Monday, May 23, 2011
Our Unique Great Lakes
On Planet Earth, the Great Lakes are absolutely unique.
The decisions we make in our daily lives, and the choices we make in who represents us in our government may affect generations to come. The Great Lakes system is a treasure. Understanding their natural processes and understanding the dynamics of what we do is essential to these life giving waters.
The way to solve pollution problems is to think globally and to act locally.
Picture yourself as an astronaut looking down from a spacecraft at this beautiful planet, the Earth. From space, it is easy to see that everything is connected to everything else. The great masses of swirling clouds travel over the continents, drop rain, and sometimes along with the rain, pollutants. The lakes, rivers and seas are interconnected. In order to control global pollution problems they must be controlled at their source.
In order to act locally, some communities, both adult groups and school age students have adopted a stream. They have observed the places where pollution might be occurring then they have spoken out against pollution in their communities, city councils or other government agencies. Local groups of people are in the best position to observe what is happening to their local stream.
Local citizens can help develop cleanup strategies and local pollution prevention programs. The problem is too important to leave to government officials and industries alone.
Legislation to curb pollution needs to be on a global level as well as on national, state and local levels since everyone is a part of the global whole and flowing air, water and land ecosystems.
The view of planet Earth as seen from a satellite in outer space shows the continents, deep blue oceans and white swirling clouds of vapor. The five Great Lakes show their distinct, interconnected shapes; unique bodies of fresh water.
Of all the planets our satellite cameras and telescopes have probed, only Earth looks inviting or habitable. A famous photograph taken from the moon shows Earth rising against a barren moonscape where nothing lives. In the foreground we see jagged rock, but rising in the distance is Earth with its liquid medium: water. Water and life are inseparable. Where there is life, there is water; where there is water, there is life.
All nations as well as all living things share the water and air supply that is the planet's life support system; therefore we all share a responsibility for the cleanliness of the air, water, land and its living webs of life. Air and water never stop to show a passport, but circulate freely around the globe. The great swirling airstreams and water systems we can see from a satellite circulate continually.
If we thought of the Earth as an apple, a layer of life- supporting air, soil and water would only be as thick as the appleâ€™s skin. Life on Earth is only possible as long as our limited life support system works.
We are all challenged to use our knowledge, creativity and common sense to keep the Great Lakes great. Can you think of ways to think globally and act locally?
Excerpted from my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes