St. Francis praised God through pure, humble Sister Water. Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Guest Blogger Kae DonLevy, Milwaukee, WI, encourages a spirit of gratitude for this precious natural resource. A real Great Lakes advocate, Kae works as WI Clean Marina Program-Project Manager, WI Marina Association Project Manager, Gathering Waters Festival Director, River Pulse Project Program Administrator, Just Add Water Lesson Plan-Co-Author and Coordinator and past WI Beach Sweep- and Clean up Co-ordinator.
We’re so lucky to live on the shores of two Great Lakes – Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Our big blue planet consists of 70% water, but less than one percent of this water is freshwater that is available for nearly 6.8 billion people – the majority is locked-up in glaciers. That’s not much freshwater, however, the Great Lakes consist of nearly 20% of the world’s surface freshwater. Wow, how lucky we are when even in our own nation, there are severe water storages that have already caused south westerners to knock on our door for our water. Even China!
Not only is water the most important resource for sustaining life, it’s also the foundation Wisconsin’s economy. Our $14 billion tourism industry can thank Wisconsin’s nearly 15,000 lakes and tens of thousands of miles of rivers and stream for the health of our economy which also means tens of thousands of jobs. See, protecting and enhancing our environment and water resources positively affects our bottom line and quality of life.
It feels like I’ve been on a crusade the last 15 years to let people know how lucky they really are and connect them to the resources. I’ve been fortunate to be supported by Wisconsin Coastal Management Program on many of these endeavors including: coordinating the WI Beach Sweep, a statewide beach clean-up since the mid-90s picking up and recoding hundreds of tons of trash by over 20,000 volunteers; the Just Add Water Program, that has enlightened over 6,000 Milwaukee-area teacher and students to our great water fortune; coordinating the largest freshwater festival most likely in the nation the last 3 years: the Gathering Waters Festival on Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee; helping to bring RiverPulse, an innovative art, technology and environmental education project to life in Milwaukee and working with many stakeholders and partners on the WI Marina Association and Wisconsin Clean Marina Program.
We should all feel the pride of the successes we’ve made since the 70’s improving water quality and lucky to live in a water wealthy region. It’s also up to us to fervently protect the resource and leave future generations with the wealth of resources we have enjoyed.
Note: We invite you to join us Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity for this year’s Lake Michigan Adopt-a-Beach part of the International Coastal Cleanup in Manitowoc, WI on September 17, 2011 at 9:30 a.m – 11:30 a.m. Click here for more details.