Each week for the last four years, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has researched, crafted, and delivered email newsletters that explore some of the region's most important environmental justice issues. Over the years, Waterkeeper.ca Weekly has become one of the most widely-read and acclaimed service of its kind.
We are proud of our work, but we are worried. Signs of ecological collapse are everywhere on the Great Lakes. Already, two-thirds of our wetlands have been lost. The commercial fishery is less than 15% of its original size. More than 160 alien species now threaten native plants and animals. We cannot swim, we cannot drink, and we cannot fish safely in most communities.
Meanwhile, government has been quietly dismantling our environmental laws over the last decade. Provinces and municipalities are lobbying to exempt sewage treatment plants from the standard of the Fisheries Act. Ontario is writing regulations to exempt projects like its nuclear power plan from the environmental assessment process. Meanwhile, key environmental programs are under-funded, ignored, or cut altogether.
These stories need to be told. We cannot protect our natural resources or our legal traditions without information. What is happening in science? In government? In law? In business? What media are covering the stories and what are they saying? How does it impact the grassroots? Where are the tools and the training to win back what we have lost? Our desire to help you answer these questions brings Waterkeeper staff together every week to create Waterkeeper.ca Weekly.
Sometimes it feels like a Dark Age for clean water. Instead of wetland restoration, we get stricter fishing quotes. Instead of modern sewage systems, we get beach postings. Instead of cleaner industry, we get fish consumption advisories.
But there are reasons for optimism â€“ lots of them. Despite funding cuts and policy changes, Canada still has some of the best environmental laws in the world. We have clear rights to safely swim, drink, and fish in Canadian waters. We have a system based on equality for all people, no matter where you live, who you know, or how much money you have.
And of course, Waterkeeper loves our lake, and all that it offers us. Lake Ontario is part of largest freshwater lake system on the planet. It is more than 10 thousand years old, home to nearly 200 species of native fish and 100 species of bird, and the drinking water supply to more than six million people. There is nothing else like it in the world, and it is worth saving.
As another inspiring year draws to a close, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support Lake Ontario Waterkeeper's efforts. Next year could be a turning point for Lake Ontario. It should be a turning point. With your help, it will be.
Want to know what else we do? With your help, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper bridges the gap between what our great environmental laws say on paper, and what they do in the real world. We conduct our own water sampling. We train law students. We educate the media. We fight to make every decision smarter, fairer, and sustainable. More information: www.waterkeeper.ca.