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'Opt Outside' This Black Friday

Advocates are urging people to let the country's leaders know how much they value clean water. (
Advocates are urging people to let the country's leaders know how much they value clean water. (
November 21, 2016

CHICAGO – There's a lot of uncertainty since the results of the presidential election became known, but instead of worrying about what might happen, an advocacy group for the Great Lakes says now is the time to make sure your local, state and national leaders know that clean drinking water needs to be a top priority.

Joel Brammeier, president and CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, says the makeup of the congressional delegation from the states that surround the lakes didn't change much on Nov. 8, and politicians on both sides of the aisle have shown interest in protecting the drinking water for more than 40 million people.

"Getting phone calls from people in the region talking about how important clean water in the Great Lakes are is probably the best thing somebody could do right now,” he states. “Members of Congress need to hear that this was a priority yesterday before the election and it's going to be a priority tomorrow and for the next four years."

Brammeier says it's important to take time to appreciate the beauty of the Great Lakes and adds that even though the weather is changing and there are fewer daylight hours, around two million people have signed up to participate in an "Opt Outside" event on Black Friday. That's when people are encouraged to visit their favorite shoreline rather than shopping.

Brammeier says there are a lot of unknowns about how the Trump administration will handle the environment, but he says his group will continue to educate leaders about how necessary protecting the Great Lakes is.

"The people share this universal value for clean water,” he stresses. “Everybody here gets it. Voters get it. They understand clean water needs to be protected, they understand that they benefit from it, and that if people don't have access to clean water, there's something really wrong."

Information about Black Friday's Opt Outside event can be found at GreatLakes.Org.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL