Latest Articles

Statement on Flint and Sebring Lead-Water Crises

As we all likely know by now, two cities in our backyards – Flint, Michigan and Sebring, Ohio – are dealing with the aftermaths of lead contamination of their water systems. We have received a number of quests and requests from supporters and partners to give our thoughts on these tragic events. Unfortunately, I am … Continued

Water is life, but have you ever thought about what that really means?

  World Water Day 2015 is coming up this Sunday, March 22. This year, in advance of this September’s UN summit to create a set of Sustainable Development Goals, World Water Day will focus on the links between water and sustainable development. The axiom that “water is life” has become something of a cliche. But … Continued

Infographic: The water rich vs. the water poor

World Water Day 2015 is this weekend. This year’s event celebrates the vital role that water plays in fostering sustainable development. But it’s also important to remember that, just as levels of economic and social development are uneven worldwide, so too is access to safe drinking water and sanitation uneven. This inequality of water creates … Continued

Current Events: Great Lakes ice, pig poop & artificial glaciers

February may be the shortest month of the year, but it definitely doesn’t feel that way to those of us living in the eastern half of the United States. This month has brought record cold temperatures to much of this part of the country; last Friday, the thermometer dipped to -17ºF at Cleveland Hopkins Airport, … Continued

Road salt is costly & harms our environment. Here’s what can you do about it.

It’s been another wicked winter here in Cleveland. January’s average temperature was just 23°F, according to the National Weather Service, making the month 5.1°F colder than normal. February has been brutally cold, and we have already seen 7 days with sub-zero temperatures this year. The continued cold snaps have largely been accompanied by clipper systems … Continued

Is lax regulation enabling the energy industry to poison aquifers?

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has become one of the leading hot button issues of the past few years. Though fracking has been used to extract oil and natural gas in the United States for decades, it has dramatically picked up steam recently. The controversy and debate around the topic has evolved just as rapidly. Here … Continued

Got 3 minutes? Learn why rivers change their courses

Rivers. They’re pretty amazing things. They provide humans with water for drinking, irrigation, and sanitation. They give us fish and other aquatic animals for food. They can be harnessed to power grind our grain, run our looms, and even power our cities. Their seasonal floods can bring rich silt to our fields or destruction and … Continued

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Your driveway is making you sick: On the health risks of coal tar sealants

Coal constitutes a hellish cocktail of toxic substances, ranging from heavy metals like mercury and lead to known carcinogens like cadmium and arsenic. The utilization of coal for various purposes also creates a number of harmful byproducts. These include coal ash (also known as fly ash), which is left over after coal is combusted for … Continued

11 steps you can take today to fight harmful algal blooms

As we all know by now, at 2:00 on the morning of Saturday, August 2, officials in Toledo issued a do not drink advisory, depriving more than 400,000 people in the region of safe drinking water. Officials took action after tests revealed levels of microcystin, a dangerous liver toxin, reached 2.5 parts per billion (ppb), … Continued

If you care about water, you need to worry about energy production

Saturday was World Water Day 2014. This year’s theme centered on the water-energy nexus, a topic which has become increasingly important in recent years. According to the United Nations, energy production currently accounts for 15% of global water use, a number which is projected to grow to 20% within the next two decades. In the US, this … Continued

Africa’s Great Lakes were central to human evolution

If you’ve ever felt inexplicably drawn to Lake Erie or any of the other Great Lakes, you’re not alone. In fact, that attraction is hardwired in your genes. Last month, two UK researchers published an article titled “Early Human Speciation, Brain Expansion and Dispersal Influenced by African Climate Pulses” in the online, open-source journal PLOS One. … Continued

Court Case Helps Address Toxic Algae in Lake Erie and the Country

  The federal district court for the Eastern District of Louisiana issued a decision (PDF) on Friday, September 20 that could have wide-reaching implications for waterways all across the United States. The case, which pitted the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against a coalition of environmental groups, may change the way that surface runoff and … Continued

Tap Water and the Topics Missed by the Drink Up Campaign

Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama launched a new campaign to encourage Americans to drink more water. The campaign, “Drink Up,” is being advertised as “less a public health campaign than a campaign to encourage drinking water.” While the new effort to increase water consumption sounds like a good idea, it has come under considerable … Continued

Clean Water Builds Peace Across Cultures

In recent years, conflict over water has gained a substantial foothold, particularly within the media. A Google search for the term “water wars” returns 77.8 million results, including websites for prominent documentaries and books on the subject. This perception is hardly new, though. In 1995, former World Bank Vice President Ismail Serageldin told the New … Continued

Lake Erie Algae Can be Reduced by Going Phosphorus Free

For many, the Great Lakes are the pride and joy of our region. The lakes are key to our region’s access to freshwater and supports local industries such as tourism and fishing. Lake Erie has been in the news again this year because of the overgrowth of algae that threatens the lake’s ecosystem. Algae is … Continued

Runoff Promotes Pollution in Our Watersheds

Have you ever wondered why there is so much trash on the beaches and in our water? You may have participated in a beach clean-up or learned about the water cycle in school, but did you ever think about how the two are related? A watershed is the area of land that drains into a … Continued