Written, Composed and Sung by Dora Peregrine, ESLLC 2018-2019
This is a song about my passion for the Great Lakes and water quality issues. I’m originally from Milwaukee, so it’s hard for me to not feel a connection to Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes basin. Growing up a block away from the lake, I was raised with an understanding of where my water comes from and how my actions directly impact the lake. Milwaukee faces a lot of water quality issues often stemming from runoff, the removal of natural ecosystems, and bad management of sewer waste. The lake ecosystems are strained by pollution, algal blooms, and invasive species. Recently in Milwaukee, efforts have been put forth to remove the channeling of the rivers, to simulate native ecosystems with methods such as bioswales and rain gardens, and to replace lead laterals to houses.
I had the fantastic opportunity to work for the Milwaukee Water Commons, a nonprofit group that focuses on educating Milwaukee residents about their relationship to Lake Michigan and providing them with the knowledge and resources they need to become an active participant in the environmental community. It was my job to pull a model of the Milwaukee watershed behind my bike to various locations and events and give presentations on how people can help protect the watershed. Talking with diverse members of the Milwaukee area showed me how unfortunately inaccessible information about these issues can be to some communities. I met many members from especially the more western parts of Milwaukee, farther away from the lake and often more depressed communities, who had been exposed to little to no knowledge about the issues surrounding Lake Michigan and had few resources to make changes in these areas. They showed me many of the flaws in environmental politics and education and how far we still have to go in order to truly make a difference. While there are many great people doing extraordinary things to help the great lakes, there are still many steps that need to be taken in order to revitalize the beautiful area I describe in my song.