Attend Our Events in 2023

Enbridge Line 5: Questions and Answers

Do you have questions about the Line 5 oil pipeline? Are you concerned about an oil spill in the Great Lakes?

On November 1, FLOW, Oil & Water Don’t Mix, and a panel of experts will hold a live webinar, and answer your questions about the condition of Line 5, current litigation, the proposed oil tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac, and more. We’ll also talk about the actions we can all take to help get oil out of the Great Lakes and prevent an oil spill disaster.    

Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline is part of a system that transports oil from the tar sands of western Canada to refineries in Ontario, using the Great Lakes states and the Straits of Mackinac as a high-risk shortcut. Built in 1953 and designed to last 50 years, Line 5 is now 70 years old and threatens public trust and sovereign indigenous waters and lands, as well as our economy and way of life. 

Our expert panel includes:

  • Riyaz Kanji, founding member and Directing Attorney of Kanji & Katzen – representing the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
  • 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

This webinar Q&A session will be hosted by FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood, and moderated by Senior Legal Advisor Skip Pruss. Questions will be taken in advance, as well as during the webinar.


SHOP YOUR COMMUNITY DAY: Downtown Traverse City
Saturday, November 11

FLOW is happy to be a part of Shop Your Community Day in downtown Traverse City! Here’s how it works:

1. On Saturday November 11, all day, shop dozens of great downtown retailers.

2. At checkout, select FLOW on your ballot, and FLOW will receive a donation of 15% of the sale!

3. Feel great about supporting local businesses, getting some holiday shopping done, and supporting the work we do to defend the Great Lakes 💧💧💧

Recent Past Events:

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

FLOW is excited to host a beach cleanup at Volleyball Beach and West End Beach in Traverse City as part of the Great Lakes’ Adopt-a-Beach program. Every year, thousands of volunteers participate in cleanups across all five Great Lakes. Volunteers remove tens of thousands of pounds of litter, most of it plastic, from Great Lakes shorelines.

Please help make this event a success by joining other FLOW volunteers to clean up litter and record findings in a Great Lakes’ online Adopt-a-Beach database. About 85% of the litter volunteers remove from Great Lakes shorelines is made of plastic. In addition to keeping Great Lakes beaches and shorelines clean, Adopt-a-Beach volunteers keep tens of thousands of pounds of plastic and other litter out of the Great Lakes each year. Plastic never goes away. It just breaks up into smaller pieces called “microplastics” that end up on our water. The data volunteers collect is added to a global dataset for researchers to use to better understand plastic pollution. Communities can also use the data to understand and address the most common types of litter found on local shorelines.

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.

May 17 Hybrid Event: Michigan Demands Access to Safe, Clean, Affordable Water For All

Two leading Michigan civil rights and environmental attorneys dedicated to fighting water injustices (e.g., Detroit water shutoffs, Flint lead crisis, Nestle water grab) discuss securing solutions for water affordability legislation and the legal basis for establishing a right to water and health.

Online Classes at Northwestern Michigan College Taught by FLOW’s Founder, Staff, & Board Member

Extended education classes offered online by Northwestern Michigan College and taught by FLOW’s Founder Jim Olson, along with FLOW legal and policy staff and a FLOW board member.


April 11 & April 13 — Can Humans Survive Climate Change?

In the first session, FLOW Founder Jim Olson, along with FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood and Legal Director Zach Welcker, discuss the legality of the State’s lawsuits and order revoking the easement for Line 5 and shutting it down. In the second session, the larger context of greenhouse gasses, fossil fuels, and renewable energy takes front and center. Hear from Skip Pruss, FLOW Legal Advisor and former Energy Advisor to Governor Granholm, and leading expert on renewable energy and the effects of climate change. Learn about climate change and global warming, the rapid transition from a fossil fuel to a renewable energy economy, and the prospects for 2030, 2050, and the 22nd century.

April 18 — Watersheds, Science, and the Public Trust Doctrine: A Model for Sustainability in the 21st Century

ClassGraphicHow does a public trust doctrine address threats to water in the 21st century? Jim Olson, environmental lawyer, and writer, and founder of For Love of Water, lays the framework for water law and policy in this one-day class. Discuss the ways a public trust imposes a duty on governments and establishes rights to protect public water resources and communities from the effects of climate change. Learn about the right to water, the public trust, water justice, and the delivery of water through municipal water infrastructure and services. Is the public trust doctrine an overarching principle that can combat the forces, causes, and effects that destroy watersheds, water resources, livelihoods, quality of life, and health?

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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