When I think of home I think of the Great Lakes. The west coast sunsets over the endless fresh water are truly unlike anything else to me. They signal home. It is the place where I find refuge. They inspire me. When I leave, I ache to be back and to hear the lapping on the shoreline. I get so excited every day to wake up and watch as the sun rises over the water. There is never the same sunrise or sunset. The Great Lakes (in particular Lake Michigan) is very precious to me and even more precious to the community we love and live in. This year, big decisions are happening for these bodies of water. Decisions that have my typically politically quiet self no longer able to hold my mouth shut. There is so much we can yell about these days and feel the need to fight for, but these last few months I have had to make a decision to choose a few things that I feel I can truly make a difference in, and we have made the decision that as a blog, as a business, and as citizens we have to stand up to protect this crystal clear, pure, and fresh water that is so rare and unique on the planet.
If there is anything we have learned watching the world over the last few years it is that there is no yelling that will change anyone’s mind, instead, we have to put our actions and money where our mouth is. This is why this year and every year moving forward, The Fresh Exchange will be giving 5% of every sponsored post to protecting, preserving, and bettering the Great Lakes. We hope to do more than that throughout the year, but this is what we know we can promise. This year we will be giving to FLOW: For The Love of Water, a local (Traverse City) based organization working both to protect the public trust of our Great Lakes and most importantly shutting down a 63-year-old oil pipeline (Enbridge’s Line 5) that not only threatens our Great Lakes but many rivers and watersheds it comes in contact with.
Everything that inspires this space is because of the land around us and how the seasons shift. If we were to lose the beauty and peace of our Great Lakes, the inspiration that drives TFE would disappear. The water is a vital part not only to our blog and our life, but to our community and our state as well as every state in the Great Lakes region and that is just the beginning. The water is why we can grow such an abundance of food and enjoy fields full of cherry orchards, grapes, apples, and more. These bodies of water provide the climate that allows us the seasons we love and far more. The Great Lakes affect our world significantly as the largest body of fresh water in the world and anything that threatens us threatens us all. This water is precious to our world and environment as it is crystal clear and clean enough to literally drink straight out of the lake as is and I don’t know many places in the world you can say that about water. This quickly could end with the potential of a massive oil spill threatening daily now as Line 5 ages and still continues to push more than 23 million gallons of oil through the pipe every day at the base of the lake. The body of water is also at risk as massive budget cuts have been made to our Coast Guard that help maintain and keep our water safe. Also, the budget cuts would eliminate the maintenance and care for the shorelines we love. This means that as citizens we feel that our Great Lakes need us more than ever before and we must give as much as we can to protect this precious place.
Our hope with our action of giving 5% of our sponsored content is that though we feel it still isn’t as much as we wish we could do, that it will inspire you our readers to also take action in big or small ways. Whether it is spreading the word, signing petitions, or even giving a small donation we want to inspire you to protect this precious place that can very easily be taken for granted. If you don’t feel passionate about this subject, we hope in the very least that our actions will inspire you to get involved somewhere you do believe in.
If you want to know more about the Great Lakes and Line 5 I highly suggest watching this documentary that Patagonia helped fund about how the pipeline would affect the region.
I realize we don’t talk politics here, but this is a heavy thing on our hearts these days. My greatest fear is to lose this precious body of water that affects so many in our country. It would be devastating, to say the least, and the reach of it would go far past just Michigan, Indiana, Canada, Minnesota, and more. A spill or depletion of these waters would stretch through the United States and beyond. There are many things to get up and arms about these days, but this is where we feel we can make the greatest impact. I hope you join us and support us in this decision. I also hope it inspires you to take action toward things you believe in, knowing that is the best way to invoke change.
May we always find a way to strongly and confidently protect the things we love.