I walked along the Lake Michigan shoreline this weekend. My neighborhood beach is gone, and the water is already lapping up over the rocks onto the walking path and grassy shore.
In part due to climate change, Great Lakes water levels are experiencing extremes – mostly much higher, and sometimes lower. Amidst one crisis, worsened by the Trump Administration’s refusal to listen to science, we may soon be facing another. Lakefront erosion and flooding are already causing destruction along Chicago’s south and north side lakefront communities, in northwest Indiana, and in western Michigan shoreline communities. Increased Great Lakes shoreline flooding (and more Mississippi River flooding, too) will greatly impact people’s lives and communities. Our government needs to step up preparedness actions, soon.
Some might say that now isn’t the right time to point out the impacts of Great Lakes water levels rising, as our hospitals are strained and our neighbors in peril from COVID-19. But, we do need to find ways to walk and chew gum at the same time. If anything, the fact that we’re enacting such drastic measures to combat one crisis should strengthen our resolve to fight another. We’re all in this together and can alleviate more harm if we prepare now.
The science is clear; take a look at ELPC’s state-of-the-science Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on the Great Lakes, and Recommended Policy Solutions. If you click on the map above, you will see how ELPC is already expanding our work on shoring up the Great Lakes in light of climate change realities.
The federal government is preparing a massive stimulus package to fight COVID-19 and the havoc that it continues to wreak on our nation’s health and economy. ELPC is working to ensure clean transportation and clean energy actions are included, while fighting back and playing to win against the Trump Administration’s continued misguided attempted rollbacks of clean air and safe clean water standards. We must protect public health on all fronts, and ELPC will continue to be a watchdog for the Midwest.