Global Insights: Mongolia

By Marcelo Kawanami

Recently I hadthe chance to watch a Khövsgöl Nuur v1documentary regarding Mongolia. This far land located between China and Russia, the country has a strong influence from both countries but had the ability to develop a unique and rich culture. One of the things that called my attention the most was Khövsgöl Nuur. Known as the Blue Pearl of the Mongolia, Khövsgöl Nuur is an extraordinary lake that stretches 136km deep into the Siberian taiga. The lake and mountains that surround it form the basis for this popular national park, a major destination for both Mongolian and international tourists.

In surface area, this is the second-largest lake (2760 sq km) in Mongolia, surpassed in size only by Uvs Nuur, a shallow, salty lake in the western part of the country. But Khövsgöl Nuur (sometimes transliterated as Hövsgöl or Hovsgol) is Mongolia’s deepest lake (up to 262m) as well as the world’s 14th-largest source of fresh water – it contains between 1% and 2% of the world’s fresh water (that’s 380,700 billion litres!).

Khövsgöl Nuur v2Khuvsgul is one of seventeen ancient lakes in the world being more than 2 million years old, and the most pristine. The Lake area is a National Park bigger than Yellowstone and strictly protected as a transition zone between Central Asian Steppe and the Siberian Taiga. Despite Hovsgol’s protected status, illegal fishing is common and prohibitions against commercial fishing with gillnets are seldom enforced. The lake is traditionally considered sacred in a land suffering from arid conditions where most lakes are salty.

The Park is home to a variety of wildlife such as ibex, argali, elk, wolf, wolverine, musk deer, brown bear, Siberian moose, and sable.

Can oceans really solve our freshwater crisis?

By Marcelo Kawanami

This week CNN released an article and a video showcasing how oceans can solve our global freshwater problem. We have already discussed this topic here in the blog, when we talked about some of the ongoing projects taking place in the Middle East.

Nevertheless, it is crucial do also discuss the environmental impacts that these desalination projects have on the environment. According to the California Coastal Commission, a proposed seawater desalination plant in Huntington Beach could significantly harm parts of the Southern California ocean environment unless substantial changes are made in its design and operation.

The commission staff estimates that the project would annually suck in more than 80 million fish larvae, eggs and invertebrates along 100 miles of the Southern California coast, including a number of Marine Protected Areas.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Please click in the video below to watch it and read the article written by CNN.


Celebrating First Nations!

By Marcelo Kawanami, post suggested by Suzanne from Kawartha Lakes Mums

Curve Lake First Nation Pow Wow

National Aboriginal Awareness Month is recognized by the federal government every June
in an effort to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous peoples in Canada. During the month of June, Aboriginal history is brought to the forefront in Canada. It is a month for aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to reflect upon the history, sacrifices, contributions, culture and strength of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people. Thus, we could not forget to write a post regarding this special month that has just passed, once the First Nations have a direct link to the history of the Kawartha Lakes.

“Kawartha” is an Anglicization of the word “Ka-wa-tha” (from “Ka-wa-tae-gum-maug” or Gaa-waategamaag), a word coined in 1895 by aboriginal Martha Whetung of the Curve Lake First Nations. It was hoped that the word, which meant “land of reflections” in the Anishinaabe language, would provide a convenient and popular advertising label for the area, much as “Muskoka” had come to describe the area and lakes north of Gravenhurst. The word was subsequently changed by tourism promoters to Kawartha, with the meaning “bright waters and happy lands.”

According to the last report from Statistics Canada, 1.9% (1,385) of the population of Kawartha Lakes had an Aboriginal identity. Aboriginal Peoples of those, 47.7% (660) reported a First Nations identity Aboriginal Peoples only, 43.3% (600) reported a Métis identity only, and 5.4% (75) reported an Inuit identity only. An additional 35, or 2.5%, reported other Aboriginal identities.

Kawartha LakesIndigenous peoples are caretakers of Mother Earth and realize and respect her gifts of water, air and fire. First Nations peoples’ have a special relationship with the earth and all living things in it. This relationship is based on a profound spiritual connection to Mother Earth that guided indigenous peoples to practice reverence, humility and reciprocity. It is also based on the subsistence needs and values extending back thousands of years. We should all celebrate and recognize the importance First Nations every day of the year!

Water Country Profiles by Deloitte

By Marcelo Kawanami

Deloitte, a leading management and strategy consulting company, has recently released a report showcasing a summary of the water sector by country. The report brings highlights regarding the water industry structure, infrastructure, finance and regulation information.

Additionally, Deloitte discuss the main challenges regarding the water sector in each of the countries covered. The costly projects to export water from Manitoba and Quebec to the US is one of the topics discussed in the material.

To download the full report, please click in the image below.

Water country profiles - Deloitte

Curious Facts!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Today I was researching some interesting topics for the blog and I crossed many interesting facts and figures that I thought very interesting to post here! Did you know that:

  • Canada is home to approximately 60% of the world’s lakes?
  • Lake Karachay, Russia, is considered the most polluted lake in the world? It was used as a radioactive dumping ground for years.
  • the Caspian has characteristics common to both seas and lakes? It is often listed as the world’s largest lake, although it is not a freshwater lake.
  • Lake Titicaca in Peru is the highest navigable lake in the world? It is about 12,500 ft (3,810 m) above sea level. This lake is also South America’s second largest freshwater lake.Lakes
  • the lowest lake is the Dead Sea (it’s considered a lake but called a sea), which is in the Jordan Valley of Israel? The surface of the water is 1,340 ft (408 m) below sea level. Almost nothing can survive in it besides simple organisms like green algae.
  • Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes and it’s also the freshwater lake that covers the greatest surface area in the world?
  • Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest lake and is located in Siberia, Russia, north of the Mongolian border? It is 5,369 ft (1,637 m) deep – more than one mile straight down.

Nearly $1M Committed to Further Lake Winnipeg Clean-Up

By Marcelo Kawanami

Manitoba’s Lake Winnipeg has been given the dubious distinction of “Threatened Lake of the Year” by an international environmental organization.

According to the Germany-based Global Nature Fund, the health of Canada’s third largest freshwater lake and the world’s tenth largest lake was in jeopardy due to increasing pollution from agricultural run-off and sewage discharges.Lake Winnipeg

The wake-up call worked and clean-up initiatives started to take place. The federal government is funding 16 new projects to clean-up Lake Winnipeg. The nearly $1 million in funding announced Friday comes from the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund, part of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative.

These funds and projects are in addition to more than $5 million in funding for 59 previously announced community stewardship projects that are helping to restore the health of the lake.

For further information about The Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund, please check the following link:

Global Insights: Panama and its open-ocean fish farm

By Marcelo Kawanami

Most known for its canal, Panama is also the base for the largest open-ocean fish farm in the world. By using innovative, open ocean aquaculture technology, Open Blue has moved fish farming into the deep sea. The farms are carefully located, far from shore and sensitive ecosystems.

Two weeks ago, National Geographic posted a very interesting video about this open-ocean fish farm that you can check right here.

Environmental sustainability and social impact are top priorities to Brian O’Hanlon, President of Open Blue. “A big reason why we’re going so far offshore is to get out into an environment that is essentially like the desert of the sea away from highly senstitve ecosystems, away from corral reefs, away from mangroves and seagrass beds”, says O’Hanlon.

He also adds “One of the first reasons to move out offshore was environmental, but along with that came social impact. We’re using parts of the ocean that no one uses, so we don’t have that issue with fisherman, we don’t have navigational issues, we don’t have recreational conflict.”

Geoengineering: is this the right solution for climate change?

By Marcelo Kawanami

David Keith

Hello everyone! I know we have been absent from the blog lately, but things are quite busyat Gamiing Nature Centre with our workshops and programs. This Sunday (May 18th) we will host our famous Frog Call Identification Workshop! This is a great workshop for the entire family to enjoy the spring in our Centre and learn more about the native frogs and toads.


Today I would like to share with you a great interview sent by Mieke Schipper with David Keith regarding a controversial topic called geoengineering. Geoengineering is the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climatic system with the aim of reducing global warming.

GeoengineeringClimate engineering has two categories of technologies- carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management (SRM). Just as an example, SRM techniques aim to reflect a small proportion of the Sun’s energy back into space, counteracting the temperature rise caused by increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which absorb energy and raise temperatures.

This is a very polemic topic once the interference of engineering techniques in order to revert global warming can also negatively impact the environment. Below I selected some links for you guys to know more about this topic. Share your thoughts with us regarding geo-engineering!!! Do you think geoengineering is a possible solution to climate change?

Interview with David Keith:

Oxford GeoEngineering Programme:

Global Insights: Middle East

By Marcelo Kawanami

Picture 1

The lack of fresh water is an increasing global concern for many cities and villages. Thisconcern is aggravated in deserted areas such as the Middle East. Nevertheless, they are studying sustainable and smart ways to overcome the dryness of the area and use the local resources to build a magnificent oasis in the middle of the desert.

To discuss this topic, I would like to share some insights and pictures brought by Raquel Laé, a close friend and world traveler. Raquel is a content editor and web writer who is always searching for new adventures across the world.

1) Tell me about your recent experience in the Middle East.

It was an incredible experience. I was very impressed with their urban development and how they manage their resources in order to maintain and improve the landscape of the city. Walking through cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai, I realized how critical water is to these thriving countries. One of the local projects that deserves attention is the seawater desalination. With the UAE’s growing economy and rising population, it is crucial that they identify a sustainable desalination solution to meet their long-term water needs.

Picture 22) Could you share some insights regarding this project?

They are partnering with global research centers and universities in order to find renewable and energy-efficient solutions for their desalination process. Just for you to have an idea, the Gulf region represents 50% of the world’s desalinated water. They have already started to run some pilot plants with renewable sources with the aim of building a full-scale plant by 2020. It is undeniable though that they still have a lot of work to do once the desalination process requires huge amounts of energy and leaves behind hazardous waste.

3) What are the main challenges that they still need to overcome in order to achieve a sustainable development system?

From my point of view, the main challenge is to change the mindset of locals that are very accustomed with the abundance of this precious resource despite the lack of the same in the region. When you drive through Dubai, the lack of a water control is outright on the gigantic shopping malls that boast not only the requisite air conditioning, but also waterfalls, ice rinks, fountains, and event an indoor ski hill and an aquarium.

I would like to thank Raquel for providing these amazing pictures and this insightful interview. For more information on her world trips, check her blog:

Events & Workshops!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Ow the spring! It has finally arrived. And with that Gamiing is ready for a full season of events and workshops. Next Saturday, we are hosting our annual Easter EcoEgg Hunt. We have prepared tons of activities for the entire family, including forest Bingo and Hunting with Your Senses!

Gamiing Nature Centre property - great infrastructure and natural space for fun and education

The admission for this event is by donations which will support our Eco Guardian programs. Apart from our annual events, Gamiing has also prepared a calendar of workshops for the spring. Some of our already famous and well known workshops are in the agenda such as the Wild Edibles and the Tree Identification.

The workshops are a great opportunity to visit Gamiing`s space and also increase your knowledge on relevant topics regarding our fauna and flora. Additionally, it is a moment to relax, interact and learn!

Please check our workshop calendar in the following link:

Special thanks: I also would like wish Katie Clapham all the best on her new endeavor! Thank you!!!