The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Advocate for Lake Michigan

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Joel Brammeier of the Alliance for the Great Lakes ( He's the VP for Policy, which means he helps shape legislation, education, and grass roots efforts to protect and preserve the Great Lakes. He had suggested several books to read in an earlier e-mail exchange, and I had already read the books he listed.

Peter Annin's THE GREAT LAKES WATER WARS is an engaging history of water usage policy for the Great Lakes that details many legal skirmishes between the states and Canadian provinces which border the lakes and culminates with a detailed discussion of the Great Lakes Compact. This piece of legislation (which the Alliance for the Great Lakes was instrumental in helping shape and for also fostering its acceptance by all governing bodies concerned) is a landmark agreement on how and when and why the water of the Great Lakes can be used.

Access to fresh, clean water is going to be a defining issue worldwide in the next decades. The Great Lakes contains 20% of the world's fresh water. The Compact goes further to protect this water than any previous attempts to define the usage of this water.

My conversation with Mr. Brammeier was engaging and I will discuss many of the challenges facing Lake Michigan in my book about the trek: A 1,000 Mile Walk on the Beach.

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