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With Great Lakes at record low levels, Maude Barlow intensifies call for bold new vision to protect them

Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chair of Food and Water Watch’s board, is embarking on an seven-city speaking tour in Canada and the United States calling for a bold shift in Great Lakes governance to talk about threats such as low lake levels, pollution, over-extraction, climate change and invasive species. The tour kicks off in Duluth, Minnesota tomorrow evening.

“We’ve seen amazing work by many environmental organizations and some governments and we’ve made some big gains but we’re still seeing serious threats to North America’s largest water supply,” says Barlow. “The missing piece is that we continue to make decisions based on the myth of abundance and to feed our consumer-based society. Our governments have start listening to communities who are saying ‘no’ to tar sands, fracking, bottled water and other projects that can deplete or pollute our water supplies. The future of the Great Lakes depends on it.”

Barlow is calling for the Great Lakes to be recognized as a Commons and a Public Trust to be shared, protected and managed by those living around them. The vision is based on the human right to water, incorporates public input and prioritizes public and Indigenous rights over private interests.

The Great Lakes tour will visit Duluth in Minnesota (April 4), Milwaukee in Wisconsin (April 15), Grand Rapids in Michigan (April 16), Rochester in New York (April 25), Toronto in Ontario (April 27), Port Elgin in Ontario (August 1) and Bayfield in Ontario (September 28). These seven events are the second part of the Great Lakes tour that began in May 2012.

To read Barlow’s report Our Great Lakes Commons: A People’s Plan to Protect the Great Lakes Forever and to see full details about the tour, visit: www.canadians.org/greatlakes.