News and views, and history and humor, about the lake I love.

"I can hear my granddad's stories of the storms out on Lake Erie, where vessels and cargos and fortunes, and sailors' lives were lost." ~ James Taylor, Millworker

Monday, December 5, 2011

Let's not leave the fate of Lake Erie to the politicians

NASA image
When I first saw the NASA satellite photo, I was reminded of all those creepy photos of the lungs of cigarette smokers. If this were an X-ray the doctor would be telling his patient, "I'm afraid we've got some decisions to make."

Indeed we do. Clearly the patient has been ill for a very long time, but like a cancer patient who doesn't want to hear bad news, sometimes the symptoms must first become painfully obvious before the patient -- or in this case the patient's caregivers -- seek treatment.

One very big symptom reared its ugly head this past summer in the form of a massive algae bloom that fanned out across much of the western half of the lake. Suddenly folks who depend on the lake for their livelihood were saying, "Whoa, where did this crap come from?" And then it was all over the news.

And there were less visible though just as ominous symptoms. The dead zones in the central part of the lake may be getting bigger. These are large areas of the lake that are devoid of oxygen, hence nothing can live there. Other serious problems include increased runoff due to bigger rainfalls that put more waste into the lake, and invasive species.

To quote a recent editorial at, something is going very wrong in Lake Erie.

So what do we do? Continuing with the medical analogy, we shouldn't just trust the doctors -- or the politicians -- to make everything better. Groups have been meeting and discussing options for controlling the algae bloom situation. On the invasive species front the EPA has proposed stricter rules for ship ballast water.

That's all well and good, but we as citizens have a roll to play, too, and one group has stepped forward to do just that. was formed "to raise public awareness, rally support and educate residents on how they can help save Lake Erie on a person level at home." I blogged about their site a while back and, due to the sparsity of content on their site, asked, rhetorically, whether it might be someone's idea of a joke. Well just the other day I received an email from Todd at who told me,
No, this is not our idea of a joke. A cursory analysis of all the websites for water, Great Lakes & Lake Erie groups were all dry, boring, dated and not exciting. With the current economic woes, people have bigger problems like saving their home let alone saving Lake Erie. It’s a huge challenge getting people to not only pay attention but care. We are a team of world class social media, viral marketing and branding professionals who are taking a different approach to get people’s attention and raise awareness. Most of all to educate and let people know there ARE things they can do to help, on a personal level and at home. We have more videos up and more on the way.
Thanks, Todd. You guys have got some great content up now including some fun videos and, most important, a practical list of 10 things you can do to save Lake Erie. Great stuff. I encourage everyone to check out their website, fan them on Facebook and spread the word about those ten things.

We can't leave it to the politicians to save our lake.

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