Commons Water Artist Profile: Melanie Ariens

Melanie Ariens is an environmental advocate and volunteer community coordinator with diverse interests, skills and a willingness to learn just about anything to achieve a set goal. She received her degree in painting, drawing and printmaking from UWM in 1992 and worked there as the print shop assistant. She was formerly represented by La Galleria Del Conte (now closed) and participated in many group and juried shows. 

Detroit Water Shutoffs Must End

Detroit’s emergency manager filed for bankruptcy in July 2013 to force creditors to negotiate a bankruptcy plan that would slash the city’s unwieldy debt. Last month, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit approved a plan that would over time give Detroit a chance to survive. Missing from the plan, however, is any mention of the disturbance and threat to the rights to water and health of Detroit’s poor caused by the abrupt shut off of their water service.

Cook County, Illinois Joins Call to Stop Proposed Nuclear Waste Dump

On October 8, 2014 the Cook County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution opposing the construction of a nuclear waste repository on Lake Huron as proposed by Ontario Power Generation. This is a refreshing recognition of how water decisions in other parts of the Lakes affect us all.

Slash phosphorus flowing into Lake Erie, Great Lakes Commission says & Toxic algae near Toledo: a wake-up call

Boats going through an algae bloom on Lake Erie near Toledo, Ohio. The Great Lakes Commission wants to slash the amount of phosphorus flowing into Lake Erie, the source of toxic algae outbreaks and the reason the city of Toledo lost its drinking water for two days this past summer.

"We Are Water" celebrates Milwaukee's big drink

Most Milwaukeeans value living in close proximity to a large body of water, but what are we willing to do to celebrate it? Improve it? Protect it? The year-old Milwaukee Water Commons is a project committed to fostering connection, collaboration and leadership on behalf of the bodies of water in our community.

Grassroot Effort Grows to Create Milwaukee Water Commons

The idea is to get the entire community involved in Milwaukee's freshwater future. Alexa Bradley started the conversation almost three years ago. Bradley is a long time activist - and Milwaukee native, - who helped “incubate” the “Commons” idea in Minneapolis. Bradley went on to help create the Great Lakes Commons, that is taking shape in places like Toronto and Cleveland and especially in Milwaukee.

Great Lakes Research Conference Includes the Commons

In late May, a team of Great Lakes commoners presented at the International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) conference in Hamilton, Ontario. Our session was entitled: Exploring the Idea of the Great Lakes as 'Commons', an unusual topic at a conference largely focused on scientific inquiry. And although our session started at 8:10am, we filled the room to standing room only capacity with about 60 curious and concerned environmental scientists.

Water is a Human Right: Detroit Residents Seek U.N. Intervention as City Shuts Off Taps to Thousands

Activists in Detroit have appealed to the United Nations over the city’s move to shut off the water of thousands of residents. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department says half of its 323,000 accounts are delinquent and has begun turning off the taps of those who do not pay bills that total above $150 or that are 60 days late.

Great Lakes Commons Charter sets new high bar for water governance

'Imagine the Great Lakes as shared waters cared for and protected by the entire region’s community. That’s the vision of a group called the Great Lakes Commons. Members are people from Indigenous Nations, Canada and the U.S. The organization is officially introducing its charter at a virtual meeting of nearly 100 people on Thursday.

53 Million Gallons Of Nuclear Waste May Soon Be Stored Right Next To The Great Lakes

It is astonishing that such a proposal - nuclear waste storage on Lake Huron - even stands a chance. In whose reality does nuclear waste belong near drinking water for millions of people? The kind of thinking that generated such an idea reflects not only a profound disconnection from our waters but also from all those who depend on them for life today and in generations to come. A commons approach would mean that we take responsibility for the impact of our actions into the future and prioritize sustaining life. So glad to see that people are standing up to stave off this insanity.

Can public trust doctrine address toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie?

On May 13, 2014, join Dr. Don Scavia (University of Michigan), Dave Dempsey (International Joint Commission), Codi Yeager-Kozacek (Circle of Blue Correspondent), and Jim Olson (Founder, FLOW) for an interactive webinar discussion on nutrient pollution and resulting harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the Great Lakes, and how the public and the states together can utilize the public trust doctrine framework as an added decision-making tool to address HABs in Lake Erie and beyond.