A great article calling for full transparency from Enbridge and the State in relation to the Line 5 oil pipelines, written by Sarah Koehn (a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, and the policy intern at West Michigan Environmental Action Council), was recently published in the Grand Haven Tribune. She concludes:
“The people of Michigan deserve full transparency and a proactive, thorough process to assess the risk of moving oil through the Great Lakes in an aged pipeline. Taking Enbridge’s word on its safety is not good enough. The state of Michigan should act decisively to protect our most valuable natural resource.”
Here I am (at top center) helping out on the Great Lakes Society campaign along with Mattias Johnson (bottom right) Allison Voglesong (center) and Eliza Somsel (left)
My name is Justin Sterk and I have recently begun volunteering at FLOW, in downtown Traverse City, Michigan. As a native of Traverse City, the Great Lakes hold special importance to me and my family, and it is a great thrill for me to be able to begin contributing to the protection of our region’s greatest resource.
I’ve been here for about a month and a half and have been working on a couple different projects. One has been the early stages of a program that complements the work of Council of Canadians, a partner of FLOW, and their Blue Communities Program. A Council of Canadians Blue Community is one that adopts resolutions that
Ban bottled water in public places and at municipal events, and
Promote publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater services.
A blue community is one that makes a commitment to sustainable water use and resists the ever increasing trend of water privatization. It is our hope that a Blue Communities type of program can be implemented as part of a package of pragmatic water conservation best practices to assist communities in conserving water in many different areas.
The other research I have just recently begun working on relates to the connection between food production and water health. FLOW’s goal is to provide information about water’s inextricable linkage to food production, especially as it relates to phosphorous runoff—a major cause of harmful algal blooms—which affected Lake Erie on a massive scale in 2011. Further, we hope to promote awareness of how climate change increases the impacts on this food and water linkage.
I will try to update everyone on the work I am doing throughout the summer and to provide insight into the kind of work a FLOW volunteer can do. Have a great day and enjoy our beautiful Great Lakes region.