image opf canoeists and kayakers from cover of “Great Lakes Champions”In his new book, “Great Lakes Champions,” John Hartig tells stories of 14 activists working to clean up polluted watersheds.

Book tells stories of heroes leading fight for environment

The Great Lakes have suffered greatly from human use and abuse since the advent of the fur trade in the late 1600s.

Logging destroys or degrades habitats, urbanization and industrialization pour human and industrial wastes into the water, fertilizers flowing off farm fields feed algae that suffocate other creatures, and ships bring in exotic species that decimate the lakes’ biodiversity.

But progress is being made, and at the helm are local champions, people with a profound love of the region who lead by example and build broad, diverse coalitions to realize a common vision.

In his new book, Great Lakes Champions: Grassroots Efforts to Clean Up Polluted Watersheds, John Hartig tells the stories of 14 activists promoting aquatic ecosystem restoration from Green Bay to the St. Lawrence River.

Dr. Hartig, a visiting scholar at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, hopes the book will encourage others to get involved in working to repair damage done to the lakes, which contain one-fifth of the standing freshwater on earth.

“The stories of 14 of these champions are told here to inspire necessary action to care for the place they call home, so it may be a home to many living creatures for ages yet to come,” he says.

The book is available as a paperback or in electronic formats. Learn more on the website of the publisher, Michigan State University Press.