The truth is, extreme weather events that cause flooding, prolonged drought and contaminated water sources are becoming far more frequent. In 2016, global temperatures reached a record high for the third year in a row, and reports of extreme weather events continued to come in from around the world.
Tyler and Alex Mifflin spent summers in the water. Childhood memories of canoe trips and pristine waves contrast heavily with something they heard from adults time and again: "Don't swim in Lake Ontario. It's too polluted." That warning was the first drop in the bucket that's become a shared life goal. March 22 is World Water Day and we need the conversation to extend beyond the environment. So we spoke with the Mifflin brothers about the importance of water and how ordinary people can take action every day in unexpected ways.
Most Canadians have never been to the North, much less the remote Peel watershed, but many are enchanted by it, nourished even by the idea that we still have vast, unspoiled natural areas where wildlife and biodiversity continue to evade the touch of humankind. Places like the Peel are becoming increasingly rare as humans -- the most demanding species ever to live -- continue to erode the intact wilderness on which we depend for clean air, water and food.
Water on First Nations reserves is a federal responsibility, but "severe underfunding" (in the government's own words) for water treatment plants, infrastructure, operations, maintenance and training has led to this deplorable situation. Canada has no federal standards or binding regulations governing First Nations' drinking water.
We have not been good stewards of our planet's wetlands. Although they cover only about six per cent of the Earth's surface, wetlands are one of the most impacted habitats. The global loss of wetlands is staggering. Since 1900, more than 64 per cent of the world's wetlands have been lost, with about 50 per cent of this loss occurring since 1970.
An estimated 5.5 million people, including two million children, have been cut off from running water for over three weeks in Damascus and its surroundings, the longest cut Syria's capital has seen. Intense fighting damaged the water infrastructure for the two main drinking water sources for Damascus.
The longer we delay addressing environmental problems, the more difficult it will be to resolve them. Although we've known about climate change and its potential impacts for a long time, and we're seeing those impacts worsen daily, our political representatives are still approving and promoting fossil fuel infrastructure as if we had all the time in the world to slow global warming.
Go on and boycott Nestlé. Here's a handy guide to all their products. But realize that despite Nestlé being a bad corporate citizen and the world's biggest bottler of water, boycotting them will not solve the problem. The issue isn't just bottled water, it's that we allow companies to drain our water table for what amounts to free. It's time to disrupt the entire beverage market's business model, which is to extract an ingredient for basically free and sell it for an absurd amount. We need to charge them a rate for that extraction that serves the public interest.
Safe drinking water and decent toilets should be basic essentials in every school, everywhere. Unfortunately, it's not the case for millions of children in the world. Take the 500 students at St. John Bosco Gayaza Primary School in Uganda for example. The water source they rely on is an open pool located about one kilometre from their school.
As of this summer, there are 158 boil-water advisories in place for 114 First Nation communities and while that may seem startling enough, it does not reveal the full extent of water problems facing First Nations communities. There are reservations that lack basic housing let alone running water, which leaves people relying on overpriced bottled water, cisterns and water brought in on trucks and well water which causes illnesses such as gastrointestinal disorders due to contamination.
If you've ever tried to "over-haul" your life in one giant leap it's often very difficult to maintain, if not impossible. There will always be some occasion, family emergency, or important work function that will interrupt your new healthy way of living. But healthy living is just that -- living your life in a healthy way.
Ezra Levant is angry with the NO delivered to Energy East from the 82 mayors of Montreal's Urban Community to TransCanada Pipelines last January, and is accusing Mayor Coderre of favouring "Shariah" petroleum by saying NO to the "ethical" petroleum of Canada. But there is an important major flaw in Mr. Levant's argument.