An inspiring meeting of clean water activists drew to an end Saturday, as the Waterkeeper Alliance conference closed with a special presentation by Robert Kennedy and Moses Znaimer at the Bambu. Here is what Robert Kennedy had to say about Lake Ontario's most pressing environmental threats:
On Hamilton & the Red Hill Creek:
"There are fourteen rivers in Hamilton, all of those rivers have been buried except one, the Red Hill Creek, and they're now going to put an expressway over it. Toronto and Los Angeles have come to their senses, they've said, 'we've got to restore the rivers to the public' but in Hamilton they're still burying them, this is an old way of thinking."
On the Don River:
"A thousand industrial pipes discharging into the Don River; each one of those pipes is stealing something from the public"
"The Don River is going to be cleaned in 100 years, this is true, it's not a joke, five generations from now is when they are going to eliminate pollution."
On government control of Toronto's Harboufront:
"Someone is making money by privatizing those beaches and someone is making money by privatizing that public land for the airport."
On the City of Toronto:
"This is a maritime community, Toronto grew up as a nautical city, and yet its relationship with the water has been cut off"
"There is no difference between the public trust mandates that apply to the waterways and those that apply to the airwaves."
"They're polluting our water with crap, just as they?re polluting our airwaves with this crap they're putting on TV"
Lincoln said: "I have the south in front of me and I have the corporations behind me and for my country I fear more what's behind me."
And in a nutshell:
"We can't sell the farm piece by piece in order to pay for groceries, we can't drain the pond to catch the fish, we can't cut down the mountain to get at the coal. We can live off the interest, but we can't cut into the capital; that belongs to our children"