Column: Appreciate and protect our healing watersOur beloved community rises from the shores of Lake Superior, the world’s greatest freshwater wonder.
By: David Ross, For the Budgeteer News
Our beloved community rises from the shores of Lake Superior, the world’s greatest freshwater wonder.
We can look out from our city on the hill and witness waves that splash against ancient stones. We can enjoy its endless horizons made possible by 350 miles of open water. The impression it leaves can be lasting and transformative. We have experienced how the majesty of the Greatest of the Great Lakes can enhance our health and soothe our souls.
This remarkable lake is a part of everything we do. Duluthians know that Gitche Gumee is our playground, our spa and our point of reference. It impacts our weather, our moods, our economy and, most importantly our physical health.
My friend Shane Bauer recently stated in his eloquent Duluth News Tribune article titled, Love Is Not Conditional, “We are made of Lake Superior. It literally flows through us in so many ways, from the water we drink and the beer we brew to the art we create and the rivers we canoe.”
We are inextricably connected to the waters of Lake Superior. Its health impacts our health. It provides us with one of the most precious and life sustaining gifts – clean drinking water. Lake Superior holds more than 10 percent of the world’s fresh water. It is the largest freshwater lake in the world.
Sadly, for too many of us, water is a source of pain and suffering. The lack of access to clean water and sanitation remains the world’s largest health problem, resulting in the deaths of 1.8 million children under the age of five every year. Nearly 900 million people lack access to clean drinking water and 2.6 billion people don’t have access to sanitation facilities. People are forced to drink water from rivers, streams and watering holes that are polluted. More than 80 percent of the global health burden is water related. It is Heart wrenching to think that our brothers and sisters from across the globe are faced with this dilemma every single day.
Fortunately, because we live in our beloved Zenith City, our challenge is less immediate and intense. Yet, it is equally paramount. We must protect the life-sustaining and healing waters of Lake Superior. You can take comfort in knowing the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce’s leadership appreciates clean water and stands to protect it.
Our Chamber is a part of the Great Lakes Conversation being hosted by the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition. This may be a pleasant surprise to some people. Many community members might think a chamber of commerce would not choose to be a member of such a coalition, or would maybe encourage business practices that abuse water.
An overarching goal of the Coalition is to invest in the Great Lakes. Specifically, the Coalition seeks to “renew and leverage the Great Lakes and our natural attributes to transform the economic region by improving both the supply and the quality of water for use in our region without diversion. We will support business development and research opportunities compatible with fresh water technology and water-based development.” Those of us involved in this conversation recognize this investment in the Great Lakes is an investment in the physical and economic health of our communities.
Having clean, drinkable water is far more sustaining than having oil.
We must remember that the greatest of the Great Lakes is a gift we must appreciate, protect and never take for granted.
David Ross is the president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at 740-3751 or firstname.lastname@example.org.