An argument for the Great Lakes Shouldn't we protect one of our greatest resources?

Stay away from religion and politics, right? I try, especially for the heavy issues. But here’s a case that seems pretty one-sided to me.

Last week, it was announced that the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding would lose $290 million under the newly proposed national budget. That’s almost a 97% cut, down to just $10 million per year. Being a Michigander, this hits particularly hard, but all Americans should be worried with this new plan.

Look, I understand the Republicans’ mindset. The EPA is not high on their priority list. We need to beef up our military. We need to shrink the ever-growing national debt. The new spending has to come from somewhere. The savings have to come from somewhere.

Please, just not here.

Aside from their natural beauty, ability to generate commerce and recreation opportunities, the Great Lakes offer the United States an enormous freshwater resource in a time when freshwater is becoming more and more difficult to come by (just ask California).

The world is in need of these freshwater resources. Ten percent of the globe does not have access to clean drinking water and according to the World Economic Forum, “The water crisis is the #1 global risk based on impact to society.”

Safe and reliable freshwater sources have always been vital when new cities and communities were formed. Look across a map of the U.S. Those big metropolitan areas were founded along rivers and lakes, at least prior to the far westward expansion and the creation of pipelines. Look at the states that border the Great Lakes. Think it’s coincidence that Indiana and Pennsylvania have a sliver of land touching the water? The shape of the Great Lakes states are of strategic design, allowing all access to the freshwater resource.

But with the world population exploding, an efficient source of clean water is more important today than ever before. (Do I even need to mention Flint?) Why then, when we have a fifth of the world’s freshwater in our very Great Lakes, would we cut funding to maintain their health and preservation?

It just seems a little irresponsible.

Wake up to a Lake Huron sunrise or sip a glass of wine with a Lake Michigan sunset. Take a cruise along the Pictured Rocks shoreline or drive over the mighty Mackinac Bridge.

These lakes mean a whole lot to me, and they should to you as well.




13 thoughts on “An argument for the Great Lakes Shouldn't we protect one of our greatest resources?

  1. The environment is important, more important than corporate tax cuts. The only people who benefit from cutting back on environmental protection budgets are the corporations making bottled water because no one is going to drink from the tap anymore… It never ceases to amaze me how self-styled American patriots will fight for the right to bare arms, but barely raise an eyebrow to protect the land.
    As you say, never talk politics, but this is not about politics, it’s about protecting what you have, before the words to America the beautiful need to be rewritten …

  2. As a Canadian, I really appreciate this point of view; my cottage is on one of the great lakes and that environment is extremely important to many people AND economies.

  3. The coastal republicans in Michigan and Ohio are pretty good on this issue. The GLRI was actually introduced by a republican from Ohio, David Joyce. He recently got an amendment attached to another bill that would restore the funding to the program. Whether that bill will pass the full House and Senate, though, is anyone’s guess.

    1. Just want to be sure our elected officials recognize the importance of the Great Lakes. As far as I’m concerned, this should be a bipartisan issue. I think the people in the region understand the consequences of not caring for the lakes, but I want to make sure it becomes nationally known! Thanks for the comment, John. I wasn’t aware who initially introduced the GLRI.

  4. I think the more you experience nature the more alive you feel. And I shouldn’t say too much more out of respect for this posts sensible religion/politics embargo 😉

  5. The gutting of the EPA is terribly concerning, but I’m not surprised since we don’t really need clean water to survive. It ranks right up there with healthcare. A total waste of time and money, especially on the poor, sick and elderly. We do need war, however. It’s much more lucrative. And thank goodness that global climate change is a Chinese hoax and we don’t have to worry about that! *Sigh* Clearly you hit a hot button. Thanks for speaking up for sanity. 🙂

  6. Great points, not sure we need to beef our military though. I’d like to see some of that military budget that’s wasted, and millions do disappear, spent on caring for those who served. I don’t want to go backwards, I can hear Lake Michigan as I type but Lake Erie being so shallow is in particular danger. People who are driving the bus aren’t paying attention to the road.

  7. Thank you for this post. This morning I was just thinking that maybe the reason there is such great disregard for our natural resources is that scientist has found a way to create water, air and earth so the real thing is no longer of concern. No I think too many people believe that it is more important to have money than clean air, clean water and a earth that can still produce trees and plants to give us clean air. I live in this great state and spend lots of time on Lake Huron. I don’t believe that there is anything more important than our environment.

  8. Water water everywhere, huh?! If it voted it’d be ok. As a Brit in a world where we have voted to remove ourselves from some external sanity amongst some nonsense, little surprises me any more. Thanks for the follow and I hope you get to preserve your beautiful landscape.

  9. As a Michigander I worry about the idea that the Great Lakes can be a source of fresh water for the rest of the country (and the world). In spite of their size they are not infinite.