Access to water is one of the biggest challenges facing the planet today. We have to address the underlying causes, like climate change, overconsumption, waste and pollution. However, that alone won't overcome the problem -- not in time for millions of people in need of fresh water. Fortunately there's some incredible technology emerging to recycle or create new sources of water--dowsing rods for the 21st Century. eventy-one per cent of the world's surface is covered by water. But the vast majority of that is ocean--salt water we can neither drink nor use to irrigate our crops.
Home to 60 per cent of the world's lakes, we are a nation with water at its heart. But some thought leaders say Canadians are losing an awareness of, and passion for, our water resources. It's a connection we need to rekindle for our country to successfully tackle some serious threats to the treasure that is our water supply.
In many areas of Canada, like Ontario, the levels of potentially pathogenic microbes can flourish and overwhelm our water treatment system leading to boil water orders or worse, outbreaks. These moments are thankfully rare in part to the addition of a particular chemical, chlorine. For decades, chlorine has been used to keep drinking water safe and is standard practice in many parts of Canada and the world. But it's not a perfect system and faces many hurdles. The most important of these is ensuring water is safe over the tens to hundreds of kilometres of pipes from the facility to the tap.
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?