Our story is about water – 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water – and the need to educate citizens and leaders about protecting the Great Lakes as a commons held in public trust now and for future generations. At FLOW (For Love of Water), we believe the enduring ideas of the commons and legal principles of the public trust can offer unifying adaptive solutions to address systemic basin-wide threats, increased water conflicts, diversions, and climate change impacts.
The Great Lakes belong to all of us. They are ours to defend.
The Great Lakes are often referred to as North America’s “crown jewels.” They are, without question, precious and valuable – but they are much more. The Great Lakes are globally unique; they are a magnificent natural resource endowment existing nowhere else on the earth.
- The Great Lakes contain 85 percent of all the fresh water in all the lakes, streams, rivers and wetlands in North America.
By ancient law, passed on from Roman times to the Magna Carta to the Northwest Ordinance, the Great Lakes are a “public trust” – waters and bottomlands held in trust for the benefit of public to use and enjoy.
With that trust comes a duty of stewardship, what the courts have called a “perpetual and solemn duty” to protect the Great Lakes for our use and enjoyment, our children’s, and that of future generations.
FLOW is dedicated to protecting and preserving the extraordinary and essential natural resource endowment and apply public trust principles to educate, advance policy, and provide solutions to the pressing water, energy and climate issues facing our region, nation and planet.