Attend Our Events in 2024

Saturday, April 27 at 6:00pm, Old Town Playhouse in Traverse City

In celebration of Earth Day, please join FLOW (For Love of Water), Michiganders for a Just Farming System (MJFS) and VegMichigan for a screening of THE SMELL OF MONEY. This powerful film is a David vs. Goliath tale of one woman’s battle against one of the world’s largest pork companies to reclaim her right to clean air, clean water, and to protect her beloved community. FREE!

Following the film screening, FLOW Legal Director Carrie LaSeur, Dr. Cheryl Ruble, M.D. & Adam Weinrich, of Weinrich Farms and Anavery Fine Foods, will lead a discussion following the film.


Recent Past Events:

WEBINAR: The Ethics of Sharing Great Lakes Water: Exploring the Humanitarian Need
Wednesday, April 17 at 12:00pm EDT

(a recording will be posted on or before April 24)

With worsening water scarcity in the US and around the world, pressures to share Great Lakes water will grow. The Great Lakes Compact allows water diversions for “short-term humanitarian emergencies.” But what does this mean, and who defines it? What are the ethics of sharing water? Is it right and under what conditions? These questions will be explored in a webinar hosted by FLOW featuring experts in environmental ethics and policy:

Dr. Susan Chiblow
Dr. Susan (Sue) Bell Chiblow is Anishinaabe, born and raised in Garden River First Nation, Ontario. She has worked extensively with First Nation communities for the last 30 years in environmental related fields. She is an assistant professor at the University of Guelph in their new Bachelor of Indigenous Environmental Science and Practice program. Sue has been appointed as a Commissioner to the International Joint Commission.

Dr. Cameron Fioret
Cameron is on the Board of Directors of the Windsor, Ontario-based nonprofit Windsor of Change; and a Policy Analyst in the Government of Canada. Previously, he was a Policy Analyst in the Canada Water Agency, a Virtual Visiting Research Fellow at the United Nations University (UNU-CRIS), and a Visiting Scholar in the University of Michigan’s Water Center in the Graham Sustainability Institute. He completed his PhD at the University of Guelph under the supervision of Dr. Monique Deveaux, Canada Research Chair in Ethics and Global Social Change.

Dr. Caitlin Schroering
Caitlin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Studies at UNC Charlotte. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies from the University of Florida, and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Denison University. Her primary line of research is based on extensive fieldwork with two movements fighting against water privatization, one in Brazil and one in the United States. She is the author of Global Solidarities Against Water Grabbing: Without Water, We Have Nothing, forthcoming with Manchester University Press this September.

NO DEFENSE documentary film screening
Saturday, April 6 at Milliken Auditorium in Traverse City

NO DEFENSE is a documentary about the former Wurtsmith Air Force base in Oscoda, MI, the first military site in the country where PFAS contamination was identified. This screening was generously sponsored by the Wolfpack.

Presented by FLOW and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.


PLACE: Truth & Restoration Series
March 13, March 20, and April 3


Night 1 – March 13: “Obtaining Non-Christian Land Using the Doctrine of Discovery”
Presentation by Tom Peters from the Grand Traverse Band

Night 2 – March 20: Screening of the film “Doctrine of Recovery”
A documentary on the restoration of the sacred feminine as a “Doctrine of Recovery” for a planet in crisis. Panel discussion to follow.

Night 3 – April 3: Night for Collective Action
Learn ways to follow local Indigenous leadership toward environmental restoration. Facilitated by Eva Petoskey of Mindimooyenh Healing Circle, and Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director of FLOW (For Love of Water)

Co-sponsors include:
Mindimooyenh Healing Circle, the SALT Coalition, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Presbyterian Church of Traverse City, National Parks Conservation Association, St. Francis Justice and Peace, Beloved 360, NMC Native American Student Organization

Webinar: Book Talk with novelist Maryann Lesert, author of Land Marks
Thursday, February 15 at 12:00pm EST via ZOOM

In this “Art Meets Water” virtual event presented by FLOW, senior policy advisor Dave Dempsey hosts book talk with novelist Maryann Lesert.

Maryann Lesert writes about people and place in equal measure. Her first novel, Base Ten (Feminist Press, 2009) followed an astrophysicist’s quest for self among the dunes and stars. Her current novel, Land Marks, is based on two years of boots-on-well-sites research on fracking in Michigan’s state forests. Her articles have appeared in EcoWatch and In These Times, and she is a regular presenter on art and activism. Maryann lives in west Michigan, where she teaches creative writing and writes by the big lake.

From Maryann Lesert, author of Land Marks:

When fracking came to Michigan’s state forests in the early to mid-2010s, I set out to learn as much as I could about drilling and fracking, the science behind the risks, and what it was like to live next to a frack well site. I learned a novel’s worth during my two years of “boots-on-well-sites” research, and I was deeply inspired by the people and groups who came together to protect water, land, and air—each bringing their own gifts.

FLOW was one of the “first responders.” Jim Olson and Liz Kirkwood showed up often to advocate for the Great Lakes and our right to protect water based on the doctrine of public trust.


Webinar: Microplastics in the Great Lakes (watch the recording)
Thursday, January 25 at 7:00pm EST



November 1, 2023 Line 5 Webinar (watch the recording)
Enbridge Line 5: Questions and Answers


Traverse City Volleyball Court and West End Beach Clean-Up
Saturday, September 23 from 10:00-11:00am

Troubled Water Film Premiere
Friday, September 15 at City Opera House

FLOW is proud to sponsor the new film Troubled Water, which will premiere on September 15 at the City Opera House in Traverse City, Michigan.

Troubled Water is an adventure/conservation documentary that explores the economic, political, and environmental implications of human impact on Michigan’s freshwater through an epic 36-day, 425-mile standup paddleboard journey from Mackinac Island to Lansing.

Enbridge Line 5: Legal and Indigenous Perspectives
August 17, 2023 at 11:30am
North Central Michigan College, Petoskey, MI


In June 2023, a federal court found that Canadian oil company Enbridge is trespassing on the sovereign lands of the Bad River Band in northern Wisconsin, and ordered it to pay fines and remove its Line 5 pipeline within three years. Legal experts and indigenous leaders will discuss the recent litigation in Wisconsin and Michigan; the Anishinaabe viewpoint and relationship with Enbridge; and smarter alternatives to the 41-mile Wisconsin pipeline reroute and the proposed four-mile tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac that do not threaten the Great Lakes with a catastrophic oil spill.

Speakers include:

  • JoAnne Cook, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Tribal member
  • Netawn Kiogima, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, Tribal member
  • Deleta Smith, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, Tribal member
  • Holly T. Bird, Attorney, Michigan Water Protectors Legal Task Force and Co-Executive Director, Title Track
  • Liz Kirkwood, Attorney and Executive Director, FLOW (For Love of Water)


“The Strait Story” LIVE WEBINAR

The live event has concluded – watch the recording on YouTube.

Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline is over 70 years old and remains a threat to the waters and people of the Great Lakes region. On July 19, join FLOW and Oil & Water Don’t Mix for a special live webinar, and learn from a panel of experts about how Michigan, Wisconsin, and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa are working together in the courts to shut down Line 5 and bring an end to Enbridge’s trespass on state, sovereign, and indigenous lands. We’ll also talk about smart pipeline alternatives, how organizations are working to avert an oil spill disaster, and answer your questions.

Our expert panel includes:

  • Riyaz Kanji, founding member and Directing Attorney of Kanji & Katzen
  • Christopher Clark, Supervising Senior Attorney, Earthjustice – representing Bay Mills Indian Community
  • Sean McBrearty, Campaign Coordinator, Oil & Water Don’t Mix and Legislative and Policy Director at Michigan Clean Water Action

Hosted by FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood, and moderated by Senior Legal Advisor Skip Pruss.

This online webinar is free, and supported in part by a grant award from the Mackinac Island Community Foundation’s Natural Resources and Preservation Fund.

March 21 Webinar — The Case for a Statewide Septic Code: Michigan Must Inspect Septic Systems to Protect Fresh Water

FLOW hosted a webinar on March 21, 2023, that offered legal, scientific, economic, and political perspectives on the urgent need and critical opportunity for Michigan to finally join the rest of the nation in adopting a state law to protect public health and fresh water from septic system pollution. Billions of gallons of poorly or untreated sewage flow each year into an estimated 330,000 failed septic systems. An unknown amount of that raw sewage ends up in lakes, streams, and groundwater, the source of drinking water for 45% of Michigan’s population.

FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood hosted the webinar, and FLOW Legal Advisor Skip Pruss moderated the panel discussion with:

  • State Rep. Phil Skaggs
  • Dr. Joan Rose of Michigan State University
  • Brad Ward, Legal and Policy Director of the Michigan Realtors

Panelists held a rich discussion and answered questions from the audience during the online event, which was free and open to the public. Watch a recording of the livestream below, and please share.

Feb. 14 & Feb. 16, 2023 — Who Owns the Water?

Join guest lecturer and FLOW Board Member Bob Otwell, Ph.D. and learn about Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation’s (MCWC) original 8-year fight against Nestle including the trial, court of appeals, Supreme Court Cases, and final outcome. Find out what this case meant for the future of water, diversion bans, public water, private commodity or public good, and international trade law. Then hear from Jim Olson, the lead attorney in the 8-year case and founder of For Love of Water (FLOW), about MCWC’s second 4-year battle with Nestlé, where people protested the state and Nestle’s interpretation of new water withdrawal laws and the privatization and sale of the public’s water.

March 14 & March 16 — For Love of Water and the Future of the Great Lakes

Guest lecturer Dave Dempsey, Sr. Policy Advisor at For Love of Water (FLOW) and former Sr. Policy Advisor to the International Joint Commission (IJC), discusses the role of the IJC on the Great Lakes, the Great Lakes Compact, Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and the Sixth Great Lake—Groundwater. In the second session, FLOW Founder Jim Olson will discuss the Compact’s diversion ban, including the controversy around the Foxconn “straddling- community” and Waukesha “straddling-county” diversions, the bottled water “loophole,” and the effects of climate change on water levels and the responsibility of government and industry under the public trust doctrine to protect the waters of the Great Lakes Basin.

Enjoy these recordings of FLOW’s recent livestream webinars on Line 5, groundwater, bottled water, water-themed literature, and more!

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