Do you ever wonder what the breaking point is? That point where you may have to call the game on account of rain? Put your hands in the air and say "I've done all I can?" For the United States, the issue of water is so obvious. It's about preservation and sustaining our resources. Full stop. The problem is that other interests come in and try to have some influence. The economic conditions in the Midwest, extraction technologies, and the buying habits of consumers seem to be all vying for more important. Their argument is not just which is more important (comparing apples to oranges), but they argue as if this has to be done. Think about it a second. Instead of dealing with the issues as they are, we pretend as if we can not only ignore those issues, but we can declare them less important than one company's bottom line.
We have been watching it with ANWR for years now, where the argument is framed this way: oil prices are high, so we should drill more. There is oil here and those mean environmentalists won't let us get it. We must stop them from driving our prices up with their foolish crusade to save polar bears. Only one company would get this contract, only a few new jobs would be created, only one or two year's worth of oil is introduced into the world economy, most of which won't appear for a decade. All of this greed and central impact (we would see a whopping $0 price break from this endeavor), with the environmental degredation, habitat destruction, and migratory path decimation are the cost and the people not only receive virtually no economic benefit, we have to pay for the ecological impact.
Great Lakes water is the same. Nestle, Pepsi, or Coke wanting to empty the lakes the way they are stripping aquafirs throughout the world is not only an unsustainable impact, but it is not about Midwesterners and Canadians being mean--its about standing up to what is important. Its about preserving 20% of the world's fresh water as we suck up the rest. There is a very real possibility that in the next few years one of the above companies will be able to raid the Great Lakes as if they had the right to do so. Unless we change are view--they will.
And when that day happens? Well, I've always wanted to spend time in northern Europe.