Monday, April 15, 2024

Vote for the Lake Erie Bill of Rights on Tuesday, February 26

Now’s your chance to say something about the 700 million gallons of effluent spoiling our Lake

Okay, the reckoning for the beginning of saving Lake Erie is upon us. This has happened before. Remember the 1970s when the Cuyahoga River caught fire? It’s now time to address Lake Erie’s catastrophe with the same sense of urgency afforded to Cleveland’s once-fiery river.

Almost unbelievably, or perhaps predictably, the Toledo Chamber of Commerce is against the measure to address the dumping of untreated animal manure into Lake Erie. As well, a certain member of the Toledo City Council with a self-avowed “activist background” (*cough* Nick Komives *cough*) was quoted in The New York Times on Monday, February 18th, doddering that while the Lake Erie Bill of Rights referendum “….is a powerful tactic,” he won’t vote for it because it is “…probably unconstitutional,” (something that the courts would decide)

Legislators should legislate. That is what City Council is for. But when they fail to do that, as they continually have on the Lake Erie issue, the lead paint issue, the downtown jail issue and other issues of vital importance to our citizenry, then the voters must act.

The Lake Erie Bill of Rights is an attempt by a citizen-focused group, an initiative by taxpaying citizens and community members, to do something by asking fundamental questions about our world— does nature have the same right to exist that we afford humanity and corporations? Should ecosystems be protected the same way that people are? Should people, or corporations, be held accountable for hurting nature the same way they are held accountable for hurting our fellow man?

Throughout history, we have never accomplished anything by doing nothing. Instead, we must do something in order for anything good to happen. Rest assured, it does not always turn out that what is done is the perfect solution. However, doing nothing amounts to acquiescing to our Lake being polluted by hundreds of millions of gallons of literal feces. Doing nothing will only assure that the green scourge will continue each summer while each of us waits until we can no longer turn on our taps and tubs in our own homes. Doing nothing is not the solution.

We applaud the initiative and the efforts of its passionate supporters who believe that ecosystems like Lake Erie “possess independent rights to survive and be healthy,” according to the initiative. Toledo, it is time to step up and do something. No one, or no entity, has presented a better alternative. It is always easier to shoot down attempts at improvement than it is to make an effort at positive change.

One business owner we know has said that, “ideas in our office are worth $10; the implementation of ideas are worth $1,000.” This exemplifies what is going on in our community – a lot of talk about theoretically good ideas and no one with the gall enough to implement them.

Let’s each work together and cast a vote to see if we can make something positive happen. Legislation is one way to make the will of the people heard and simultaneously reign in a free market that cares nothing for the well being of the community it insists on polluting. Factory farms are polluting Lake Erie and their corporate interests want nothing more than for citizens to remain silent.

Now we need something, at this point a law, to ensure that the health and continued vibrancy of our Lake is maintained.

The time is now. Get out and vote for the Lake Erie Bill of Rights.


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