Letters

Letters 02-08-2016

Less Ageism, Please The January 4 issue of this publication proved to me that there are some sensible voices of reason in our community regarding all things “inter-generational.” I offer a word of thanks to Elizabeth Myers. I too have worked hard for what I’ve earned throughout my years in the various positions I’ve held. While I too cannot speak for each millennial, brash generalizations about a lack of work ethic don’t sit well with me...Joe Connolly, Traverse City

Now That’s an Escalation I just read the letter from Greg and his defense of the AR15. The letter started with great information but then out of nowhere his opinion went off the rails. “The government wants total gun control and then confiscation; then the elimination of all Constitutional rights.” Wait... what?! To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Well, that escalated quickly!”

Healthy Eating and Exercise for Children Healthy foods and exercise are important for children of all ages. It is important for children because it empowers them to do their best at school and be able to do their homework and study...

Mascots and Harsh Native American Truths The letter from the Choctaw lady deserves an answer. I have had a gutful of the whining about the fate of the American Indian. The American Indians were the losers in an imperial expansion; as such, they have, overall, fared much better than a lot of such losers throughout history. Everything the lady complains about in the way of what was done by the nasty, evil Whites was being done by Indians to other Indians long before Europeans arrived...

Snyder Must Go I believe it’s time. It’s time for Governor Snyder to go. The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the EPA Criminal Investigation Division are now investigating the Flint water crisis that poisoned thousands of people. Governor Snyder signed the legislation that established the Emergency Manager law. Since its inception it has proven to be a dismal failure...

Erosion of Public Trust Let’s look at how we’ve been experiencing global warming. Between 1979 and 2013, increases in temperature and wind speeds along with more rain-free days have combined to stretch fire seasons worldwide by 20 percent. In the U.S., the fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s...

Home · Articles · News · Books · Dave Dempsey‘s Great Lakes...
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Dave Dempsey‘s Great Lakes for sale

Rick Coates - August 18th, 2008
Dave Dempsey’s
Great Lakes for Sale
Great Lakes for Sale
The University of Michigan Press
128 pages
$22.95



As the final beach days wind down for 2008, consider taking Great Lakes For Sale From Whitecaps to Bottlecaps along with you for that final beach read.
Now at first glance this might seem a little bit of a heavy read for a leisurely afternoon at the beach. But there is really no better place to read this book than gazing over the miles of Lake Michigan.
First of all, author Dave Dempsey has taken one of the most challenging and often misunderstood issues in Michigan and the surrounding Great Lake states and put it all in layman terms. Dempsey has made this an easy read, not one full of scientific mumbo-jumbo, but rather he has written a 100-page essay (easy to read in an afternoon) that puts forward the issues at hand and offers solutions as well.
Dempsey is one of the leading advocates and experts for the future of the Great Lakes Water Basin. He is a senior policy advisor for the Michigan Environmental Council and well known for his writings on environmental issues in the Great Lakes region. He is author of Ruin and Recovery: Michigan’s Rise as a Conservation Leader and William G. Milliken: Michigan’s Passionate Moderate.
A REVIVAL
Despite recent challenges, Michigan may find itself soon in economic renaissance and the Great Lakes will probably be at the heart of the revival. But as fresh water supplies in other regions of the country become more limited, Dempsey poses several questions as to what is in the best interest of the Great Lakes in meeting the future water needs of the rest of the country.
What Dempsey does early for the reader is put in perspective the true mass of the Great Lakes. A surface view and even statistics point to this massive water system as being endless; but is it? For example, the Great Lakes hold 18% of the world’s available surface freshwater and 95% of the United States’ available surface freshwater. Throw in the fact that they comprise six quadrillion gallons of water, and if you spread it over the continental United States the lakes would create a 9.5-foot-deep swimming pool.
At the heart of the author’s thesis is the belief that the Great Lakes should not be put up for sale to the highest bidder. And that the potential commercialization of the Great Lakes to corporations would have long lasting negative impact, both environmentally and economically to those communities along the shoreline.
“It’s difficult to understate the importance of the Great Lakes water system -- economically, environmentally, or from a public-health perspective,” Dempsey writes. “The Great Lakes support a year-round sport fishery, they provide a route for commercial and recreational navigation, and they supply many communities with drinking water. Water means jobs and life in the Great Lakes region. And, while residents of this huge region revel in a seemingly limitless quantity of fresh water today, it’s likely that the future will see that same fresh water grow ever more scarce as well as become a source of contention between thirsty communities---and corporations -- further afield and those who live in this giant watershed.”

LONG-TERM THREAT
Dempsey drives home his point:
“It’s not simply a matter of how much water in the short term is removed; the long-term threat is control of water and the possibility that non-Great Lakes interests will assert ownership of the very substance of the Great Lakes.”
If Great Lakes For Sale has any shortcomings it would be that Dempsey does not address the waterways for alternative energy usage, either as a positive or a negative. His primary focus is the use of the Great Lakes water basin solely for bottle water usage and for the potential diverting to other regions. While these make strong arguments for protective measures, one has to wonder what sort of impact alternative energy initiatives would have as well.
One of the great attributes in Dempsey’s work is his willingness to accurately portray both sides of the issue. He presents the reader (who may be unaware of the commercial bottling company’s positions) with the arguments for the commercialization of the Great Lakes water basin.
Dempsey even recounts one surreal moment when he was debating the spokesperson for the water bottling industry on the Ron Jolly Show on WTCM-AM when they went to commercial break, only to have that commercial be for a new children’s book “The Day The Great Lakes Drained Away.”
Overall Dave Dempsey in a concise and easy to read format has made a compelling argument in support of his final chapter “Great Lakes Not For Sale.” This is a must read for anyone at all concerned about the future of the Great Lakes.

(In the cause of full disclosure, it should be noted that Express contributing editor Rick Coates was Dave Dempsey’s paperboy 35 years ago.)

The Fight for the Lakes:

Excerpt from Dave Dempsey’s Great Lakes for Sale: From Whitecaps to Bottlecaps:

“…The fight is not about hoarding or denying or even, in the end, keeping the Great Lakes as they are. Should some catastrophic need arise, few will stand in the way of an emergency transfusion of water to save lives far away. But under what terms, for whom, and for how long? The words ‘short-term humanitarian emergency’ may be the most important yet least well-defined of the many in the Great Lakes compact. They deserve more consideration and thought. And the Great Lakes will definitely not stay the same: as they always have, they will continue to transform themselves.
The fight is about something much bigger than that. It is about democracy and public interest. For when have the people, or their duly elected representatives at any level of government, after open debate in front of the citizenry and with full consciousness of their own actions, and with the assent of the same citizenry, authorized the taking of Great Lakes water for private profit by constitutional amendment, statute or rule?
They have not as of this writing. And until they do the waters of the Great Lakes belong to all the people and are held in trust by the governments charged with protecting their interests…”






 
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