Great Lakes Water Controversy

United-States-Map-2Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker  is proposing that the City of Racine be allowed to divert 7 million gallons of Lake Michigan water everyday as part of the Foxconn deal in southeast Wisconsin. However, conservation groups oppose the plan, and argue that it not only undercuts the Great Lakes Compact of 2008, but also such a diversion for private industry use is unprecedented.  Source: SSTi

This is another example of the growing struggle to jointly manage shared natural resources.   Many cities, both in the USA and Canada rest on the shores of the Great Lakes.  Who dictates that cities uses of their shoreline and access to the water.   In the past law suits have come around pollution claims of an up stream user contaminating the water for those down stream and many of those suits have held up in court with large reparations to the offending party.   While most cities try to regulate water usage for the greater good it becomes more concerning when private industry wants large scale access to those shared resources for their personal profit.   Complicating the matter even more is that multiple nations share natural resources like access to fresh water sources and the seas.

This rising crisis of global sustainability is bringing many of the Grand Challenges to the forefront of national agendas.   The world will need to create a new dialogue and ability to regulate and manage a court of appeals on a global level.   Ownership of shared natural resources will also be contested, as will, the issues of unsymmetrical distribution of many resources.   Today we have some internal bodies like the United Nations,   ICJ/HAG, and  G20 to name a few.   These can serve as models to learn from while exploring a more globally inclusive model to represent all nations.

I encourage everyone to follow and share stories about Natural Resource controversies,  appeals, and deals that will begin to set the precedents for the decades to come.   We all need to be alert to the lobbying forces of private interest over the greater good.

 

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