A column about history, culture, policy, and things in between.
I wrote of Lake Michigan last month and am only now getting back to the topic.
In my first blog (http://blogs.brookfieldnow.com/brookfieldbasics/archive/2007/10/18/the-coming-battle-over-miss-ken.aspx) I wrote of my feelings for "Missi-Ken". I acknowledge my lack of objectivity on the subject, for she is one of the great loves of my life. But the general issue of water is more clinical.
In America today we use and treat water as if it is an inexhaustible resource - it is not. The average Brookfielder uses more clean water in a day than millions use in a week; wasting water is almost a cultural hallmark of Americans. This will not continue without consequence.
A town in Tennessee recently ran out of water - literally. Their spigots simply ran dry, the result of extended drought and a water-wasting citizenry. Large portions of the southeast are grappling with the same combination of drought and water use.
As for public policy, has anyone noticed that amidst our politically driven jihad to ethanol-ize every drop of fuel we produce, that the production of this fuel requires four gallons of water for every one gallon of gasoline yielded? There have been few more misguided legislative efforts in recent years than the ethanol craze. It has spawned enormous inflation in our food prices, more expensive and less efficient fuel, greater overall consuption of fuel, and a big one that Madison did not consider - a new and significant strain on our already stressed Midwestern water tables.
And what is our political solution to all of this? A thirsty nation turns its predatory eyes to the Great Lakes and claims, "they belong to us". Well - the Great Lakes "belong" to America no more so than does the oil beneath the plains of West Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska. Water in general, and Lake Michigan in particular are ENORMOUS issues relative to the economic well being of this State and this region. It's time to become more conscious of this issue and its importance. And it is long past time to begin some reasonable, self-imposed measures relative to conservation.
Let's let our use of water reflect its value. The market will eventually force us to do that, but it would be nice if we could get there on our own, before it imposes more draconian measures.