The Late, Great Lakes: An Environmental History

William Ashworth, Author Alfred A. Knopf $24.95 (274p) ISBN 978-0-394-55151-7
The Great Lakes have always had an economy based on resource extraction, notes Ashworth, author of Nor Any Drop to Drink. First it was furs, followed by lumbering, minerals and heavy industry. Since the beginning of settlement the lakes have been polluted by sewage, garbage and runoff wastes; more recently, ship traffic and canals have played havoc with native fish and shoreline stability. Two geographic features compound pollution problems: the lakes' vast size and poor development of the region's drainage system. As Ashworth explores the North Coast, our longest shoreline, he lucidly explains its fragility in terms of its geologic youth and traces the coast's history from early exploration to modern times. He discusses microcontamination from dumps, beach erosion, superships, acid rain, puts forth a proposal for diverting lake water to the Great Plains. Ashworth makes a powerful statement that should be required reading for anyone interested in the environment. (May 15)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1986
Release date: 04/01/1986
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-8143-1887-4
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