Tuesday, June 24, 2014
The State of the Great Lakes? Is that a thing?
You know that enormous body of water you drive by on the shoreway? We've got an annual forum devoted to it and its comrades. Here are three reasons you should join us.
You'll want to hear Chris Korleski.
Chris Korleski runs the Great Lakes Program for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If it's about conservation in the watershed, restoration efforts, the Great Lakes Water Compact, invasive species, algal blooms, dredging, water quality--you name it, he's on it. I heard him speak at an environmental law symposium a little over a year ago, and I was blown away by the depth of his knowledge and his ability to communicate complex ideas very simply. We'd already booked Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett for the 2013 SOTGL (and he was fantastic, by the way), so I knew we would want Korleski for this year, and I invited him almost immediately. He also used to run the Ohio E.P.A., so he gets us. (Honestly, if you Google him, not a whole lot comes up, but you should trust us.)
Our lake probably the most powerful natural thing we've got around here.
I just spent a the day at Lake Erie. We've got this spot we go to, where the kids romp in the surf and play in the sand and search for beach ice all day, and we sit in chairs and talk and read magazines. Today I borrowed my brother-in-law's boat, a small 14-foot single mast sailboat, and tried to remember what I hadn't done since I was 12. The weather was a little shifty, and the wind blew me over four times. Our Great Lake has a power like nothing else around. It has a greater effect on our weather and our lives than we realize. Sure, we understand the Lake Effect snow in December and January, but we forget that it keeps us from the extreme temperatures other regions deal with.
If you want something to become important, pay attention to it.
For the nine years I've lived here, I've heard over and over again that Lake Erie is one of our greatest assets. The problem is, we hardly ever pay attention to it. When we started the State of the Great Lakes last year, we did so with the express purpose that this would become an annual ritual, just like the State of the City, the State of the County and the State of the Schools. Those are all annual updates we show up for and care about as a community. We know the state of this natural resource of ours is important. So if someone asks, "The State of the Great Lakes--is that a thing?" The answer is "Damn straight."
So, buy a ticket here. And if you're interested in last year's event, here it is…