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Great Lakes Article:

Action Alert from the Environmental Association for Great Lakes Education
Posted 08/12/2002

The World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg

Action Alert Protect World's Freshwater/ Protect the Great Lakes!

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Dear President / Prime Minister,

I am writing to you with regard to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. I am profoundly concerned by the worsening of our global problems of environment and development in the years since Rio. As the world's population increases, ever-increasing demands are being placed on our limited freshwater resources, and a larger number of people than ever lack access to clean water. United Nations embraced data reveals that at our current rate of consumption, by 2015, there simply won't be enough freshwater to satisfy the needs of the world's population. This water crisis is precisely why WSSD will have a particularly strong focus on the world's freshwater.

As you know, the Great Lakes hold a full 1/5 of the world's surface freshwater and 95% of the U.S. supply. Over 32 million people currently rely on the Great Lakes for everyday water needs. Accordingly, this region is in dire need of serious international discussion in regards to long-term protection. The International Joint Commission has made a variety of valuable recommendations for protecting this resource, and WSSD would serve as a prime catalyst for developing global means of generating funding for implementation of these protective measures.

If we simply continue our current approach to these problems, when our current approach is so clearly failing, the results could be disastrous. I urge you to go to the conference with concrete proposals for improving our global capacity to protect our limited supply of freshwater. I encourage you to state (or re-state) our Country's support for the Hague Declaration, in which national leaders called for a new global environmental decision-making body to protect the atmosphere. Such a body should cover not only the atmosphere, but also the world's freshwater supply.

We cannot always wait for almost 200 governments to reach consensus before taking steps to protect our environment. The record of the last few years only confirms that major changes are necessary if we are to solve the global problems that threaten our future. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

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