Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
August 24, 2014
Back when we bought our current house 15 years ago, I was feeling a bit guilty. In addition to the house, we acquired from the previous owners a John Deere tractor with a motorized trailer attachment for collecting leaves. And my folks got us a leaf blower and a chainsaw. All items very necessary for a wooded acre lot, and I don’t regret having them. It’s just that for someone who tries to be a good environmentalist, that’s an awful lot of internal combustion engines. (My friend and motorcycle enthusiast, Monty, tried to assuage my guilt by telling me the one with the most internal combustion engines wins. Or maybe he was making fun of me…. Yeah, that was more likely it.)
So now, the same week that I draw a cartoon pointing out that Global Warming and the resulting Climate Change is having a ill effect on our drinking water supply, Jane and I became the owner of our fourth automobile. Is there anything less green than four actively used automobiles? I suppose by Monty’s standards, I am winning but not without feeling somewhat a hypocrite.
But, feelings notwithstanding, the problem of Climate Change and algae blooms threatening water supplies is real. Earlier this month, an algae bloom in Lake Erie contaminated water supplies for Toledo, Ohio and some southeastern Michigan communities. Satellite photos showed vast areas of bright green against the darker blue normal water of the lake. A wind shift caused some of the toxic algae to be drawn into the water system. Generally warmer temperatures create better conditions for this thick soup of slimy green algae to grow. More intense storms cause fertilizers to wash off to the lake and feed the blooms. It’s a real issue, and my point is that there is no sense in denying it. But also I am among the many who should consider what we might want to do about it.