The Great Lakes basin holds 20% of the world‘s fresh surface water. World wide, supplies of clean water are decreasing and wars are fought over access to water. Jacque-Yves Cousteau said “water is life.“ If Michigan is to protect and preserve her freshwater treasure, citizens must insist that their representatives defend and protect our streams, rivers and lakes, and protect the lands that surrounds them.
Perrier, a subsidiary of Nestle, has moved into Stanwood Michigan. Millions of gallons of water a week will be extracted from wells there. Perrier is looking for 12 more sites for taking the water of Michigan, and some of those plants will be targeted in this area. As water is squandered and poisoned throughout the U.S. and the world, more and more pressure will be put on Michigan to share and sell her water.
Lower Michigan has transformed many of her natural trout streams and rivers into polluted drains. We do not have to repeat this tragedy, but we must significantly alter our patterns of development. The purity of groundwater and the water of the streams, lakes and rivers, is dependant on the water cycle and human activities on the land. Every time a stream is used for drainage of roads and malls and yards, water quality is effected. Unless great care is taken, roads become the storm water tributaries of the modern world, carrying soil and sediment and pollutants into the wetlands, streams and lakes.
1. We must create and maintain greenbelts along our streams, lakes, wetlands and tributaries to protect water quality, to moderate the flow of storm water, and to replenish our ground water.
2. We must be willing to limit growth to concentrated areas, leaving large areas of natural surface if we are to protect groundwater, our streams and our lakes. Clustering of homes and intelligent placement of apartments and complexes can dramatically limit impervious surfaces.
This battle to defend our water is the flag ship of today‘s crisis of democracy. Whose water is it? John Engler must not be allowed to give global corporations a green light to come into our communities and take our most precious resources. We borrow the water from our children. Will democracy be able to protect the “commons“ and the public good, from the short term profit, power and destructive forces of corporate privilege and global “free“ trade? It is time for the people of Michigan to claim their right to protect their land, their air and their water.
Jo Anne Beemon via email
John Muir, the naturalist, hiker, militant environmentalist, and tireless fighter for conservation programs, founded the Sierra Club in 1892 and was its president for the rest of his life. By the end of that life, in 1914, incredibly, he had hiked and backpacked most of the wilderness areas in this country, alone, with no sleeping bag, no gun, and, according to Muir‘s notes, carrying only a sack of stale bread and tea.
The Sierra Club today proudly carries on John Muir‘s dedication.
Our Traverse Group, over 700 members, and the fastest growing Sierra group in the country, enthusiastically explores, enjoys, and protects through our program which incorporates political activism, conservation programs, and a full schedule of outings, constantly being expanded.
One of those outings is scheduled for Wednesday evening, May I, when a group of Sierra members and friends will meet at 6:30 p.m. at the YMCA parking lot off South Airport Road in Traverse City, to hike along the beautiful Boardman River. All are welcome and each will walk the distance with which he or she is comfortable. We will tread lightly, breath deeply, listen carefully, marvel at the natural beauty. We will stop at the location of the proposed unspeakable degradation of the river valley, and our thoughts will naturally include the subject of man‘s inhumanity to his natural world. Perhaps we‘ll read and talk a bit about the life of this dedicated man, John Muir, and just maybe, some of us, in his further honor, may carry a sackful of bread, stale or fresh.
John E. Lewis TC
The month of April brings the promise of spring with the return of the robins, and more than a few memories. April Fools‘ Day is my favorite, but then come the negatives. The 15th is tax day for those who pay, the 19th holds memories of the burning in Waco and the bombing in Oklahoma City, and the 20th is the anniversary of the Colombine shooting and the birth of Adolph Shicklgruber, aka Hitler.
After the explosion(s} in Okiahoma, some in the Clinton Administration proposed a “Homelands Defense Command.“ At the time, John Q. Public was not yet ready to bend over and grab his ankles, and so the proposal went away for a few years. After the sad events of November, 2000, and September, 2001, morale was low enough, the body count high enough, and the fear extreme enough to convince John Q. that maybe now was a good time to give up liberty for security. The Office of Homeland Defense now receives billions of dollars, and, like the CIA, doesn‘t have to tell the public where the money goes.
A recent poll showed 40% responding thought that the government should censor comics. Oh America, what will we remember next April?
Bob VanderLewn Manistee
Luck of the Irish
Letter writer Bob Vance scorns the Irish in your April 18 edition, as if some ethnic groups are more worthy than others when it comes to the horrors of the past.
Yet, genocidal British policies over the past 300 years contributed to starvation of 1 million Irish during the Potato Famine alone. Ethnic cleansing began in 1670 when Oliver Cromwell removed the Irish from their own lands. Reports of Irish peasants eating grass were widespread. Jonathan Swift‘s satire, “A Modest Proposal,“ on the Irish eating their own babies in order to survive had a grim ring of truth to it.
The Irish “volunteered“ to be indentured servants as Mr. Vance claims. They also volunteered to be slaughtered as cannon fodder for our armies. Yet they volunteered knowing that life as a servant in the American colonies during the 1700s was often brutal and short. They volunteered to avoid starvation, prostitution and prison in the occupied territories of their native land.
One might as well say that African-Americans have “volunteered“ to live in slums over the past century.
The larger point is that cruelty begets cruelty, no matter what race or ethnic group.
Frank Gibbs via email
Just thought it was interesting to read that the Cherry Festival has chosen the art work for their poster for the 2002 Festival. I understand it features a cute dog in a cherry lug on a farm.
Being a dog lover and owner of several I like the sound of it. But it‘s funny how Tom Kern worked so hard last year to ban dogs from the Open Space during the Festival and now has chosen the dog theme to sell it this year.
Do they want dogs or don‘t they? It‘s time for dog owners to take action because dogs have rights too; poow, poow on you Mr. Kern.
Jim Carruthers TC