I hope your New Year will be a good one and that your New Year’s resolutions are good ones, too. Mine include posting here more regularly. If you are looking for a resolution that will help Lake Michigan, the dune, the creatures that live and visit there itself, here are three things you can do and links to stories/studies about them. The Lake will be better off and maybe you will be, too. Every little bit helps.
1. 1. Stop or limit using antibacterial soap, it is no more effective than soap and water according to the FDA.
Antibacterial soaps and other products can pass through the waste water systems and play havoc with the environment as certain microbes are killed, while others become more resistant. Many people are dying because they have diseases that antibiotics no longer work against. See the article at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130919154433.htm
2. 2. Stop or limit using personal care products (lotions, toothpaste, etc.) with micro beads. These also pass the waste stream and are the majority of the plastics being found in the Great Lakes. This micro plastic can confuse plankton eaters and cause the starvation of birds and fish. http://digitaljournal.com/article/361560 or http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/en/science
3. 3. Stop or limit using artificial sweeteners, such as diet soda unless your health depends upon it. Artificial sweeteners are making it through the waste water treatment systems into lakes and streams. They have yet to study the effects on the environment, but there are likely to be some. See the attached article and related paper.