This post is written by Alexa Bradley from On the Commons.
"The commons starts with common ideas and common understandings" was how Gavin McGrath described the experience of the recent Council of Canadians Forum focused on the Great Lakes as a Commons. For the past four years, our Toronto Chapter of The Council of Canadians has invited water experts, and representatives from organizations that are concerned about how our aquifers, rivers and lakes are being overused and abused, to express their concerns in public. The meeting was held in a conference room overlooking Lake Ontario and included a range of communities and presenters including Water Keepers, Idle No More, National Union of Farmers, On The Commons, and more. The overall quality and content of the presentations has never been higher. It was great to be able to sit right on the lake with the sun shining and speak with new friends and colleagues about what the water means to them, and why they are passionate about its care and preservation. The number and nature of the threats and obstacles can seem overwhelming, but one person and one community at a time we can change the discussion and build a relentless force for positive change. We would like in future meetings to expand the participation to include fishermen, the cottage associations, the sports anglers. Plans are already underway for next year. Watch this site for details.