Lecture Title: “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes”
Dan Egan Author, The Death and Life of the Great Lakes
For thousands of years the pristine Great Lakes were separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the roaring Niagara Falls and from the Mississippi River basin by a “sub-continental divide.” Beginning in the late 1800s, these barriers were circumvented to attract freighters from the Atlantic and to allow Chicago’s sewage to float out to the Mississippi. These were engineering marvels in their time―and the changes in Chicago arrested a deadly cycle of waterborne illnesses―but they have had horrendous unforeseen consequences.
In an age when dire problems like the Flint water crisis or the California drought bring ever more attention to the indispensability of safe, clean, easily available water, Dan Egan’s The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is a powerful paean to what is arguably our most precious resource, an urgent examination of what threatens it and a convincing call to arms about the relatively simple things we need to do to protect it.
Egan is a reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a senior water policy fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Sciences. He has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and he has won the Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award, John B. Oakes Award, AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award, and J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. A graduate of the Columbia Journalism School, he lives in Milwaukee with his wife and children.
(Note: This biography was up-to-date as of the date of the lecture. Biographies are not updated over time.)