Death and Life

The interviews and stories make for an interesting read.

The Great Lakes are the largest body of fresh water in the world. This is a review of the award-winning book, Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan.

The pristine Great Lakes had always been isolated from other bodies of water, but all this changed with the building of canals in the 1800s. Then in 1959 the Saint Lawrence Seaway opened. This is a riveting account of what has happened to the Great Lakes and other lakes in the United States and Canada since the Great Lakes became an avenue of world commerce and transportation.

Death and Life is a must read for individuals that care about the quality of our water, fishermen and women, and every environmental decision maker. I was thrilled my local book club picked it to read, and excited when the New York Times/PBS Book Club chose it as well.

Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario make up the Great Lakes on the border of the United States and Canada. Photo: National Weather Service, Buffalo

The author, Dan Eagan, a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has thoroughly researched and interviewed many of the decision makers and citizens involved. Why did they make the decisions they did?   I was surprised how many of them were still living to tell their stories and defend their decisions. He has put their stories together to tell an interesting narrative.

Why would species from the Black Sea and Caspian Sea thrive in Lake Michigan? We have learned so much during the past thirty to fifty years about invasive species. I remember how surprised I was when I first learned about invasives. A new world opened!  The learning curve has been steep for us, and even if you don’t read this book I encourage you to read about invasive species to learn the harm they do. Eagan delves into the sea lamprey, alewives, zebra mussels, coho salmon, Asian carp, and others that have thrived in this new environment, the Great Lakes, without any predators to control their numbers. Then there are the native lake trout that are native to the lakes, but they are too boring??

Fascinating was the Great Black Swamp that filtered run-off and helped keep Lake Erie clean. Like so many of the wetlands and swamps of the past, our ignorance couldn’t understand their purpose, so drainage began and we have new fertile farmland. Today the farm run-off creates the perfect conditions for toxic algae blooms threatening the drinking water taken from Lake Erie. Interesting stories continue as Egan interviews farmers, and those working to mitigate the effects of farm run-off.

The summer of 2017, a very rainy summer on Lake Superior, I was surprised by reports that for the first time Lake Michigan had better water quality than Lake Superior. The high water level of Lake Superior and the run off from the streams had caused a rusty-brown lake. You will have to read Dan Eagan’s book to discover why Lake Michigan now has cleaner water, and if this is a good thing?

Dan Egan leaves me hopeful. I think he believes, as do I, the earth is capable of healing itself to some extent if left alone to find its ecological balance. It is hopeful that Lake Huron has begun to heal, and that the white fish are adapting to eat zebra mussels. I hope a 10 year sequel is on the writing-table soon.

And finally a quote from the book, “A thing is right when it tends to promote the integrity, beauty and stability of the biotic community.” Aldo Leopold

A link to Dan Egan’s appearance on the PBS NewsHour:

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/great-lakes-author-dan-egan-answers-your-questions

 

 

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Huge News on Plastic!

 

Please Reuse!

“Huge news out of the UK today that major supermarket chains and companies are committing to a five-year plan to eliminate plastic pollution, especially in packaging. The video in this article also contains some great tips for personally moving beyond plastics.” Earth911

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-43901328

In contrast to this in the United States:

The Minnesota Legislature is debating preemption laws to keep cities from banning plastic bags and Styrofoam containers. Other legislatures throughout the country are prohibiting cities from banning plastic.  In the United States we can’t depend on lawmakers to do what is best for our earth, so we must responsibly choose to do the right thing ourselves. See poster below. I would add to this Bristle poster, Never purchase products in Styrofoam.

 

 

Earth Day tips from Ecowatch

Earth Day 2018

My message for you on this Earth Day is, “Young people want a livable future!” All of us can make a difference for that future. Not just on Earth Day, but everyday!

The theme for Earth Day 2018 is, “End Plastic Pollution” Here is an interview with the founder of the original Earth Day.

If we continue the path we are on with plastic pollution, we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. Business lobbyists are working hard to make sure we use plastic products. Laws are being passed to stop cities and counties from banning plastic bags and plastic/Styrofoam containers. We are in a sad place when the lobbyists have more power than the common good of everyone. These lobbyists make me more determined than ever to boycott their awful plastic products.

Nice screw-top glass bottles that I can reuse forever! #reusable

What are some ideas to reduce your plastic use? Here is an excellent article from Minnesota Public Radio(MPR) on what you can do about plastic pollution When a plastic product comes your way, ask yourself: Do I really need this, or can I use something else? Chances are you can say no, and yes. 

Each one of us can make a huge difference.  On Earth Day 2018 set a simple goal for yourself, something that is easy to do. Maybe just keeping your reusable bags in the trunk of your car, or refilling olive oil and balsamic vinegar bottles at your local grocery. Maybe refusing to purchase anything in Styrofoam or never again using a plastic straw.  You know your situation, what works for you?

Make sure your environmental goal is easy to accomplish, and something you have a passion or interest to accomplish. Remember, our youth want a livable future.

There are always new things you can purchase in bulk, instead of plastic. My newest way to avoid plastic using bulk hemp seeds to make hemp milk . Trying to reduce one plastic container at a time!

https://health4earth.com/2015/04/20/happy-earth-day/

https://health4earth.com/2016/04/22/everyday-earth-day/

Earth Day tips from Ecowatch

 

Make a Difference

Working together we can make a big difference!

From Walking for Waterways and more: https://health4earth.com/2018/02/19/massive-threats-to-our-oceans/
https://health4earth.com/2017/02/15/surprising-microfibers-in-fish-and-food/
https://health4earth.com/2018/04/05/break-free-from-plastic/

Break Free From Plastic

https://twitter.com/Greenpeace/status/981256135243063296/video/1

Everyday there is a new report about the world’s terrible problem with plastic pollution. How did we ever get to this point where plastic pollution is everywhere and so harmful? A world summit is needed to manage this problem. The plastic bottle manufacturers need to be held responsible, but all of us are to blame for the amount of plastic we purchase.

Some co-ops and grocery stores have fabulous selections of soaps and oils to refill your bottles

Everyone uses plastic and we are all to blame! Plastic is used and thrown away by the wealthiest and poorest people on our planet. It is almost impossible to avoid. I have been working on reducing my plastic for years and become better every week at eliminating and evaluating what I purchase. Twice a week I take by reusable bottles to food coops and refill with bulk items. I reuse plastic produce bags over and over and think “zero waste” as I shop.

Plastic manufacturers should never been allowed to make a plastic product that might last 500, maybe forever. Elected officials should have put some regulations on them. From Greenpeace: “So what needs to happen is that these changes must come from the top — multinational corporations like Coca-Cola and Nestle need to be held responsible and switch their single-use packaging to more sustainable options, but we also need to acknowledge our responsibility when we choose those products.” Tamara Adame

Say “No” to plastic bags!

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) floating off the coast of California now measures 1.6 million square kilometers (about 1 million square miles), according to a startling new study. It is 16 times larger than previously thought, and growing! To put that into perspective, the clump of trash is about the size of three Frances, or twice the size of Texas.

What are you doing to reduce your plastic pollution??

Active April

Pick up litter everyday in April!

April is always, “Pick up litter” month. Can you get outside everyday and pick up at least one piece of trash for the 30 days of April? I challenge you to join me. On my daily walks I pick up litter.

Also, Action for Kindness has a new calendar for Active April. Have fun, be happy, be active, and help our earth.   http://www.actionforhappiness.org

Also, pick up at least one piece of trash everyday! https://health4earth.com/2015/03/31/pick-up-one-piece-of-trash-a-day/