The Great Lakes are facing a myriad of abuses and threats never seen before in human history. These pressures on the Great Lakes are immense, and once again these majestic waters are showing signs of collapsing. We must face the facts. Twentieth century solutions are no longer working.
It is up to the citizens to save the Great Lakes. We must build a strong, unified voice throughout the Great Lakes that the says, “Enough is enough.” We can start right now, right here by signing the Great Lakes Declaration to reclaim the waters of the Great Lakes Basin and protect them for future generations. It is our responsibility. Let’s make it our legacy!
We the People of the Great Lakes,
in order to protect and respect these majestic waters and establish water justice for the citizens, communities, farmers, businesses, indigenous peoples, future generations and all living creatures living in the Great Lakes Basin do hereby affirm and declare all waters of the Great Lakes Basin a Commons, responsibly shared by all and held in public trust for all time as a common defense from government action or inaction, special interests, and all others who threaten our prosperity, our rights, our health and the waters of the Great Lakes Basin.
We therefore expressly declare:
- Equitable access to clean and adequate water for drinking, and sanitation is an inalienable human right.
- Any proposed use, diversion or discharge shall not harm the Waters of the Great Lakes by materially reducing the flow, changing the levels, or polluting the waters of the Great Lakes Basin.
- The waters of the Great Lakes Basin shall never be controlled by or transferred to private interests for private purposes or gain.
- Our rights to use the water of the Great Lakes Basin shall never be alienated or subordinated by our governments to special interests.
- A duty is imposed upon the Great Lakes States and Provinces to protect the waters of the Great Lakes Basin and defend the water rights and uses of its citizens forever. In their continued duties, the states and provinces must measure the cumulative impacts of the abuses.
- The Great Lakes States and Provinces shall be held accountable to the citizens of the Great Lakes Basin for their actions or inactions to protect these waters and the inalienable water rights of its citizens.
- Those who seek to use, continue to use, divert or alter the waters of the Great Lakes Basin shall have the burden of proof to show:
- They will not impair, pollute or harm the water;
- They will not subordinate or alienate the water rights and uses of the citizens;
- They will not harm other living creatures of the Great Lakes;
- As peoples of the Great Lakes, these are our shared responsibilities:
- We will conserve and use the waters of the Great Lakes Basin wisely;
- We will take action to stop the threats and abuses to the waters of the Great Lakes Basin;
- We will defend our water rights just as we defend our property rights;
- We will recognize the Great Lakes as one contiguous, richly diverse bio-region;
- We will respect the waters of the Great Lakes Basin and all life dependent upon them;
- We will protect the Great Lakes for future generations.