Tag Archives: Blue Planet

Community Awareness Event: Water Crisis in First Nations Communities

Tuesday January 28th from 7 – 9 PM at the Waverly Library Auditorium

The Thunder Bay Council of Canadians Blue Planet Committee invites you to this free event to learn more about the water crisis in First Nations Communities. Featuring the Water Brothers documentary “Water Everywhere… Not a Drop to Drink” and a panel discussion with Teresa Trudeau, traditional healing coordinator at Thunder Bay’s Anishnawbe Mushkiki, and Dr. Robert Stewart, professor of geography at Lakehead University.

For more information on the Blue Planet Committee, contact Janice  at horgosj@yahoo.com.

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Blue Planet Committee Update

In May, 2013 Council of Canadians Thunder Bay Chapter (CoC TBay Chapter) members and supporters formed a Blue Planet committee to promote access to safe, clean water as a human right and the protection of our lakes and waterways and to challenge the bottled water industry. The committee chose a Blue Communities Project as its first initiative.

Back to the Tap

Back to the Tap

The Blue Communities Project is a joint initiative of the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) designed to help citizens, organizations and local leaders protect and conserve our shared water resources. In order for Thunder Bay to become a Blue Community, City Council must adopt three resolutions that: recognize access to safe, clean water as a human right; promote publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater infrastructure and ban (phase out) bottled water in municipal buildings and at municipal events. Our Committee is actively garnering political and public support and on Lake Superior Day, we launched our ‘No to Bottled Water – Yes to Superior’ Campaign. The Back to the Tap sub-committee is partnering with EcoSuperior to give presentations to high schools students; to book a presentation for your group or organization contact Ann at amcgoey@shaw.ca.

In August, 2013 we were one of three organizations in the Canadian Great Lakes Basin chosen to participate in the Freshwater Alliance’s Great Lakes Mentorship Program. The goal is for participants to become leaders in creative engagement and communication while working on freshwater projects. The 4-month program involves one-on-one mentorship and in-person training sessions, small group webinars and peer learning circles.

Our Blue Planet Committee anticipates our participation in the Mentorship Program will further our Blue Community initiative and help us become a better ally to First Nations communities and organizations as we campaign for safe, clean water for everyone. Thirty First Nations communities in Northern Ontario are under ‘boil water’ advisories due to contamination and inadequate water and wastewater services. Faced with a host of health issues, many rely on bottled water shipped at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. The Council of Canadians is calling for the recognition of access to safe, clean water as a human right, legislation that sets standards and monitors drinking water quality and safety and public funding of water and waste water infrastructure with local management.

Join the growing movement for public water. Contact Janice at horgosj@yahoo.com

Blue Planet Logo

TBay COC to participate in the Great Lakes Mentorship Program

The Council of Canadian Thunder Bay Chapter was recently chosen to participate in the Freshwater Alliance‘s Great Lakes Mentorship Program as one of five community organizations in the Canadian Great Lakes Basin.  This four-month program is designed to strengthen the public engagement and communications efforts of grassroots and community-based organizations working on freshwater issues in the Great Lakes basin.
The Thunder Bay COC’s Blue Planet Committee will participate in this program starting September 2013. Janice Horgos, the Chair of the Blue Planet Committee, hopes the program will provide a platform to promote access to clean water as a human right and public ownership of water and waste-water services. “The Committee is particularly concerned that lack of safe clean water in many First Nations communities threatens human health and the environment,” explains Horgos. “A key goal will be to become a better ally to the First Nations by broadening our engagement and involvement by taking an environmental justice approach as we campaign for safe clean water for everyone.”
To date the Committee has launched a ‘No to Bottled Water – Yes to Superior‘ campaign
and is actively seeking like-minded groups and organizations to join its campaign.  The next meeting of the Blue Planet Committee will be on Tuesday, Sept. 24 from 7-8:30pm at the Brodie Resource Library.  For more information about the project and how you can get involved, contact Janice at horgosj@yahoo.com. Click here for more information about the Council of Canadians Blue Planet and Blue Community Projects.
TBay CoC Blue Planet Info Booth at Lake Superior Day 2013

Thunder Bay Council of Canadian’s Blue Planet Info Booth at Lake Superior Day, July 21 2013

Who Owns the Lakes?

A recent editorial in the Chronicle Journal called for a scientific determination of the impacts of Waukesha Wisconsin’s proposal to replace water from its drying underground aquifer with water from Lake Michigan. Waukesha is the first community entirely outside the Great Lakes Basin to apply to draw water from the Great Lakes under the Great Lakes Compact; the decision will set a precedent. The Great Lakes provide life and livelihood for more than 40 million people in Canada and United States and already face serious threats due to over-extraction, Climate Change and pollution.

The Great Lakes, which provide life and livelihood for more than 40 million people in Canada and United States face serious threats due to over-extraction, Climate Change and pollution. North Americans are the highest consumers of water per capita in the world. According to a 2004 Great Lakes Commission study, communities around the Great Lakes Basin pump 850 billion gallons (3.2 trillions litres) of water out of the Lakes and the St. Lawrence River every day.

Close to 2 billion gallons a day are not returned to the watershed. Cities like Chicago are pumping out so much water they’re reversing the flow of Lake Michigan and decreasing water tables as far away as Port Huron and Georgian Bay. A recent Statistics Canada study showed renewable water yield in southern Ontario has declined 8.5% in just four decades.

Loopholes in the uneven patchwork of legislation governing the Great Lakes allow bottling companies like Nestle, Pepsi and Coca Cola to draw large amounts of water from groundwater around the Lakes for export. Scientists warn Great Lakes water levels could drop by another two feet, particularly threatening Lake Huron and Michigan.

The amount of water flowing out of Lake Superior at the St. Mary’s River would need to be increased by 50% for them to be restored to previous levels. As demands for water continue to grow, the supply diminishes. Building on the efforts of countless organizations over the past several decades, we need to take immediate, cohesive action to conserve and protect our Great Lakes for future generations.

The Council of Canadians, the largest citizen organization in Canada considers access to clean, safe water to be a human right and calls for the recognition of the Great Lakes as a commons, public trust and protected bioregion. In answer to the question ‘Who owns the Lakes,’ common principles would establish they belong to no one but should be shared equitably by all who live around them and protected for the common good of future generations. The establishment of a Great Lakes Basin Commons will require the full commitment and participation of all levels of government, people and nations living around the Lakes. Together we can save the Great Lakes. The local Chapter of the Council of Canadians’ Blue Planet Committee and its partners invite you to join us in our efforts to promote the right to water and the protection of out lakes and waterways.  

The Great Lakes (image from google maps).

The Great Lakes (image from Google maps).

Janice Horgos
Chair of the Blue Planet Committee
Council of Canadians Thunder Bay Chapter
horgosj@yahoo. com

NO to Bottled Water – YES to Superior!

Our drinking water in Thunder Bay comes from Lake Superior. Clean water is delivered to over 100,000 residents in Thunder Bay through the Bare Point Water Treatment Plant. In addition to the world-class filtration system upgraded in 2007 , Thunder Bay also recently implemented a Source Protection Plan  to further ensure that we will continue to have access to a safe a reliable source of water by protecting our lakes and rivers. So lets enjoy our clean water and say “NO to Bottled Water – YES to Superior”.
  • Water is a human right and a public resource;
  • Canada has one of the best public drinking water systems in the world and municipal tap water is safer, healthier and more regulated than bottled water;
  • Bottled water requires massive amounts of fossil fuels to manufacture and transport, and it takes three to five litres of water to produce a one litre plastic bottle of water;
  • Bottled water companies use municipal water sources, groundwater and surface water, when over one-quarter of Canadian municipalities have faced water shortages in recent years;
  • Bottled water creates excessive amounts of physical waste when communities in Canada face a waste management crisis.

For more information, check out these two factsheets on Tackling Industry Spin on Bottled Water and 5 Reasons to Ban Bottled Water.