get substantive comments into the US-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement negotiating team by July 9 seems even harder than a deadline in say, January. If you are feeling as busy as I am, maybe you’d appreciate a quick guide to saying something meaningful on binational.net before the parades (4th of July and otherwise) pass you by. So here is my extremely truncated guide to comments on the GLWQA. 1.

Desperate Alewives: A fresh approach to governance

By Jane Elder

I promised to talk about substance this time, but there’s so much substance on the table it is difficult to know where to start, but I’ll wade into the waters of governance. Governance is a clunky word — a noun constructed to carry the weight of how two nations will actually govern, or manage their commitments to protect the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes. Let me gently suggest that the status quo is not working terribly well, and this invites opportunities to re-imagine cooperation across friendly borders on behalf of the lakes. Some of us remember what worked well through the IJC and the Agreement process prior to the 1987 changes in governance. While nostalgia for days past isn’t sufficient to build a new structure, there’s a fair amount of agreement on what we old timers miss.