Great Lakes Awareness Day 2023: On Great Lakes Awareness Day, which takes place on the Monday of the first full week of May, these five gorgeous lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario are honoured. This year, it occurs on May 1. This event is an opportunity for the United States to recognise these (mostly) bordering vast interconnected freshwater lakes. In addition to water conservation, lake preservation, and other contemporary topics, aquariums, colleges, and even museums have participated in celebrations on this day.
The annual observance began as a protest against the construction of the extremely hazardous Line 5 pipeline that traverses Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Since 2018, this day has been dedicated to raising awareness about the severe threats to the Great Lakes’ freshwater ecosystem.
HISTORY OF GREAT LAKES AWARENESS DAY
The majority of people believe that Lake Erie reached its current state approximately 10,000 years ago, Lake Ontario approximately 7,000 years ago, and Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior approximately 3,000 years ago. However, lakes are ubiquitous, so these five should not have garnered special attention. The primary reason (at least initially) for the Great Lakes’ rise to prominence was their capacity to provide extremely convenient transport routes into the centre of the American continent.
Then, people began to recognise that the forests and fertile lands surrounding these lakes were ideal for agriculture, logging, and other uses. The abundant deposits of natural minerals found on the shores of these lakes, including iron, salt, copper, vast coal mines, limestone, and more, were the ideal complement. These resources, in addition to the abundance of water, made these lakes very attractive for development, and the shorelines were soon lined with enormous industries and metropolitan areas.
Obviously, the excessive human population and activity around the lakes had to have repercussions, which were not recognised until the early 1900s. A large number of beaches were forced to close in 1950 due to pollution and hazardous conditions. The fauna in the regions surrounding the lakes began to display symptoms of exposure to toxic substances. These incidents, along with river contamination and the extinction of certain aquatic species, served as a wake-up call for the authorities. In the 1970s, the governments of both the United States and Canada began collaborating on pollution management in these lakes, which traverse both countries.
In 1972, these two nations signed the ‘Great Lakes Water Quality Act’ to protect and preserve the Great Lakes. Since then, numerous government and private conservation initiatives have improved the water quality of the Great Lakes, resulting in an improvement in water quality. After many years, some fish populations have even begun to repopulate these waters. Since its inception in 2014, Great Lakes Awareness Day has successfully raised awareness. On this day, students are urged to discover solutions to pollution issues, and their projects are highlighted.
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Great Lakes Awareness Day honours one of nature’s most magnificent feats:
The largest collection of freshwater entities on the planet, located in North America. The collective term for Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Erie is the Great Lakes. The lakes collectively make up the largest collection of freshwater bodies on Earth, spanning 750 miles from east to west. Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, and Pennsylvania. It provides more than 80 percent of the continent’s water needs.
The significance of the Great Lakes to the people of North America cannot be overstated. Great Lakes Awareness Day raises vital concerns and demands accountability from those in charge of safeguarding these majestic water bodies.
The holiday is a campaign to raise awareness of the threats facing the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes are threatened by an alarming number of issues, including pollution, climate change, carbon dioxide emissions, and invasive pipelines. With more than 140 programmes, the federal government has attempted to restore balance, but these efforts are insufficient. As the United States and Canada share the five lakes, both governments must collaborate to combat the threats to the largest freshwater ecosystem on the planet.
It also explains how climate change will affect our habitat and way of life, beginning with the water bodies on Earth. Changes in the quantity and shape of algae, the most important component of the aquatic food web, indicate that the Great Lakes are already experiencing the effects of climate change.
HOW TO OBSERVE GREAT LAKES AWARENESS DAY
Make plans to visit the Great Lakes.
Choose one and spend the day by the water. Make it a group excursion and include water-related activities. More than 6,000 ships have been consumed by the Great Lakes, resulting in an average of approximately 30,000 deaths. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum maintains a database of sunken ships, recovered artefacts, and other data. Visiting the museum is a reminder of the Great Lakes’ fury.
Examine local events
Find local organisations that are hosting special events on this date. If possible, attend either virtually or in person.
Participate in conservation efforts.
There may be multiple problems facing the Great Lakes. Learn about them and determine if you can be of assistance. Organise an event, attend a protest, and show your support for the movement to save the Great Lakes from imminent peril by registering your participation. Spend the day learning about the lakes’ origins and obtaining a record of the extant conservation efforts geared towards their preservation.
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Five FABULOUS FACTS ABOUT THE GREAT LAKES OF NORTH AMERICA
The only one on American soil
Unlike the other Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is located wholly within the United States.
Lake Superior is very deep
It is so deep that only the Empire State Building’s antennae would be visible above the water’s surface.
One of them contains a marine creature.
Lake Erie allegedly contains a sea monster-like creature named Bessie.
The lake names are unique
They are all named after Native American tribes that once inhabited the shores, or have French names: Lake Erie for the Erie Tribe, Lake Huron for the Huron tribe, and Lake Michigan for the French form of an Ojibwa word, michigami.
The world’s greatest freshwater system
The five Great Lakes, spanning 94,600 square miles, provide more than 20% of the world’s potable water.
WHY GREAT LAKES AWARENESS DAY IS IMPORTANT
It is the world’s greatest freshwater system.
In addition to being a significant source of pure water, they provide water to more than 40 million people. They offer shelter to over 4,000 species of fauna. There are countless ways in which the Great Lakes benefit humanity. Not only is it the largest collection of freshwater bodies on Earth, but it also supports the largest and most diverse ecosystem of freshwater flora and fauna, which provides food for millions of people. It is our solemn duty to protect and preserve the Great Lakes for future generations, and on the first Monday of every May, we protest against hazardous oil pipelines and other environmental intrusions.
They have encountered numerous problems.
The Great Lakes have been beset by pollution, the introduction of invasive species, and other problems for decades. This day raises awareness of these issues and, with any luck, increases efforts to address them. Activists and environmentalists have referred to the ageing Line 5 pipeline as “a ticking time bomb” that could explode at any moment, causing catastrophic and irreversible harm to the Great Lakes. The annual observance raises awareness about this cause as well as numerous other projects that threaten our ecosystem gravely.
Water conservation is more crucial than ever before.
In this era of severe climate change and global warming, every conservation effort and related activity protects our planet a little bit more. It is essential to conserve natural resources such as the Great Lakes. The conservation efforts of the Great Lakes must involve all of the lakes’ beneficiaries. As the world’s largest freshwater system, it is our responsibility to venerate, protect, and preserve the Great Lakes’ fragile ecosystem.
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