Attend Our Events in 2023

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

Join us in person or virtually to hear firsthand from two leading Michigan civil rights and environmental attorneys dedicated to fighting water injustices (e.g., Detroit water shutoffs, Flint lead crisis, Nestle water grab) and to securing solutions for water affordability legislation and the legal basis for establishing a right to water and health. Click here to register.

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

Sign up for these 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. Note: Fees apply.


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. Learn more and sign up here.

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? Learn more and sign up here.

Recent Events

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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