M22 is teaming with Traverse City-based FLOW (For Love of Water) as title sponsor for this year’s M22 Challenge, a nationally recognized annual run-bike-paddle event that takes place June 10. It’s considered “the most beautiful race in America” because of its site, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
The partnership makes sense because FLOW is all about protecting the jewels known as the Great Lakes, a commitment shared by M22. FLOW’s founder, legendary environmental attorney Jim Olson, commended M22 for its emphasis on the positive connection between a sustainable environment and sustainable business success.
“M22 is a leader in practicing principles that are consistent with a healthy environment,” he said.
Founded in 2011, FLOW, a nonprofit organization, works to protect the Great Lakes through use of public trust principles and an underpinning of strong science and technical analysis. Dating back to the Roman Empire, the public trust is a doctrine of common law holding that certain natural resources, including waters like the Great Lakes and their lakebeds, belong to the public and that government has an affirmative duty to protect them.
Photo: Joe Potter
“Public trust,” Olson says, “provides citizens surrounding the Great Lakes a legal right to defend these common waters and their protected uses from harm for current and future generations.”
FLOW Executive Director Liz Kirkwood says the combination of climate change, petroleum pipelines crossing the Straits of Mackinac, private extraction and sale of Great Lakes Basin water, legacy chemicals, harmful algae blooms, government funding cutbacks, and the threat of Asian carp put the Lakes at risk. “The advantage of the public trust doctrine is that it provides a potential systemic answer to all of these threats,” she said.
FLOW has built key partnerships with state and regional Great Lakes groups, leveraged its expertise to influence agencies and impact state and federal legislation, and grown to be a trusted source of current information on issues affecting our freshwater seas.
Holding approximately 20% of the world’s surface freshwater, the Lakes have over 10,000 miles of shoreline in the U.S. and Canada, border eight states and Ontario, and provide drinking water for 40 milllion people.
M22 believes caring for the planet should not be in conflict with making a profit. Because we all benefit from a healthy environment, sustainability makes economic sense and should be at the forefront of every business, big or small.