Blog Posts

Blog posts by FLOW team and guest writers

FLOW Business Partner Sleeping Bear Tour Company Leads “Wilderness Tours”

Photo by Sleeping Bear Tour Company’s Julie Den Uyl By Calli Crow, FLOW Development Specialist On Saturday, April 25, members of FLOW’s board and I joined a few hearty volunteers on a trek to North Bar Lake in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to join Sleeping Bear Tour Company for an exclusive two-hour wilderness tour highlighting the… Read more »

A Grounding in Groundwater, Climate, and Water Justice

FLOW and the Great Lakes are healthier and stronger because of the help we have received from interns specializing in law, policy, and communications during our 10 years of keeping water public and protected. Case in point, Alex Theophilus, who has served since January as a policy intern at FLOW. Currently studying environmental geography and sociology at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, Alex grew up in Leelanau County and the Traverse City area before graduating from Traverse City Central High School in 2018. We asked Alex to share his thoughts about his experience as a FLOW intern in a year unlike any other as the COVID-19 pandemic continued its grip on the globe. Here are Alex’s responses to the questions we posed.

Earth Day 2021: This Year It’s Really about the Whole Earth

With growing scientific confirmation of accelerating global climate change, Earth Day 2021 is more than just another Earth Day. For the first time, an American president will host an international climate summit on Earth Day to “reset” domestic and international strategies to combat alarming climate trends. The Biden Administration invited 40 world leaders to the summit, and on April 17 announced an agreement with China to “seriously and urgently” tackle the problem. This blog offers tips on how to take part in Earth Day activities, both statewide and locally.

FLOW Welcomes Tribal Law Expert Matthew L.M. Fletcher to Board of Directors

FLOW is excited to announce the growth of our Board of Directors as we welcome tribal law expert Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Foundation Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center. He is also the primary editor and author of the leading law blog on American Indian law and policy, Turtle Talk. “We are thrilled to welcome Matthew Fletcher to our Board of Directors,” said FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood. “Matthew’s extraordinary knowledge of tribal history, custom, and law will greatly serve to advance FLOW’s mission to protect our shared waters as a commons from one generation to the next. We have much to learn from traditional indigenous ecological knowledge and teachings about stewarding our precious Great Lakes and freshwater.”

Michigan Needs a Groundwater Protection Act

Michigan groundwater policy has failed to evolve even as understanding has grown about groundwater’s importance and its interconnection with the Great Lakes. The simple fact that Michigan has approximately 14,000 groundwater contamination sites with an estimated cleanup bill of over $1 billion—most of it likely to be charged to taxpayers—should make groundwater a public policy imperative.

Will Wall Street Control Our Water in the 21st Century?

The water barons are finally moving in to gain control over water rights in public water that is supposed to be held and managed by each state as sovereign for the benefit of its citizens. These water transactions, which seek to profit by speculating on an underlying assumption that water is a commodity or can be allocated for sale,  signal a significant shift in investors’ attitudes about public water, and, fundamentally pose the question: Just who will own and control the public’s water in the 21st century?

My Memories on the 50th Anniversary of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore

My first experience with Sleeping Bear Dunes was in the mid-1950s, when I was a teenager, accompanying my family on the Dunesmobile ride. I recall the ride in those convertible Oldsmobile 88s with the big, balloon tires so they didn’t get stuck in the soft sand. That sticks in my mind all these years later because a 1954 Oldsmobile 88 was the first car I ever owned, and I used primarily for my commute from home in Detroit to attend Wayne State University (WSU).

More Progress Needed on Attacking the Threat of Microplastics in the Great Lakes

A January 2021 story by the Capital News Service headlined “Microplastics threaten Great Lakes, and not just the water” was one of the first I have seen recently about the threat of microplastics to our precious fresh waters. However, microplastics have been reported in the Great Lakes for more than 15 years. Researchers started to get interested in microplastics around 2012, but outside the scientific community, microplastic pollution in the Great Lakes hasn’t gained much interest. How much has been done to reduce microplastics? How much has been done to make the general public aware of this serious and growing threat?