What’s the scale of the issue about The Great Lakes?
The University of Michigan Graham Sustainability Institute has produced research into this and notes that the problem, in its simplest form possible, is the fact that evaporation rates outperform precipitation levels. This means that water is currently leaving the Great Lakes faster than it’s coming in and, given that the Great Lakes contain ⅕ of the world’s drinking water, it’s apparent that this could become a severe issue if nothing is done.
As Drain points out, Nestle have been given access to bottle 800 million litres of Great Lakes water per year. Placing this on top of the 11 billion litres of water the Great Lakes are already losing through anthropogenic activities such as dredging is a recipe for disaster.
Unfortunately, the US can see for itself the disasters vast lake draining can cause. It only has to look at the Aral Sea, which borders Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, to see the potential damage it might inflict upon itself. The Daily Mail reports that the Aral Sea used to contain 26,000 square miles of water (approximately half the size of England) and was formerly the fourth largest freshwater lakes in the world, but the rivers that fed it were diverted to aid Soviet cotton production on a huge scale and as a result its water levels fell by 90%.
This image shows how the Aral Sea drained so rapidly over the course of 50 years.
Imagine if a situation similar to the Aral Sea happened in the US? There is already a water crisis emerging. Our podcast with Ken Surritte shows how states such as California (which are desperately clambering to gain access to the water supply of the Great Lakes) are facing severe issues of drought. Also, with the current high levels of lead in the water supply of Flint, Michigan drought isn’t the only threat to a clean water supply in the US.
What is the cause of these issues?
To put it as simply as possible: climate change. At Better World International we have produced numerous articles about the impacts of climate change. Essentially, as the world’s global temperature is predicted to rise by 2C if nothing is done then this increase in temperature will increase the already dangerously high levels of evaporation in the Great Lakes. How fortunate that, at the time I am writing this, the US and China (who are responsible for 40% of global carbon emissions) have agreed to ratify the Paris 2015 agreement.
What can I do to prevent this potential catastrophe?
Fear not, because there is a solution. At Better World International we know that there is a fix to all of the world’s problems–we just need to make sure they are realistic and able to be put into practice!
The creators of Drain have created an IndieGoGo page where you can fund them and support their efforts to lobby politicians to do something about this emerging crisis! One of the things I personally like about Drain is its emphasis on being a grassroots movement. This means its origins lie with ordinary people such as you and I rather than the corporate backing of billionaires looking to change the world.
It has raised over its goal of $20,000 which shows a large number of people care about the Great Lakes and want to take the action. At Better World International, we support the movement and want our Dreamers to get behind it and help save the Great Lakes!
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