Dear friend of FLOW,

Some initiatives warrant waking up early, even on a sleepy weekend morning. This past Saturday, my family and I and other FLOW colleagues joined a beach cleanup on East Grand Traverse Bay organized by our friends at M-22 and GoSili. Thirty-four hearty people showed up, including my daughter Ella and her high school environmental club classmates, who felt so inspired that they kept going after the beach cleanup and picked up debris at the parking lot at Traverse City Central High School, too.

Our group filled four large burlap bags with trash, much of it plastic that would otherwise break down into microplastic pollution that would be far more difficult to recover. 

“Tourists also have a big impact on the beaches by bringing new trash to the areas and not remembering to take it with them when they leave,” FLOW development specialist Tessa Diem pointed out. “So, this was a great spring cleaning to get the beaches to a nice base level.”

The amount of trash that people leave on the beach and the microplastics threatening our ecosystem offer sobering reminders of our personal and collective responsibilities. So, too, does the size of the water footprint of the average U.S. resident, second worldwide only to that of the United Arab Emirates. Nevertheless, the determination and passion of ordinary citizens—and young leaders among us—to make a difference and protect our precious Great Lakes gives me a groundswell of hope.

In solidarity,

Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director

P.S. – I can’t wait to build on my feeling of hope when FLOW hosts world-renowned author and water activist Maude Barlow for a livestream conversation on June 15 about her new book, Still Hopeful: Lessons from a Lifetime of Activism. Scroll down for the details.

Call to Action: Shrinking Our 'Water Footprint' to Protect the Great Lakes
Here’s a shocking fact: the United States is second only to the United Arab Emirates in gallons of water used per person per day—more than 2,200 gallons. Why should residents of the Great Lakes region and its abundant freshwater be concerned about their water footprint and take steps to conserve water? Because living among water riches does not exempt us from responsible environmental stewardship. Read more here.

Leadership Rising: A Next Generation Voice Speaks Up to Keep Our Water Public and Protected
“Protecting our precious waters is a multigenerational mission,” said FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood. “We put that mission into practice not only by pursuing solutions to water problems that will pay off for generations to come, but also by engaging young people who will carry forward the work as part of a rising generation.” FLOW’s summer 2022 Milliken intern for communications is Mackenzie Joseph, a native of Johnstown, Ohio, and rising senior at Ohio University who is majoring in Communication Studies with minors in History, English, Writing, and Political Communication. We asked Mackenzie to tell us a little about her background and what appeals to her about FLOW’s work.
Weds., June 15, at 6:00 pm: Still Hopeful: A Livestream Conversation with Maude Barlow
Be sure to register today for FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood’s June 15 livestream conversation with Maude Barlow, following a video tribute to Barlow by her dear friend Jim Olson, FLOW’s founder. A lifelong and world-renowned champion of water, Barlow has authored a book built on her career of activism. Its title, appropriately, is Still Hopeful: Lessons from a Lifetime of Activism. In the book, Barlow tells stories of her work on many issues, perhaps most importantly her successful advocacy of water as a human right. Resisted by many governments, this idea faced enormous challenges, but in July of 2010, the work of Barlow and allies resulted in a declaration of the human right to water by the United Nations General Assembly. The vote was 122 nations in favor, with 41 abstentions—no nation voted against the resolution. Click here to register.
Tell Congress to Ban Water Futures Trading
No one should be allowed to gamble with clean, safe water, but that’s exactly what financial speculators are trying to do by trading water futures. Our allies at Food & Water Watch have created a tool you can use to tell your members of Congress to co-sponsor the Future of Water Act (HR 7182, S 3886), which would ban financial speculators from engaging in water futures trading.
Spring in Action: Support FLOW Today
Are you feeling inspired? Please support FLOW’s efforts to protect the Great Lakes by donating today. As a nonprofit, FLOW is propelled by donations from individuals like you. Together we can ensure the waters of the Great Lakes–at the shore, stored as groundwater, or flowing from your household faucet–are clean, affordable, and accessible for all.
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