This past July Philip Enquist of SOM spoke to the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota as a part of TEDxTalks Mill City series. His focus was to raise awareness and also challenge the Great Lake and St. Lawrence watershed residents to “imagine there are no borders”. This video hits close to home, as I grew up in the Great Lakes watershed region. His lecture is informative and revealing of the responsibility there is to utilize and protect this great resource of the United States.
At the end of the video you find yourself wondering why haven’t we already created a plan for the Great Lakes region. Possibly the size of this region or the international boarder running through it has failed to put it on many people’s radar screens. Either way Enquist lays out an achievable ten point plan (overview after the break) to focus on where this 100 year vision could be a global example of human balance with nature, beyond two nations.
Following Enquist’s lecture the mayors of the Great Lake and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative voted to approve a regional sustainability program.
Here is a final thought from Peter Annin in The Great Lakes Water Wars, “The Great Lakes regional economy is a $2 trillion juggernaut. If the region were a country, it would have the third largest economy in the world; only the United States and Japanese economies are larger.”
Ten Points as follows:
1. Green Cities and Great Lakes – the cities located directly on the Great Lakes replace old energy with renewable energy, and have smarter infrastructure systems
2. Bigger than a National Park – Canada and United State collaborate their watershed area into a Great Lakes Park
3. Great Minds and Great Lakes – unify all academic institutions around Great Lake and St. Lawrence region to enter into global class rooms, sharing ideas, and raising awareness on how to live in balance
4. Blue is the New Green – drinkable and swimmable water that can support all habitats and have high water quality
5 Tapping Renewable Energy – neither the United State nor Canada have a comprehensive energy plan, however together they could create a Great Lakes energy plan
6 Achieving Mobility – link major metropolitan regions together, create regional bicycle lanes, connecting states and nations
7 Leaders in Climate Change Policy and Technology – become leaders in climate change policy and technology
8 Commitment to Locally Grown Food – emphasis of growing locally, for example an average tomato travels between 1,200 and 2,000miles (from farm to kitchen), with local growing this could be reduced to 100 miles
9 Rediscover the Lakes – enjoy our lakes and increase tourism industry
10 Many Peoples one Water – uniquely united by a flowing boarder, celebrate history and cultural diversity