Posts Tagged ‘Water’

The Cove-

More then 20 000 dolphins and porpoises are slaughtered each year off the coast of Japan.
Take Part is a website that highlights issues of animal rights, environmental protection, poverty and social justice issues.

Visit this site and learn more about the movie The Cove which documents this heart breaking travesty that is occurring everyday under the noses of the people of Japan and the world.

Animals do not belong in captivity, No Whales In Captivity is another organisation that aims to educate people and liberate mammals that are used as circus performers the world over.

Surely in the 21st  century we can decide that animals are worthy of respect and deserve to live their lives in freedom.

Water World

When I was a kid growing up near the great lakes in Ontario, the topic of water conservation, water pollution, and acid rain where taught in school. A child of the seventies, and eighties by the time I was in school, the environmental era had taken hold in the mainstream. I can clearly remember the posters we made and hung in the school halls about all the issues surrounding water. Even then I was aware water was something of great value. I remember watching television and being horrified by the plight of people a world away in Africa dying because they didn’t have water. Live Aid, Band Aid and the likes were played on the radio and T.V, like an anthem to my generation. We are the world – We are the children -

Fast forward to my twenties; I made the pilgrimage from central Canada to the West Coast. I started spending time up at my father’s vacation property, miles away from any town, deep in the mountains surrounded by Ponderosa pines, wild streams, and rugged beauty. It was here I first learned the true value of water.


Years ago at my father’s property there was no well dug yet. We trucked in all the water we would consume ourselves. Lucky to have a stream at the very edge of his acreage, we would hike down to it for water to boil to wash dishes. This gave me some small insight into what it means to have water at the tap; the convenience I had taken for granted for twenty years was never more clear to me then.

If you have never been lucky enough to experience camping in the wild, it may be hard to comprehend my experience. Here in north America we have an abundance of water, in Canada particularly, with the most fresh water in the world, it can be hard for the average city dweller to relate to a lack of water.

Today there is World Water Day - World Ocean day, and World Rivers Day to remind us of the issues and very real threats that our water supply faces. You don’t have to look far, watering restrictions, water contamination, and bottled water are all hot topics for the blogisphere and beyond. When the statistic I read in the April 2010 National Geographic related that EVERY YEAR, U.S. SWIMMING POOLS LOSE 150 BILLION GALLONS OF WATER TO EVAPORATION, one has to wonder if everyone has forgotten the value of water.

After heavy irrigation some progress has been made the world over to improve the availability of water for drinking and farming. There are still millions of people around the world who do not have access to clean water or proper sanitation. The divergence of this water has caused many problems as well, damming natural streams, piping water, sometimes miles into dense cities is not effective, the longest water tunnel supplying New York City at 85 miles, loses 35 million gallons of water a day, we can not say this is effective.

In California irrigation enables farmers to grow half of all the fruit, vegetables and nuts in the United States, while at the same time creating a dust bowl where fresh water used to flow.

Water Aid is an organisation that’s focus is to improve access to fresh water and sanitation for the poorest nations on earth. Still there are people, usually woman and girls, who spend hours a day fetching water, usually contaminated , just to survive.

An article in the April  2010 National Geographic is appropriately named The Burden of Thirst. When writing about water in Africa one quote states ” Villagers think of water as a gift from God. But someone has to pay for it. Although water springs from the earth, pipes and pumps, alas do not. And water is most expensive to provide for those least able to afford it.”

The reality in poor nations, and the world over is the same; “When clean water becomes plentiful, all the hours previously spent hauling water can be used to grow more food, raise more animals or even start income-producing businesses.”

The United Nations has stated that access to clean water is a human right. Our bodies are made up of 60% water, it is the most valuable element on earth. Water conservation and stewardship is one place to start.

This graph from the Environment Canada website is telling;

There are many things we can do to improve on this statistic. From using more effective shower heads,  tap aerators and modern toilets, even water displacement in toilets can save huge amounts of water. Rain water collections, reusing grey water – watering plants with dish water for example.  Watering by hand instead of using a sprinkler;  take short showers, keep water in the refrigerator instead of letting it run to get cold. All these measures can make a difference.

One thing everyone can do is inform themselves about the issues and make better choices to conserve and become better stewards of the water.

Here more tips on wise water use

Thousands have lived without love, but not one has lived without water. — W.H. Auden

The Pacific Trash Vortex

This post originally published May 22, 2008

Recently I was shocked to learn about a continent made of garbage floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It has been estimated to be the size of Texas, and is known by many names, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the Plastic soup, the Eastern Garbage Patch or the Pacific Trash Vortex. What ever you call it, it is an environmental nightmare. It is not so much one large mass, if it were it would be much easier to deal with. This patch stretches for miles and goes to great depths.

It can be found in the North Pacific Gyre (also known as North Pacific Subtropical Gyre), The Gyre is a clockwise-swirling vortex of ocean currents comprising most of the northern Pacific Ocean. The garbage vortex is an accumulation of marine debris.

A great number of things can become marine debris; items such as plastic bags, syringes and other medical waste, buoys, rope, glass bottles and plastic bottles, cigarette lighters, plastic bags, beverage cans, Styrofoam, lost fishing line and nets, and various wastes from cruise ships and oil rigs. Plastic comprises over 80% of all ocean debris. The garbage vortex has been rapidly accumulating since the end of WWII. Plastic is unable to biodegrade. Instead it photodegrades, which means it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces that are, eventually, consumed by marine life and enter into the food chain.

If that is not bad enough, it can act as a sort of “chemical sponge”. It can concentrate many of the most damaging of the pollutants found in the worlds oceans: the persistent organic pollutants (POPs). So any animal eating these pieces of plastic debris will also be taking in highly toxic pollutants.

This problem was created by humans. What to do about the garbage island is still being debated, One thing is clear, we can take steps to reduce the amount of plastic we use and dispose of. All life on earth relies on the Oceans health. Choosing to use less plastic can only help to reduce how much will eventually become a toxic waste product.

War over Water

Will the next world war be fought over water?The concept seems preposterous to me. I think living  Canada, a nation with the most fresh water in the world it is difficult to relate to water shortages.tap water drink itMarch 11th was water bottle free day . Most of the people  know about the dangers of plastic water bottles and the exuberantly high cost  of bottled water, is still lost on some people. In the lower mainland of British Columbia, where I live, the water is abundant and is considered by many to be the finest drinking water in the world!

When I talk about water with my family back east, in Ontario specifically, they do not hear me.  They are all still reeling from a news story from years ago.

Mention the word “Walkerton” to any Ontario resident and images of water contamination and death come to mind. No less then seven people died and hundreds were sickened by water that was contaminated with E coli.

Since that spring in the year 2000, measures have been taken to ensure that a tragedy of this magnitude never happens again. It was determined that human error and carelessness lead to the contamination.

This terrible event also lead to another great travesty. People think that bottled water is safer than tap water! The truth is that many of the bottled water companies bottle tap water! Sure some of the water has been filtered, but many people now filter their tap water at home, like us, we use Wa2. Our water is safe enough to drink from the tap as it is.
We use a filter because the tap water in our city has chlorine and this filter helps reduce the taste.

From their website; The WA-2! System greatly reduces the environmental strain that results from the traditional bottled water delivery process.     The WA-2! system:

  • Successfully decreases our dependence on polycarbonate. Polycarbonate, the main ingredient in your five gallon water jugs, is not biodegradable.
  • Dramatically reduces the number of bottle caps produced. Bottle caps are not reusable, nor are they biodegradable.
  • Significantly reduces air pollutants, roadway congestion, and fuel consumption created by bottled water deliveries.

WA-2! supports the environment by using fuel efficient vehicles and encouraging paperless billing.

drink it

Many municipalities around B.C are taking the issue to the masses by banning bottled water! No more bottles of water at city hall meetings, no more bottled water in schools and community centres, forcing people to question the safety of bottled water and bringing back the water fountain.

Water is a basic necessity for life. When I was growing up the term “acid rain” was thrown around like a Frisbee, today we know that we need to protect our national resource and education is the starting point.

Bottled Water Free Day!

By now most people know that bottled water is bad! Bad for the environment, bad for your health if you factor in that the plastic leaches toxins into the water you are drinking. and bad for your pocketbook, as it costs hundreds of times more then tap water, which is what most bottled water is.

In Canada this March 11th will be the first

Bottled Water Free Day!

Watch this short video and visit the website. Learn the facts and tell your friends. Small changes made by everyone will equal big changes felt by everyone.

September 27th is World Rivers Day

What began 29 years ago as BC Rivers day, has grown to a world wide event! For the past five years it has been celebrated annually on the last Sunday in September as World Rivers Day. Plans are under way in communities around British Columbia and in dozens of other countries.  People will celebrate the diversity of life in and by the river. Everything from art shows, shoreline clean up, and fish enhancement projects will take place around the globe.

07 22 09 Fraser River 008

The 2009 Rivers Day featured river is the Fraser River.  British Columbia’s history is deeply connected to it. From travel to fishing, industry and life grew around the shores of “The Mighty Fraser”.

It’s namesake Simon Fraser was the first European settler to fully navigate it.  It is the tenth longest river in Canada.   British Columbians have relied on the river for livelihood, culture, transportation, historically and today  it is a driving force in the economy.

The world’s rivers and streams face threats from over-fishing, industrial pollution, and damming for hydro electricity.  Events will be held around the world  to celebrate rivers and waterways. People are encouraged to become stewards through educational workshops,  stream restoration initiatives, boat tours, quiet picnics or live music events. 2007_0417Image0003

Living in a country with possibly the most fresh water on the planet has coloured my experience with rivers. In my life I have seen destruction to rivers that may take many lifetimes to correct. We must all realise that our lives and health are connected to the water.

The United Nations is half way into a decade long initiative called Water For Life. From their website;  Among the themes that are central for the ‘Water for Life’ Decade are: scarcity, access to sanitation and health, water and gender, capacity-building, financing, valuation, Integrated Water Resources Management, trans-boundary water issues, environment and biodiversity, disaster prevention, food and agriculture, pollution and energy.

Water is as essential as air. What the future will look like is being determined now and our actions will speak volumes.

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Teach your children well…

Can you hear and do you care and

Can’t you see we must be free to

Teach your children what you believe in.

Make a world we can live in

-Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young-

Happy Earth Day


What started out as an ambitious project by an environmentalist nearly forty years ago is still celebrated today! April 22, 2009 is  the 39th annual Earth Day!

What can you do for the Earth  today?  The local elementary and high school are both running e-waste drives today.  We already packed up our wagon and took a trip over to the school to dispose of our old computer monitor this morning!

We are planning to go to the beach and enjoy some of the beautiful spring weather outside today. We are also celebrating our one year anniversary of launching and our business, URBN green Products. We have been thrilled with our success and the encouragement we have received so far.  Thank you for joining us in celebration and we wish everyone a wonderful day enjoying nature, and things that bring you joy.

Take a minute to reflect on what your connection is to the earth. We all share this beautiful planet and our choices can help or hinder the planet. While this is a day for environmentalists and activists to reflect and rejoice in our shared experiences, it is also a day to commit to change.  How can you lessen your impact on the environment? Here are a few things to try today.

Eat a vegetarian meal. Vegetarianism is a sustainable choice for your own health and the health of the planet. The resources used in the production of meat is detrimental to the earth and it’s inhabitants.

Leave the car at home. With spring in full swing we can look forward to many days of beautiful bike rides and walks. Commit to using alternative transportation more this year.

Take a walk and connect with nature.  Nothing can rejuvenate your senses like a walk in nature. Plan a picnic, go play in the park with your kids, really listen to the birds and smell the scents of the spring.

Slow down and enjoy the day. The spring will soon turn to summer and the time passes quickly. Reflect and renew your commitment to a healthy lifestyle  and a greener planet. Remember, your choices do make a difference.

URBNgreen is committed to education and environmental stewardship. Our objective is share information about what people are doing locally and around the world to create a sustainable future.
delicate little plant in need of freedom. Einstein quote at