The Great Lakes, their tributaries and the surrounding ecosystems they support embody one of the most beautiful and diverse environments in the world. This extraordinary treasure is a source of drinking water for 40 million people as well as home to lush forests and wildlife species like the gray wolf, Canada lynx, moose and bald eagle.
But decades of mismanagement and heavy industrial overuse have left the Great Lakes suffering threats, including:
- rapidly falling water levels from over-extraction and climate change
- devastating levels of pollution
- risky shipments of radioactive materials
- invasive species
- increasing loss of wetland
- corporations looking to cash in on bulk water exports
- storage of radioactive waste too close to the watershed
Tell Prime Minister Harper the Great Lakes must be protected and managed like a national park -- part of the Commons, a Public Trust and a Protected Bioregion so we can protect this natural area forever.
Dear Prime Minister Harper,
The Great Lakes, their tributary waters and the surrounding ecosystems they support embody one of the most sustaining, beautiful and diverse environments in the world. This extraordinary fresh water treasure is the essential source of drinking water for 40 million people, is home to lush forests and wildlife species like the gray wolf, Canada lynx, moose and bald eagle, and offers the public countless opportunities to connect with and appreciate nature.
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Unfortunately, decades of mismanagement and heavy industrial overuse have left our beloved Lakes suffering under a multitude of threats: rapidly falling water levels due to over-extraction and climate change, devastating levels of pollution, risky shipments of radioactive materials, invasive species, increasing loss of wetland, huge corporations looking to cash in on bulk water exports and storage of radioactive waste too close to the watershed.
We must fundamentally change the way the Great Lakes are viewed and managed -- away from their primary function as an engine for industry and economic growth, towards recognition of this cherished natural resource as a Protected Bioregion, one that is shared by us all, akin to a National Park, along with a legal framework to ensure their health and protection for the benefit of generations to come.
We need a new level of consciousness around the Great Lakes Basin. One that brings Canadian and American governments together with Indigenous groups, cities, towns, farms and other stakeholders that ring the Great Lakes under a common understanding and call to action to save them forever.
I'm asking you to take a leadership role in saving the Great Lakes forever by working with governments, First Nations and communities on both sides of the border towards declaring the Great Lakes part of the Commons, a Public Trust and a Protected Bioregion to ensure their health and protection for the benefit of generations to come. I urge you to uphold the Great Lakes Basin as a commons in which:
- The waters of the Great Lakes belong to everyone and every living being that lives on or around them;
- Private interests of those with claims to the Great Lakes are subordinate to public rights;
- The waters of the Great Lakes are a human right and must be equitably and justly shared;
- Governments have an affirmative obligation to manage and protect the water of the Great Lakes as a Commons;
- The Great Lakes Basin Commons recognizes the ecological rights of the watershed;
- The Great Lakes Basin Commons will require constant and careful management;
- The Great Lakes Basin Commons must encourage and empower decision-making at the local level;
- The water systems of the Great Lakes communities should remain under public management;
- Public participation is key to the Great Lakes Basin Commons;
- All decisions about the Great Lakes should be made with the involvement of all recognized nations and people, including local First Nations/American Indian tribes.
Once again, I urge you to enshrine the Great Lakes as part of the Commons and protect this cherished freshwater treasure we all share -- as well as the land, wildlife and people around them -- for the benefit of generations to come.
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