Blog Posts

Blog posts by FLOW team and guest writers

Will Michigan Allow Nestlé to Operate below the Ground and above the Law?

By Jim Olson In the coming weeks, Liesl Clark, the director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)—and ultimately, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer—will make the final decision required by state law on a Nestlé water bottling permit to remove another 210 million gallons of groundwater a year virtually for free from… Read more »

While Toilets Flush, Inaction on Michigan Septic Policy

Nothing defines Michigan more than water. This begs the question, why is Michigan the only state in the union without a statewide septic sanitary code? This question came to the fore last year when Kalkaska County decided it wanted to get rid of its “point of sale” septic ordinance.

During Septic Smart Week, Let’s Protect our Groundwater

Most Michiganders don’t know that September 14-18 is Septic Smart Week — and that an estimated 130,000 septic systems in our state are failing. In many cases that means sewage and associated microorganisms are reaching groundwater, lakes and streams.

Exploring Sally Cole-Misch’s book “The Best Part of Us”

The reviews are in—and they’re very, very good. The first novel by Sally Cole-Misch, The Best Part of Us, is attracting favorable reactions from the critics. The Michigan Daily calls it a “captivating celebration of nature that pushes us to consider our connections to the Earth.” Reader’s Favorite calls the novel “a lush and lovely… Read more »

The Marriage of the Rights of Nature and the Public Trust Doctrine

By Jim Olson The citizens of Toledo, Ohio, desperate to end the continuing plague of toxic algal blooms covering the western one-third of Lake Erie, in February 2019 passed by referendum a municipal ordinance that enacted the “Lake Erie Bill of Rights.” The Bill of Rights holds that “Lake Erie, and the Lake Erie watershed,… Read more »

State of the Great Lakes?

This month, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) issued the 2019 State of the Great Lakes Report. While legitimately showcasing much good news about policies and programs benefiting the Lakes, the report joined the ranks of many that don’t say enough about the conditions of the Great Lakes themselves. Even if accurate, the report’s “fair and unchanging” verdict translates at best to a C+. That is far from great effort on behalf of the Great Lakes. We can and must do better.

When Water Was Trash

Helene Kouzoujian Rimer read her compelling and arresting poem, “When Water Was Trash” at the Glen Arbor Arts Center’s “Words for Water” poetry throw-down on July 31. The outdoor event was a collaboration between the Arts Center and FLOW. Poets and performers were invited to read works that sought to answer the question: “Who owns the water? People? Communities? Corporations? Nobody?” Click here to watch a livestream recording of the poetry throw-down.