March 29, 2014
Originally posted on The Dynamic Great Lakes Blog:
I wrote my non fiction book, The DynamicGreat Lakesto share some of the important information I have learned over the years, even before the first Earth Day. The book has a search inside feature on Amazon.com with key words, reading levels and now it is available for the Kindle reader. It is also available at Barnes & Noble and many other bookstores.
Above all, it is a book that encourages people to take care of the planet. It’s the only one we have.
March 24, 2014
The Dynamic Great Lakes is widely available on the www and in bookstores.
Many of us know very little about the five Great Lakes other than perhaps being able to name them. As Barbara Spring states in her introduction to her outstanding primer The Dynamic Great Lakes they are “a flowing river of seas left behind by Ice Age glaciers and are nearly twenty percent of the world’s supply of fresh surface water; the world’s greatest freshwater system.” The ecosystem of this great body of water is very complex and unfortunately due to pollution and the fallout of modern industry and agriculture they have gone through a gradual transformation.
One of the unique characteristics of this compact book is that it is written in a language devoid of esoteric explanations. The eight chapters of the book reflect the author’s teaching and journalistic aptitudes in knowing how to unravel the mystery of the Great Lakes and the many painful dangers it has faced and continues to face.
Each of the five Lakes is introduced with a brief synopsis of important elements distinguishing one from the other such as: elevation, length, breadth, average depth, maximum depth, volume, water area, retention time, population and outlet. From this point of departure the author deals with the various changes that have taken place as well as the various major issues affecting the Lakes. There is also brief descriptions of the various animal life found in each of the Lakes and how they have been affected by pollution and the appearance of harmful species, such as the Lamprey Eel.
However, we are also reminded throughout the reading of the book that “people power” can have an effect and if we band together and make our voices heard we could exert influence in reversing some of the harmful trends that have caused ecological disaster. For example we are apprised of the situation that occurred in relation to Lake Erie. In 1969 a tributary river of Lake Erie, the Cayahoga, caught on fire due to being heavily coated with oil and debris. As a result, the Federal Water Quality Administration launched a one and half billion dollar municipal sewage treatment program for the Erie Basin which included the five surrounding states: Michigan, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.
The conclusion of the book most appropriately reminds us that: “we are all challenged to use our knowledge, creativity and common sense to keep the Great Lakes great. Can you think of ways to think globally and act locally?” We are also warned “life on earth is only possible as long as our limited life support system works.”
March 7, 2014
Originally posted on THE WMEAC BLOG:
In a recent post here on The WMEAC Blog, we wrote about the presence of microplastic beads in the Great Lakes. These beads are attributed to personal hygiene products, as outlined in a groundbreaking study published in Marine Pollution Bulletin. Here at WMEAC, however, we were struck by an additional finding within research—coal fly ash.
The research team initially misidentified fly ash particles as microplastic, because of its similarly round shape. However, upon closer examination using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), the research team discovered that 20% of the particles found in their samples were, in fact, fly ash.
Fly ash is a product of coal combustion that the EPA describes as similar in texture to talcum powder. Millions of tons are produced each year, some of which is reused in applications such as concrete, cement, and…
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March 2, 2014
Originally posted on The Dynamic Great Lakes Blog:
The Great Lakes are famous for world class fishing, their shores are famous for their beaches and hiking trails. Right now, skiing is in, both downhill and cross country. Luge and ice skating outdoors is for the hardy.
With the change of seasons, sail boats, surf boards, sail boards, kite boards, boogie boards and power boats will enjoy the freshwater seas.
Read more about the Great Lakes in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes. It’s very portable so throw it in your travel bag.
February 28, 2014
Feed the Birds
Last night the temperature was below zero and it is still very cold today even with the sun shining. We give the birds suet and sunflower seeds so they can refuel in this astonishing weather. Michigan and many other states around the Great Lakes have record breaking cold. The
water flowing over Niagara Falls is frozen in place.
February 27, 2014
Rachel Carson is credited with starting the Environmental Movement. Her book Silent Spring showed how economic poisons such as DDT were destroying the ecosystems. I read this book when my children were very young. We lived across the street from the city park in Grand Haven, MI. The city fathers were trying to prevent the loss of elm trees from Dutch elm disease by bombarding the park with DDT. When the children went out to play, everything was coated with sticky DDT.
We saw robins trembling on the grass in their death throes. The poison quickly builds up in food chains and the worms they fed upon were laden with the poison. We live near Lake Michigan and so when it rained, the long lasting pesticide washed into the lake and built up in food chains. Food chains in water are long and poisons magnify. The fish became unhealthy to eat. Eagles that fed upon fish were not able to reproduce. Their eggs broke in the nest. Eagles, ospreys and peregrine falcons were disappearing.
“How can you read this book and not do something,” my husband said to me. He marched down to City Hall and asked the city council to stop the spraying. They thought he was not believable. For 20 years, the Ag Department at MSU had taught that DDT was the best and cheapest solution for both farmers and cities. But my husband, Norm Spring is persistent. He didn’t give up. He went to every city council meeting for three years He went back for three years with the same request. He quoted experts. The city brought Ag Department experts.
Finally the city stopped the wholesale spraying in Grand Haven, MI. People from Holland, MI came to him and asked how he managed to do this. Together they formed the Michigan Pesticides Council and met at MSU with both university professors, government officials and ordinary people like my husband and myself. Michigan was one of the first states to stop the widespread use of DDT and like pesticides. These were banned nationally in 1972.
Grassroots movements work. I wrote my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes inspired by Rachel Carson and by what we were able to accomplish. We see eagles on our lakeshore again. It took many years for DDT to purge out of the ecosystem, but today the raptors are nesting and flying. I’m thrilled.
<img class="size-full wp-image" id="-2551″ alt=”Image” src=”http://bjspring.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/dgl1.jpg?w=60″ />
Norm will be at the Gerald R. Ford Museum on April 10, 7.p.m. 2014 to be inducted into the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame. https://www.google.com/url?sa=D&oi=plus&q=https://maps.google.com/maps?expflags%3Denable_star_based_justifications:true%26ie%3DUTF8%26cid%3D12120839919167263999%26q%3DFord%2BMuseum%2BParking%26iwloc%3DA%26gl%3DUS%26hl%3Den-US
Four nuclear power plants on the Great Lakes rank among the nation’s worst for high level safety violations
February 22, 2014
Originally posted on All Things Great Lakes:
The report by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, revealed several problems with how the Nuclear Regulatory Commission enforces safety regulations at the nation’s aging fleet of nuclear power plants. The Associated Press, which broke the story, said the GAO study “showed that the number of safety violations at nuclear power plants varies dramatically from region to region, pointing to inconsistent enforcement in an industry now operating mostly beyond its original 40-year licenses. Read the entire AP story here.
Most alarming for those of us in the Great Lakes region was the GAO’s disclosure that four of…
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February 19, 2014
Maybe the Manitous
Eastward rolling water
pellucid dense and slow
Karo syrup gloss or
flowing molten glass.
One crystal grabs
one grain of sand and
the beach blooms
with frost flowers—
a stiff white collar grows
all along the sandy shore.
Icy winds blast.
Ice balls bob, wink, crash.
An eagle’s cry hangs
above a white horizon line—
when sweetwater seas
Late afternoon sun—
deep blue shadows on snow
manitous whisper to ice shelves
sibilant spirits speak —
murmur to structures below.
From Milwaukee to Muskegon
cold rollers flow, then splash through
ice volcanoes on the shore
troll caves and canon balls
shot from polar storms…
or maybe the manitous.
Excerpted from The Wilderness Within
Link above to today’s news about the Manitous