Friday, October 07, 2011

Today’s homework boys and girls is to read a report about the state of the Great Lakes—all 44 pages.

 

Instead of reading a report about a report, today’s assignment is to read the actual report. Please don’t read a political report about the report or tune into your favorite pundit so that he or she can sneer about the report on how the Great Lakes is shutting down.

Instead of using your favorite search engine to find out what you should think about the largest fresh water system in the world crashing, we are asking you to use the stuff you learned from going to school, stuff your science teachers taught you about science and the way our environment works, stuff your English teachers taught you about reading and meaning, and stuff all your teachers taught you about respect for our environment and how we need it to survive.

Don’t tune into the loony talk shows or wait for your social network to tell you to focus on this. They probably won’t.

Just for once, let’s for tomorrow’s assignment focus on reading the report itself and use our own intelligence, our education, and our sense of our environment health to make sense of what it means to have something as immensely important as the Great Lakes to be in trouble. Read the executive summary, Feast and Famine in the Great Lakes - National Wildlife Federation, then read the report:

FEAST and FAMINE in the Great Lakes | How Nutrients and Invasive Species Interact to Overwhelm the Coasts and Starve Offshore Waters | "Despite this progress towards healthier Great Lakes, ecological problems remain that threaten to stall or even reverse this progress. Major threats to the lakes were highlighted in a 2005 report which noted that stresses such as invasive species, hydrologic alterations, land use changes, and nutrient loadings could interact to cause “ecosystem breakdown” in the Great Lakes, whereby resiliency is overcome and the ecosystem is pushed into a new state.15 Among the most severe of these problems are nutrients — with too much in some places, and too little in others. Excessive nutrients sicken the Great Lakes in nearshore areas by causing toxic algal blooms in shallow areas and oxygen-poor “dead zones” on lake bottoms. This serious problem, which first appeared in the mid-1900s, has returned with a vengeance. " National Wildlife Federation

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