On the South Shore of Lake Michigan stunning natural beauty collides with heavy industry like nowhere else in the country. Shifting Sands: On the Path to Sustainability explores how the Indiana Dunes region, where rare plants grow in the shadow of smokestacks, may offer a blueprint to a sustainable future.
ON THE PATH TO SUSTAINABILITY
The diverse ecosystems of the Indiana Dunes are considered to be the birthplace of ecological science in North America, yet this same location offered a perfect site for North America’s industrial giants. US Steel, Standard Oil, and Bethlehem Steel all erected sprawling facilities in the region. While these factories meant jobs and the growth of communities, they also wiped out a tremendous amount of globally rare habitat. This juxtaposition of a priceless natural setting and massive heavy industry would set the stage for some of the most influential environmental battles of the 20th century. The clash over the Indiana Dunes would lead to the creation of public policy with worldwide impact, and it would give the United States its first urban National Park.
Today, the advocacy from that fight has transformed into a new model of cooperation.
Industrialists and environmentalist, once bitter adversaries, are now working together to steer this community toward sustainability. The south shore of Lake Michigan is a microcosm of the struggle we face on a global scale to maintain our way of life without destroying the natural basis on which we all depend.