Get the best of Commons Magazine — FREE!


May 25, 2012

Waterkeeper Alliance Declares Great Lakes a Shared Commons

A new resolution passed by the international organization founded and chaired by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

As a sign of the growing momentum to declare and protect the Great Lakes a commons held in public trust, the Waterkeeper Alliance, a multinational water organization with a significant commitment to the Great Lakes recently issued the following resolution. The resolution was first introduced by John Nelson, Grand Traverse Baykeeper in Michigan, and promoted by by Mark Mattson, an environmental lawyer and head of Ontario Waterkeepers, at the annual Waterkeeper Alliance gathering. He has been a participant in the Council of Canadian’s Great Lakes Commons tour featuring Maude Barlow this spring. The resolution coming from such a long time champion of water protection, adds weight to the effort to gain political and legal recognition of the Great Lakes as a commons.

Resolution of the Board of Directors of the Waterkeeper Alliance – Water is a Public Trust Resource

Whereas, access to clean water is a fundamental right; and Whereas, water is a public trust resource; and
Whereas, the Great Lakes represent 20% of the world’s surface freshwater and 95% of the surface freshwater in the United States and is only 1% renewable; and Whereas, the Great Lakes Waterkeepers are dedicated stewards of a shared Great Lakes Commons.
Therefore, be it resolved by the board of the Waterkeeper Alliance that the Waterkeeper Alliance:
Supports the principle of water as a public trust resource; and
Supports and endorses the proposals for a Declaration from the International Joint Commission that the Great Lakes Boundary Waters are a Shared Commons and Public Trust.

Signed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr, Board President