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Great Lakes Article:

Cotton Mouth, Sucking Sounds, Dick and Bush

Weird Environmental News Briefs

By Craig Minowa: Norhtland Reader
For more information about local environmental organizations, issues and events, go to

 Posted 09/09/2002

The City in the Sea

Resignedly beneath the sky, the melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there, that all seem pendulous in air,
While from a proud tower in the town, Death looks gigantically down.

- Edgar Allan Poe


World Gets Cotton-Mouth/ Great Lakes for Sale

The World Summit in Johannesburg Africa kicked off last week. It’s the largest gathering of international leaders in history. The coolest part of this story, is that they’re all gathering to discuss the environmental crisis, with a focus on the global freshwater crisis. Although President Bush represents a country that creates nearly a third of the world’s pollution, he chose not to go, in favor of spending a couple of weeks on vacation at his ranch in Texas. Typical.

While he’s kicking back Bush Light beer with his oil buddies, the rest of the world is attempting to face some very difficult dilemmas—mainly, what the heck are we going to do about this freshwater crisis?


Related Mindblowing Eco-Facts:

  • The UN recently reported that 40% of the world’s population will lack access to safe freshwater within the next 10 years, which will put extreme pressure on the remaining freshwater supplies.
  • So where are the world’s biggest surface freshwater supplies? A full fifth of the world’s surface freshwater is held in the Great Lakes (95% of U.S. freshwater).


Eco-Quotes of the Week

----"If the wars of this century were fought over oil, the wars of the next century will be fought over water."

1995 World Bank vice president Ismail Serageldin


----"Isn't it great that while much of the developing world is grappling with extreme water deprivation, the U.S. is making contingency plans to keep desert mirages like Las Vegas up and running?"

Maude Barlow, Chair of the Council of Canadians, speaking in regards to Bush’s new plan to use the existing oil pipeline structure in the Northern Provinces to flow Canadian water into the U.S.


The Perverse Ideas of Dick and Bush

If you were President Bush, what would you do with the Great Lakes?----The same thing you do with everything in the US: sell it and make a ton of money. Bush is all for privatizing the Great Lakes water supply, which is exactly why he avoided the Earth Summit. Bush and Cheney are now pushing for legislation that would make it easy for corporations to bottle up Great Lakes water and sell it to those who can afford it.

Freshwater has become such a precious commodity, the ecological catastrophes that are caused by drying up aquifers and lakes are pocket change compared to the money a business can make from selling H2O.


LOUD SUCKING SOUNDS!!! (Based on a True Story)

Great Lakes water is already in the quiet process of being slipped out of the public’s hands and into corporate pocketbooks.

For example, Perrier bottling company has already received permission from Michigan to construct a plant capable of bottling 260 million gallons of water a year from the Great Lakes watershed----and that’s just the beginning. Perrier is also working out contracts with Milwaukee to suck water from the Western Lake Michigan municipal water supply.

One Perrier proposal suggests bottling Great Lakes water at a rate of 500 gallons per minute (from a single water plant). Milwaukee would make a ton of money off of this contract, and in today’s destitute financial market, that kind of cash is looking pretty tempting.

The problem here is simple: Once a bottling company achieves the rights to start sucking up Great Lakes water, they never have to stop---like an infinitely growing leach.


Interesting Tidbit

Have you ever bought “Ice Mountain” bottled water from your local convenience store/supermarket? If so, you’ll be surprised to know Ice Mountain is a Perrier company. That water you’re drinking is a bottle of Lake Michigan, and Perrier’s CEOs are salivating over the idea that they may soon be sucking down the waters of Lake Superior, as well.


Magical Facts for Thirsty Minds

  • Even without bottling, Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes already have water levels dropping at record rates. The current overall average between the five lakes is now over a foot below normal water levels---and dropping.
  • Each time you buy a bottle of water, you’re actually consuming over five times the amount of your purchase. It takes that much water to process the plastic, develop the label’s paper pulp and refine the fuel (energy for transportation and bottling the water).


Major Long Distance Phone Call

I got a call from an Earth Summit reporter in Johannesburg, Africa last week, who said he was writing a national article discussing the Summit’s stance on Great Lakes issues. He was confused, because he wasn’t coming across any Great Lakes material on the Summit’s agenda.

Out of frustration he ended up calling the Environmental Association for Great Lakes Education in Duluth to see if we knew of anything that may be Great Lakes related at the Summit.

All I could say was that the only thing to know is that there’s nothing to know. Bush is on vacation. He wants to sell the Great Lakes. I mean, honestly, how many people in the U.S. actually give a flying frick about the global water crisis and its related ecological and human death tolls? We’re too busy watering the lawn, washing the driveway, filling the pool, flushing the toilet ten times a day, and telling the whiney people overseas to shut the hell up.


Motto of the Mad

There is no global water crisis. There is no global water crisis. There is no global water crisis. That’s the mantra of American media. You don’t even have to pay attention to the constant grind of commercialism/mainstream media, and it will lull you into a numbing sleep of happy ignorance. So deep will be your sleep, in fact, you won’t have to be emotionally affected by the fact that over 20,000 kids die each day from water related diseases (as documented by the United Nations).

Wake up! It’s too easy to believe that the images surrounding your immediate reality are Truth---TV, radio, newspaper, billboards and ads, ads, ads. Never accept Truth from someone who’s selling it. That kind of empty transaction is for the irreversibly tranquilized. But you, my friend, don’t belong with the inebriated masses. No, you’re too special, and you’re about to do something incredibly powerful!

Here’s Truth worth sucking on:  Two weeks ago, the World Bank reported that OVER A BILLION PEOPLE NOW LACK ACCESS TO SAFE FRESHWATER. Now, take a look at Lake Superior, count your blessings, feel the Revolution increasingly vibrating in the soil beneath your feet, get off your butt, and do something!


Get to the Friggin’ Point!

We are Duluth. We are the largest city on the largest freshwater lake in a world facing a water crisis. The battleground will soon be here. Either we turn this city’s administration Green right now, or this battle will be lost to those who equate Lake Superior’s waters with “Blue Gold”. There’s no stoppin’ the money man, unless you have your forces built up well ahead of time.

GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS: There are some phenomenal environmental groups in our quaint city, but given the sour stock market, the grants just aint flowing their direction. In other words, these groups NEED your involvement, now more than ever!

 Contact me. Let me know the kinds of things you’re interested in and what you like to do, and I’ll point you towards an organization that’s in desperate need of your help. 1-877-264-4440 or


Final Equation

a)      Fact: The majority of your body is made up of water (app. 70%).

b)      Fact: As a resident of the Lake Superior basin, the water flowing out of your faucet and into your glass (and into your body) is Lake Superior H20.

c)      Add ‘a’ and ‘b’ together and the result is ‘c’: In other words, if you are mostly water, and what you drink is Lake Superior, then it follows that you are literally a walking chunk of Gitchegumee. Seems like a darn good reason to get involved in preserving it.


Breaking News: This Just In
From Barb Olsen Browne: On Wednesday, September 18, at 9 a.m. in the City Council Chambers (3rd floor of City Hall), the Duluth Planning Commission will consider revisions to the Spirit Mountain Recreation Area Master Plan, involving the proposed Spirit Ridge Golf Course.

Though the federal LAWCON (Land and Water Conservation) issues at Spirit Mountain—as well as Native American sacred site issues—remain unsettled, the Planning Commission will consider and possibly even vote on these revisions. As a result, it’s important that we get out to this meeting, despite its citizen-unfriendly time of day, and speak about our concerns.


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