How long can you go without water? You could probably survive a few weeks without water for cooking. If you stopped washing, the threat to your life might only come from people who can't stand the smell. But most people won't live for more than three days without water to drink. It makes sense: our bodies are about 65 per cent water. According to the United Nations, about 750 million people lack access to safe water -- that's one in nine!
Twenty-two years ago, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 22 to be World Water Day. In a world is facing a severe and growing water crisis without a roadmap, this day is more important than ever. Our collective abuse of water has caused the planet to enter "a new geologic age" -- a "planetary transformation" akin to the retreat of the glaciers more than 11,000 years ago. This is according to 500 renowned scientists brought together in Bonn at the invitation of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on May 2013.
This Sunday is World Water Day. We're pretty lucky in Canada -- we don't really have to think about fresh water. When we need it, we turn on the tap and it's there. In summer we can jump into it and run through it. In winter we can glide over it or build it into sculptures. There are many amazing Canadians who refuse to take this gift for granted.
Someone recently asked me how I would invest a million dollars to help conserve Lake Erie. When I really thought about it, the answer became clear: if I had a million dollars to spend on Lake Erie, I'd hire a public relations firm to remake our collective perceptions and rebrand the world's 11th largest lake.
As the year winds down, we often find ourselves spending more time toasting to the holidays or rushing around buying perfect gifts and less time at the gym or getting a good night's rest. If you're one of the millions of people across the country preparing to board a flight this week, here are a few ways to avoid getting sick or stressed out while travelling.
While Winnipeg residents enjoy clean water, the people of Shoal Lake 40 suffer from substandard water. It's an abrogation of the basic right of all Canadians to have access to clean, safe drinking water. The fact that such deplorable conditions persist in places like Shoal Lake, and in hundreds of other First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities across Canada, is a national shame and must be resolved immediately.
Ray has managed to turn her passion for travel into a pretty cool gig -- she's the global brand ambassador for Insight Vacations, which has numerous high-end properties in India and elsewhere -- and that's not by accident. Born and raised in Toronto, she has wanted to explore the world for as long as she can remember.
The idea of a right to a healthy environment is getting traction at Canada's highest political levels. Federal Opposition MP Linda Duncan recently introduced "An Act to Establish a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights" in Parliament. If it's passed, our federal government will have a legal duty to protect Canadians' right to live in a healthy environment.
Here in Canada, it's a luxury to not think about water. Most of us watch it come out of the tap and go down the drain without considering its source or destination. But many people in the world don't have taps or drains. In fact over 1.2-billion people experience critical water shortages. They think about water every day.
This is a wake up call for Canadians to realize that our water supply is not infinite, that there are people right here in Canada who lack access to it, and that what little we do have is going towards digging holes in the ground or exporting meat to France. It's a wake up call for Canadians to ask ourselves are we willing to give up one of the basic necessities of life to make a quick buck?
When a tailings pond broke at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine in south-central B.C., spilling millions of cubic metres of waste into a salmon-bearing stream, B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett called it an "extremely rare" occurrence, the first in 40 years for mines operating here. He failed to mention the 46 "dangerous or unusual occurrences" that B.C's chief inspector of mines reported at tailings ponds in the province between 2000 and 2012, as well as breaches at non-operating mine sites.
We are, above all else, biological beings, with an absolute need for clean air from the moment of birth to the last death rattle. We are about 60 per cent water by weight, so we need clean water to be healthy. We eat plants and animals for our nourishment, so whatever they're exposed to ends up in our bodies. We need clean soil to give us clean food. These are basic, biological facts and should be the prism through which any decision is made at individual, corporate or government levels. Protection of air, water, soil and the web of life should be the highest social, political and economic priority.
On July 28, 2010, after years of pressure from many countries, the United Nations General Assembly declared access to clean water for drinking and sanitation to be a universal human right. But many places in the world struggle to guarantee this human right. Access to water is no longer just a third world problem.
Georgian Bay Forever maintains that we need climate-resilient structures strategically placed to control the water levels throughout the basin. Such structures will mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Premier Wynne and her reelected government can act to prioritize research into engineering measures to mitigate declining water levels, which will only get worse with climate change.
Low water levels will persist into the foreseeable future and this will mean significant environmental and economic costs for the region. Seasonal variations are natural and healthy. But when the starting point has moved to an all-time low, a one-time increase is not cause for celebration, especially when forecasts still leave the lakes well below average in Michigan-Huron.