Com- mons, to be shared, protected, carefully managed and enjoyed by all who live around them. The Great Lakes Basin Commons would need to be protected by a legal and political frame- work based on Public Trust Doctrine, underpinning in law that the Great Lakes are central to the very existence of those people, plants and animals living on or near them and therefore must be protected for the common good from generation to generation.
Multipoint pollution, climate change, over-extraction, invasive species, and wetland loss are all taking their toll on the watershed
For some, the Great Lakes represent a massive resource grab that takes many forms: privatization, appropriation, the en- titlement to use and misuse water, and the prioritization of market economics over ecological and justice considerations
All suffer from chronic underfunding, regulatory infractions, and inadequate enforcement of existing rules
Ontario and Quebec, and eight U.S. states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.
The Great Lakes of North America form the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world, holding more than 20 per cent of the world’s surface freshwater and 95 per cent of North America’s
there are at least 204 pollutants in the Great Lakes
mercury, dioxins, lead and PCBs
pollutants including pharmaceuticals, flame-retardants, plasticizers and pesticides, none of which are covered by the Agreement, and the introduction of a whole new class of chemicals including endocrine disrupters.
There are now 43 “Areas of Concern,”
hey include Saginaw Bay in Michigan where the tour- ist industry has been destroyed with the spread of a foul toxic algae called cladophora, and Sarnia, Ontario, nicknamed “Chemical Alley” where twice as many girl babies as boy babies are being born to the local First Nations peoples, the Aamjiwnaang, and where unusual sexual attributes to frogs and other species have been observed by Canadian wildlife experts
New species such as the Asian carp and snakehead may soon join established predators such as the sea lamprey and zebra mussels that have clogged the intake pipes of power plants, industrial facilities and public waters systems
Recently, scientists have blamed the proliferation of zebra and quagga mussels for the die- off of large numbers of migratory birds over the Great Lakes. The mussels filter botulism and other naturally occurring toxins from the waters. More than 100,000 birds, many of them threatened species including many thousands of loons, have died in the last decade while migrating over the Lakes, and experts now believe it is as a result of eating goby fish, who in turn have eaten the contaminated mussels.
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