Let’s responsibly manage the Great Lakes’ precious water economy

July 20, 2022




Getting ahead of climate change requires generating solutions to global water issues, creating jobs and not taking the region’s abundance of fresh water for granted.

Earlier this month, when Cleveland joined large portions of the country with a heat index over 100 degrees, we were firmly reminded that climate change is here today. In northeast Ohio, we are seeing our average annual temperatures increase, coupled with high heat events occurring more often and earlier in the summer season. Heavy precipitation events are more frequent. And our winters are becoming shorter.

And then I am reminded of the world outside our regional bubble. The Western region of the United States is experiencing increasingly extreme heat, drought and more frequent forest fires. Powerful hurricane seasons are impacting the Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard along with saltwater encroachment affecting every low-lying coastal region in the world.

When it comes to climate, Cleveland has many advantages: We are positioned directly adjacent to the largest freshwater system in the world, it’s cooler by the lake, and the city sits at 653 feet above sea level. While the Great Lakes region is not immune to the effects of climate change, it is well-positioned to receive a population boost from those fleeing less climate-stable environments and support the businesses, jobs and innovations these climate migrants bring.

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