That One Corner!

By Pooja Mishra

 

slr5                                                  Source : gananoque.com

Finally, I got a chance to explore The Thousand Islands this Canada Day. The place is magical and is one of the best spots to appreciate Canada’s natural beauty. The moment you reach there you get the feeling that you are living in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Splendid, exciting, relaxing are some of the words that describe this place.

The moment we reached there, the beauty of the Lawrence River blew me away. The view in front of our cottage was scenic; we got a beautiful view of the river and it was in the heart of The Thousand Islands. Every morning we could see and feel the pleasure of that place. We couldn’t stop ourselves from capturing every detail in our camera and we clicked many pictures.

Thousand Islands is located on the Upper St Lawrence River near Kingston, Ontario and has over 1800 islands. The St. Lawrence River is one of the largest rivers in the world, which links great lakes into the Atlantic Ocean; Great Lakes hold 20% of fresh drinking water. The river holds a unique position as it straddles the border of the US and Canada and provide fresh drinking water to local towns of both the sides. It is a most loved place of nature lovers.

IMG_1049

One evening I was soaking in the beauty of the place. I could see that many ducks were floating around, which made me walk closer to the river. But as soon as I headed towards the water; my eyes got stuck on one corner of the river. The water which had me mesmerized a few minutes back suddenly made me feel gross. One whole corner of the water by a ferry way, was full of waste material which was polluting the water. There were a couple of ducks that were stuck in the waste, trying frantically to get out of the mess.

Where St. Lawrence River is a great source of drinking water, it also faces many other pollution related problems as well, as it is the only way for ships to enter the Great Lakes and these ships brings along many problems. All other countless stress such as development, transport, over harvesting and pollution are also a threat to rivers and lakes.

All our demands for food, goods, material, energy put so much pressure on our planet. We are so busy in fulfilling our own needs and demands that sometime knowingly or may be unknowingly we do things which harm our nature and spoil its beauty and charm. And water is the heart of all these problems. We think its not our responsibility to clean everything; there are appointed officials for those jobs and they are doing their jobs. There are many organizations like Save the River and Water Aid Canada that have been working to save and protect the rivers and lakes. But they aren’t the sole custodians of preserving the nature. If we want our loved ones to have a healthy life, we need to share the responsibilities; we cannot leave everything to others. We need to do whatever we can do to protect and save our home for the future generation.

Everything in my trip was completely amazing. Our cottage, parks, everything was clean and well maintained but that one corner stuck somewhere in my mind. We all love clean and tidy places and keep our home the same way, but sometime we forget about our surroundings, which also need to be clean and pollution free.

There are many small steps that each one of us can take at home and outside and by making them a part of our daily routine we can make our planet a healthy place to live.

  • Always recycle the waste material; never dump wastes into a storm drain. Storm sewers go directly to rivers and lakes
  • Reduce uses of pesticide and fertilizers; If you live near lake or river, plant a buffer strip of plants along the water
  • Maintain the healthy ecosystem by planting in or around your home; make sure when you water your plant the water doesn’t go on the street or sidewalks
  • Don’t pour chemicals down the sink or toilet
  • Reduce air pollution by using less gasoline into the water. So when you buy a boat motor, choose a 4-cycle, rather than 2-cycle, engine. You will cause less pollution
  • In the winter, use less salt on your sidewalks and driveway. Chloride from road salt is building up in lakes and aquifers that receive runoff from highways
  • If you fish, consider putting away your lead sinkers and jigs and switching to non-toxic tackle. Loons, trumpeter swans and some other waterfowl are susceptible to contracting lead poisoning from tackle they pick up off lake bottoms
  • Don’t use the lake as a bathtub. Soaps and shampoos contain nutrients and pollutants that are harmful to the lake and organisms living in it; even when you wash your car park it on the grass instead of on the street or driveway

 

 

 

 

World Water Day!

By Pooja Mishra

Source: news.Ik

Source: news.Ik

Can you imagine waking up in the morning without a single drop of water flowing from the taps of your home? Horrible right! We can’t even imagine few hours of our life without access to clean water. But do you know in spite of tremendous progress in science and technology; over 600 million people around the globe still don’t have access to clean water and adequate sanitation. Millions of people spend hours collecting fresh water every day. We never realize that how challenging it is for all those people who don’t have access to safe and clean water.

On 22nd March every year we celebrate the World Water Day, which was started in 1993. Since then it has been celebrated every year around the globe. Its mission is to get everyone access to safer water. It is a day to learn, make efforts and save water.

Water is a vital for sustenance of life. There are many areas where people are suffering from many water-related diseases including Diarrhea, Malaria and Pneumonia. Newborns are getting infected because of the hygiene problems and lack of safe water. The total amount of clean water has been declining rapidly.

Source:

Source: ibtimes.co.uk

Access to safe water is a first and foremost need/right of every human being. We always talk about drinking lots of water keeps you safe and healthy but what if the same water makes you sick. It is a disturbing fact that 82 percent of people who live in rural areas don’t have access to clean water. More than 840,000 people die every year from water related diseases caused by polluted drinking water, hygiene and sanitation.

Water is a precious thing that many of us take for granted. It is high time to take action for all those people who don’t have access to clean water, and the places where water needs are still a paramount. We should come forward together to find a solution.

On this day we all should take a pledge to learn more about water related issues, take required action and make a difference. By improving the access to clean and safe water, we can improve the lives of many people.

Our Water, Our Land

by Hannah Gartner

At the beginning of the month President Obama rejected the proposal for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have run crude oil from the Canadian Tar Sands in Alberta to the gulf coast refineries outside of Houston, TX. Over the past few years this pipeline has become a pet project for environmentalist and conservatives alike. One of the reasons that environmentalists have been so adamantly against the Keystone pipeline was its planned path through the Ogallala Aquifer.

The Ogallala Aquifer is a 174,000-square-mile reservoir which lies beneath the states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas, South Dakota, and Wyoming. It supplies water to millions of people, and irrigates the fields of farmers in this region. Lying beneath the earth, it is easy to forget that it is there, yet it is so important that it was able to play a role in halting the creation of Keystone XL.

There are many ways in which one can know the world around them. With more than half of the world’s population living in cities, most see it as a man-made, concrete jungle. It is more common for someone to know every player in the world series than where their water comes from. The danger than becomes that things like endless tap water are taken for granted, always expected and not preserved.WWF

The United States Great Plains; Source: World Wildlife Fund

The Ogallala Aquifer is just one of hundreds that lie beneath the surface of North America. The map below shows the vast extent of land carrying these underground pools in the United States alone. Aquifers are formed when rock is porous enough to let water flow through. The layer of rock and water that is formed is called the water table. Depending on the type of rock, that water will run faster or slower. This also dictates how quickly the water in an aquifer can replenish itself. Through clay this can take a very long time, while a sandstone water table may refill much quicker. This is incredibly important to think about when using an aquifer as a water source.

aquifers in the US

Aquifers in the United States; Source: USGS

It would be amazing if we were able to say that the Ogallala Aquifer is safe now that Keystone XL has been vetoed, but this is not the truth. Since the 1940’s Midwest farmers have used this water source to grow vast amounts of corn, cotton, wheat, and cattle. The  current estimate is that 30 percent of the water in this aquifer is already depleted, and it is projected that this percentage will only rise over the coming years. As of yet that farmers and citizens who utilize the Ogallala Aquifer are not taking action to stem this problem.

Even if you live very far away from this particular aquifer, there is a lesson to be learned here. The Earth is plentiful, but it is not endless. It is important to understand the land and water systems were you do live though. This may mean looking beyond the surface to what is hidden underground. Take the time to do your research, become an informed citizen, and try to find the ways to interact with your land in the most appropriate ways.

 

Technology Fostering Water Sanitation

By Marcelo Kawanami

Technology has already proven its importance in the daily life of millions of people and it is becoming an essential component to leverage social development programs. In June, I had the opportunity to go to Cisco Live event and talk with Keri Kugler, Senior Manager of Monitor and Evaluation at Water for People.

Water for People is a nonprofit international organization with the goal to provide access to clean water and adequate sanitation to all people. Currently, the organization is in nine countries around the world: Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Peru, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, and India.waterforpeople_cisco

Through its Corporate Social Responsibility, Cisco, one of the largest Americanmultinational technology companies in the world, has partnered with Water for People to support the organization in the development of a mobile application named FLOW. FLOW, which stands for Field Level Operations Watch, is a mobile application that collects, manages, and analyzes data on the condition of water from remote locations. Cisco supported Water for People not only with funding but also by offering expertise in areas such as program monitoring and technology implementation.

The private-NGO relationship between Cisco and Water for People is a benchmark that should be followed by other companies, especially in the technology space. Many NGOs lack specific knowledge such as technology, or even strategy to foster their initiatives. Thus, many of them rely on collaborations from the private sector to achieve their goals – a reality that dramatically changed over the last 10 years, when the relationship between NGOs and the private sector used to be combative rather than collaborative.

For more information on Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility: http://csr.cisco.com/

For more information on Water for People: http://www.waterforpeople.org/

Water Fact Sheet

By Marcelo Kawanami

Lately, major cities such as Sao Paulo in Brazil, and Los Angeles in the US have suffered from severe drought. As the problem increases worldwide, people are more concerned towards the water topic. Thus, we developed a simple infographic fact sheet with data that showcases how important water conservation is.

 

Ducks Unlimited Canada

By Marcelo Kawanami

Hi everyone! Well, this has been a super busy month and I’m sorry for the absence here in the blog. Just to start with, I would like to talk about the tree planting and wetland restoration initiative from the Green Party members at Gamiing Nature Centre. The 1st Bobcaygeon Scout also supported the work and the group removed invasive species and planted a variety of trees and shrub species.

Today I came across a video from Ducks Unlimited, which is one of the global leading organizations on wetlands and waterfowl conservation. Ducks Unlimited Canada recently posted a video talking about the wetlands in Alberta and the impact that it has on biodiversity, flood protection and water quality.

It is a very short video, but that it is worth watching to know more about the organization and the work that they do in North America. If you want to know more, I invite you all to visit their webpage: http://www.ducks.ca/

Earth Day Every day!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Yesterday, Gamiing hosted its annual Earth Day event where participants from all ages had the chance to learn about the importance of nature through interactive and fun games!
Earth Day official day is actually April 22. And do you know the origin of this date? On April 22, 1970, millions of people took to the streets for ’60s-style demonstrations and marches, calling attention to the perilous pollution of America’s land, air and water. Ten thousand flocked to the Washington Monument for a folk music concert featuring Pete Seeger and U.S. Sen. Edmund Muskie.

From this date, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 and it became a global event with over 1 billion participants from 192 countries. Earth Day events will be held throughout the week. You can check all events at the Earth Day Network site: http://www.earthday.org/greencities/events/

The United Nations World Water Development Report 2015

By Marcelo Kawanami

On March 20 2015, United Nation released its 2015 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR 2015), titled Water for a Sustainable World. The report brings a throughout analysis on the importance of the water as a vital resource for life. It also describes the challenges for accessible and clean water from three dimensions: poverty and social equity, economic development, and ecosystems.
I selected some key findings from the report that I believe were quite interesting (and concerning):

Picture1– Around the world, 748 million people lack access to an improved drinking water source, while billions more lack drinking water that is really safe. In 2012, 2.5 billion people did not have access to an improved sanitation facility.

– Groundwater supplies are diminishing, with an estimate 20% of the world’s aquifers being over-exploited (Gleeson et al., 2012), leading to serious consequences such as land subsidence and saltwater intrusion in coastal areas (USGS, 2013).

– Achieving more efficient water use is crucial considering that production and consumption of agricultural products alone account for over 70% of water withdrawals in many developing countries.

If you like to download the full report, please United Nation World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) homepage: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/water/wwap/wwdr/2015-water-for-a-sustainable-world/

I am Water

By Marcelo Kawanami

Last week, charity: water, a non-profit organization focused on the fund of water projects in developing nations, posted a powerful short video showcasing the importance of water and the impact that this essential natural resource has in the life of our planet.

One of my favorite statements of the video: “It takes a great wall to hold me back, but I can be held by a human hand”.

Great interview with Linda Skilton from Fleming College!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Hi everyone! This is our first post of 2015, and it could not be better! I had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Linda Skilton, PhD, Dean and Principal of Frost Campus at Fleming College. Gamiing Nature Centre and Fleming College’s School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences (SENRS) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to further develop and strengthen our relationship. Due to this reason, I wanted to know from Linda her opinion on the benefits of this partnership and also her point of view regarding environmental trends.

Gamiing: The School of Environmental & Natural Linda SkiltonResource Sciences (SENRS) atFleming College has a focus on active, outdoor, and hands-on learning. What are the main benefits that you believe that the partnership with Gamiing Nature Centre will bring to your students?

Linda: The students at the Frost Campus have been involved with many activities at Gamiing including course work in the Ecosystem Management program through the Credit for Product course, field placement in various programs and so on. The formalized partnership MOU that was signed in December 2014 will ensure our involvement with Gamiing in the future and lead to more activities for our staff and students.

Gamiing: According to a recent article from McKinsey, there is a chronic under-investment in leadership development within the fast growing social sector (which includes environmental organizations). What are the main attributes that you believe that the future leaders of these organizations need to have and that are being developed on SENRS students?

Fleming CollegeLinda: From the time that our students enter our programs at SENRS, we assist them in developing their leadership skills. These skills are developed through a number of courses and the applied activities that students participate in throughout their program of study. Many assignments include project/team work where the students are expected to demonstrate their leadership skills. Future leaders in the environmental sector need to be knowledgeable, critical thinkers, innovators and possess excellent communication skills. It is not only important to have the technical knowledge but it is critical that graduates can are able to communicate with those who may not have environmental knowledge. There are big environmental problems in need of big solutions and leaders who can contribute to the change necessary to address these problems. Colleges are investing in leadership development and our graduates are demonstrating these skills in a variety of careers in the environmental sector.

Gamiing: Partnerships with community stakeholders including the private sector, universities, and government are key to drive the growth of nonprofit organizations. In your point of view, how can we increase the engagement of community stakeholders and promote partnerships like the one between SENRS and Gamiing?

Linda: SENRS has over 100 partners including Kawartha Conservation, the Ontario Clean Water Agency, the City of Kawartha Lakes and Trent University. Our partners are both public and private sector, local, provincial, national and international. Partners bring opportunities for our faculty, staff and students to engage in applied activities and joint ventures that would not be possible to do on our own. Our partnerships are always growing and expanding with the goal of working collaboratively to achieve goals that contribute to positive change in our world. Increased engagement comes naturally when people rally around and are passionate about the things that matter. What matters to our staff, students and partners are clean air and water, social justice, food safety and security and the protection of our natural resources. Our shared goal is on the overall health and sustainability of our planet.