The Great Lakes region has always been defined by water. Early manufacturing settled along the lake shore because water was essential for production and transportation. Cities like Cleveland and Detroit became economic hubs. But as industry declined, the same shoreline was dotted with economically depressed cities and the region was left with immense environmental degradation from years of lake misuse.
The lakes share a common history, and presumably a common future. In the next decade it’s estimated more than half of the world’s population could face water scarcity, leading author Peter Anin to announce that we are leaving the century of oil and entering the century of water. The Great Lakes holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water and is sure to play an important role.
It’s essential to start thinking about this resource regionally; a challenge when you consider the Great Lakes straddles a national border and includes more than 15,000 governmental entities. Collaborating with regional partners, WBEZ fulfilled the important role of facilitating the regional conversation. How does water impact our environment and our economy? How does water influence our daily lives? What’s the future of the Great Lakes?
Above is an hour long special we ran on-air, highlighting pieces from the water series.