From the Council of Canadians website, May 21, 2012
“Great Lakes Need Great Friends” tour now underway
The Great Lakes of North America form the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world, holding more than 20 per cent of the world’s surface freshwater and 95 per cent of North America’s. They provide life and livelihood to more than 40 million people and are the economic centre at the heart of the continent. Yet the Great Lakes of North America are in serious trouble. Multipoint pollution, climate change, over-extraction, invasive species, and wetland loss are all taking their toll on the watershed.
With a patchwork of limited government protection that is hampered by inadequate funding and differing political priorities, the Lakes urgently need people to join together to forge a new future for them, one that will ensure the Lakes will thrive for generations to come. To help forge links and build relationships in communities surrounding the Great Lakes’ waters, the Council of Canadians recently launched the “Great Lakes Need Great Friends” tour.
Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow, along with important guest speakers, will be on this eight-city speaking tour for the Great Lakes. The tour kicked off in Toronto on May 15, was in Hamilton on Wednesday, Thunder Bay yesterday, and continues to Kingston, Sarnia, Tiny Township, Owen Sound and London, Ontario
Visiting eight Canadian cities, and with allied groups, several U.S. cities the “Great Lakes Needs Great Friends” Tour will help:
•Foster connections along the Great Lakes by making the links between current fights against threats such as fracking, bottled water withdrawals, invasive species, and nuclear waste storage and shipments.
•Cultivate a Great Lakes stewardship by encouraging people to recognize they not only have a right, but a responsibility to protect the Great Lakes’ waters.
•Invite community involvement and encourage inspiring actions that will help shift the current market economy priorities that govern the Great Lakes to priorities based on commons and public trust principles.
Protecting the future of the Great Lakes is in all of our hands. When communities come together with passion and purpose, they can change political priorities and shape a better future for our shared water. We invite communities and organizations to join us in this exciting campaign to build a new Great Lakes commons vision that prioritizes people and the environment over industry and commodification, and builds a healthy vibrant future for our shared water.
Born and raised on the shore of Georgian Bay, nothing I can say or do to help raise awareness of this important natural resource could ever do justice to the hours of recreation, the gallons of clean water my family and I have enjoyed, the millions of people who depend on the largest fresh-water resource on the planet, nor the work of the Council of Canadians to protect this life-giving supply of fresh water.
It is not only the wind-swept pine trees, seemingly growing out of the cracks in the granite on the pancake islands, painted against a Georgian Bay sunset that brings people joy and hope and renewed life; it is also the fact that people depend on this body of water to stay alive.
And, our continual contamination, literally without regard for its "finite" quality, demonstrates both our indifference and our insensitivity to its fragility. Our relationship with this beautiful, bountiful and yes, dangerous life force is so delicate, important and potentially irreversible, should we ever come to the place where we have destroyed it for future generations.