Story mapping and story collecting isn’t a new thing. It’s quite common for companies and organizations, big and small, to ask you to share your story or submit your experience.
But the Watermark Project is more than an effort to collect stories. Watermarks are more than stories.
When we ask you to share your Watermark, we're not only asking you to contribute your story.
We're asking you to help protect a waterbody.
What is a Watermark?
A Watermark is a story about you, a specific body of water, at a specific time.
Watermarks are personal and unique. No one needs to nag you and tell you what to say. Your Watermark is yours and stems from your memory.
Last week, we gave examples of Watermarks that had great impact. But not all individuals go on to lead environmental movements, start a company that cleans major rivers, or become Waterkeepers. Some ripples don't become waves – and that's okay too.
Watermarks do three big things:
Reconnect people to water. When we talk to communities around the watershed, it’s easy to see that the problem isn't that people don't care. People care. We believe it's a deeper problem. People have become disconnected with their environment and the waters that helped shape their lives. When a person thinks back and reflects – when someone finds their Watermark, that person reconnects. Watermarks connect people to a waterbody and act as a reminder for why they should protect water.
Serve as a record. In a recent interview with CBC Ontario Morning’s Wei Chen, Waterkeeper Mark Mattson explained, “The way that our laws have changed and weakened in the last decade – the public needs to show a beneficial use. They have to show their waters are being used and it's important to their communities.” If you can’t show beneficial use, it's like a victimless crime. Watermarks act as evidence of people swimming, paddling, boating, fishing – people spending time in and along the water. Watermarks become a basis for protecting water.
Map waterbody-based communities. The Waterbodies map shows where Watermarks are based. Over time we'll see where communities are forming around waterbodies. Since we launched the site in January, you can already see communities forming.
Your Watermark is your reason for protecting water. It's unique to you.
Today is World Water Day. And it’s never been more clear that Canada’s waters need more protection than ever.
So what's your reason for protecting water? What's your Watermark?