THE BLOG

I'm Tired of Being a Closet Environmentalist

03/24/2014 12:42 EDT | Updated 05/24/2014 05:59 EDT

My concern lies in the following: since I was young I've seen Lake Huron, a place my family has called home for many generations, drop by about a metre and a half. My family is not Ouendat Nation from there. We are mixed blood Canadians of Mohawk and Irish and German and French descent. We are in love with that land. We want a healthy Lake Huron for our families and their families too.

I know a drop of a metre and a half doesn't sound like a big change for people who grew up on the ocean. People who grew up on the ocean see tides rise and fall far greater than a metre and a half. But in Lakes, a metre and a half drop means wetlands completely dry out. When wet lands dry out, biodiversity is affected -- adversely.

Wetlands are places where birds and small animals and fish and micro-species make their permanent and part time homes. When wet lands dry out, birds have no place to touch down as they fly through migratory paths. Also, the pH balance of the lake is affected when wetlands dry out. In Georgian Bay and Cognashene area, also known as Ouendat Bay in older maps no longer cited by new cottagers, wetlands have been drying out significantly over the past decade.

Cottagers feel the effect in their millionaire homes or upper-middle-class cottages, rez cottages and tiny shacks, working class summer spots, or weekend getaways. Everyone is feeling it, and nobody knows how to stop it. Small businesses feel the effect because their docks are perched in now dry bays that boats can't get in to, and species feel the effect because their migratory patterns are no longer possible, or they simply cease to exist.

I care about Georgian Bay, but also about ALL rivers and lakes in general, about our oceans, and about our local and global governments' misuse and continual abuse of freshwaters for the purpose of accelerated growth in the petrochemical industries and bottled water industry. I care about our waters. I want to be a part of the solution. I want to create media that makes people feel strong enough to do something about it, and I want to keep the conversation going through my art and through my relationship to people, water, and the environment.

March 22 was world water day. What does that even mean? I'm not a scientist; I'm not a biologist; I'm not a marine biologist; I'm not any kind of specialist in the area of how to solve this problem. I'm a songwriter, I'm an artist, a rapper and producer. I have strong feelings about strong subjects and I try to express them with strong convictions.

I'm tired of being ashamed of being an environmentalist. For the last 20 years, I see people glaze over in my family and my friends, and in my peer community, when I talk about important things. When people hear talk of the environment, they just phase out, eyes rolling as they engage rhetoric about how "global warming is not that bad," or they simply shrug and change the topic. And these are people with children. You would think they would have a vested interest in the future health of global waters.

Why is the conversation of global warming, and water rights, so "boring"? Why is it that so many people are still not interested in educating themselves, or challenging personal habits/assumptions about global warming? If you're a person who is still reading this rant, maybe you care about global warming. Perhaps you're even a specialist and are taking extreme measures in your home or business, locally or globally, towards being a part of the solution.

For me personally, I write songs and perform them. I create media, literature, songs and images that hopefully stimulate an emotional response in my listeners or viewers. I create art. This is both my job and my passion. #grateful

But I know as an artist that I travel using fossil fuels. I don't feel good about that. One of the small things that I've chosen to do over the last two years is to avoid purchasing or drinking bottled water. In airports, my second home, I drink from taps and fountains, almost exclusively. I accept the tsk-tsks from germaphobes who only drink water from plastic. I travel with a water bottle. I realize people look at me like "damn hippie" when I'm on airplanes, but it has started many conversations with strangers where I am able to articulate that Lake Huron -- and waters worldwide -- are being misused for industry and growth in a manner that is unsustainable and often unregulated. You never know when a conversation can change something fundamental for an individual, so I continue to address the topic of WATERS wherever I go in the world -- which is a lot of places.

Personally, I'd rather be perceived as a so-called "boring" environmentalist and communicate about the importance of water -- and our grandkids' futures -- than to try to fit in with the masses by using plastic, and purchased water, all day every day with no awareness of how much I'm using just to satiate my first world first. Call me earnest or overly serious, I don't care. This is serious business. Our children and their grandchildren rely on us. Now. Today.

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