January 30, 2012
The people of the Great Lakes are starting to see what the future can be…
On the Blue Planet, it looks as if only a drop of that blue is fresh surface water.
Most of that is temporarily locked up in glaciers and the polar ice caps.
The earth’s largest reservoir of fresh water is fresh indeed by geological standards. North America’s Great Lakes are only about 14,000 years old.
The question is: Can they be made to last forever?
Based on how European settlers have treated them during the past 200 years, their prospects are not good.
But something is happening.
A new spirit is stirring around the Great Lakes and their St. Lawrence River.
The watershed’s 50 million people are awakening to a new identity defined by the waters whose 11,000 miles of shoreline they share – and not by boundary lines overlain on nature by history.
This “cradle of the carbon economy” has awakened to its devastating sins against nature – its short-sighted abuses of the air it breathes, the water it drinks and once so abundantly fished, the land its prodigious manufacturing, agriculture and cities have so negligently stewarded.
As a hungry and thirsty world awakens to the truths that water is more precious than gold, that pollution is too high a cost for prosperity, and that sustainability means making what’s necessary for life last forever.
The rare phenomenon of a new perspective is beginning to see a common future defined by shared resources, enduring abundance and quality of life born of common-sense care, and one of the world’s great megalopolises as a single natural habitat.
A growing and compelling awareness of what “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth” author R. Buckminster Fuller called “the business of the whole;” that we are all connected.
SOM’s call for a 100-year vision for the Great Lakes is a pioneering perspective based upon the insight that in order to solve the problems of a rapidly urbanizing world, solutions must be sought at this scale – at the all-connected, ecological region scale.
There is power in this vision, as the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence cities mayors have acknowledged. The power to begin a great movement, a transformation comprised of a thousand separate initiatives in support of a common theme.
The people of the Great Lakes are starting to see what the future can be, and they are taking it personally.
The native peoples of these water saw in them “big medicine.” It has taken so-called civilized mankind centuries to catch up with this. But now we do see it, and see what to do about it. It’s not too late. We can do this. And with your help we shall.