Boy on Lake Michigan beach
(Photo credit: Richard Hurd / Flickr)

As the climate warms, the Great Lakes are heating up.

“The Great Lakes are warming faster than the oceans. And Lake Superior, which is the largest, deepest Great Lake, … is one of the five fastest-warming lakes in the world,” says Democratic U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. “[That’s] incredibly alarming to me and to everyone paying attention to this.”

Stabenow says the rapid warming poses risks to her state’s economy and way of life.

It threatens fish such as walleye and trout, and it can lead to more harmful algal blooms.

“We have about a $22 billion tourism industry that is very much based on the lakes, on boating, on swimming, on fishing,” she says. “And in fact, one out of five jobs in Michigan is connected in some way to the water, so it’s very serious.”

And rising temperatures are not the only threat.

Storms are getting more intense, and causing more severe flooding and erosion in lakeshore communities.

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow: Farmers can help reduce global warming

“We have boat docks and things that are being destroyed because of the water levels,” Stabenow says.

So she says the climate crisis is already affecting Michigan. And to minimize the impacts, it’s important to invest in a cleaner, more energy-efficient future.

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Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Jobs & Economy, Policy & Politics