Our Great Lakes Commons: A People’s Plan to Protect the Great Lakes Forever
By Maude Barlow
Are you concerned about the future of Lake Superior?
We are excited to announce that Maude Barlow is coming to Thunder Bay!
Thursday, May 17 at 6:00pm
The Italian Cultural Centre
For too long now it has been assumed that the Great Lakes could withstand any amount of pollution and all exploitation, so vast are their stores of water. But in the last two decades, the “myth of water abundance” has been proven false. The Great Lakes face the abuses of over-extraction and diversion, pollution, poor agricultural practices, groundwater mining and growing demand.
Those lucky enough to live on the shores of Lake Superior appreciate its wild and pristine nature but they know as well as anyone how fragile Superior’s future is and that if we don’t learn to live sustainably in this great watershed, it will only be a matter of time before Superior becomes as polluted and abused as the waters downstream. The future of the Great Lakes rests in our collective hands. How can we act together to protect them?
We want to designate the Great Lakes and their tributary waters as a Commons, a Public Trust and a Protected Bioregion to be shared, protected, and enjoyed by all who live around them. The notion of the Commons is a very old one and asserts that no one owns water- it is a common heritage that belongs to the Earth, other species and future generations.
Public Trust Doctrine underpins in law the universal notion of the Commons- that resources central to our very existence such as water are considered to be the property of the public and that governments, as trustee, must protect these resources for the long-term use of the entire population, not just the privileged few who can buy access.
The Great Lakes must also be designated a Protected Bioregion as it is actually one integrated watershed and needs to be seen and governed as such.
In the end, we, the people of the Great Lakes Basin Commons are the only hope for their survival. Collectively, we have the power to protect and restore them but we must choose to do so.
About the Author
Maude Barlow is a best-selling author, life-long activist and the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. Recently she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly.
For more information and for her forty page report: Our Great Lakes Commons: A People’s Plan to Protect the Great Lakes Forever can be found at www.canadians.org
Page last updated on Thursday, May 03, 2012