Rallying For Freshwater And Thinking BIG

From October 3-5 I participated in the Living Waters Rally near Ottawa, Ontario -- unceded territory of the Algonquin people. Over 130 people worked on strengthening their knowledge and capacity for protecting freshwater in Canada.

Hosted by the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, many strategic, corporate, and non-governmental organizations shared their experiences and expertise. With ceremonies, workshops, keynotes, socials, field trips, and strategic dialogues a variety of participants rallied their care and commitment – “moving the dial on freshwater protection” according to the program.

 Field Trip Paddle Boarding on Meech Lake, Oct 4 2014 - 29

Field Trip Paddle Boarding on Meech Lake, Oct 4 2014 - 29

It was a valuable moment for the Great Lakes Commons to connect with grassroots groups from across the continent. I brought copies of our Great Lakes Commons Charter, which worked well as a catalyst for new conversations and helped to illustrate some of the discussions on collaboration, governance, Indigenous knowledge, and a unified vision.

One of the most ambitious parts of the Rally was a focus on a “Our Living Waters” strategy. Developed by range of leading water stewards in Canada, this strategic framework carefully navigates the components of a successful water protection plan. Linking opportunity with impacts and winning conditions, this strategy project is definitely thinking BIG.

The big goal is: “All waters in Canada in good health by 2025”

How does this goal relate to a Great Lakes Commons? What reflections does “water as commons” offer this goal? What’s the strength of this goal and what seems to be missing? Is there still an opportunity for shaping this goal and being apart of this bold new strategy for water protection? What exactly are we protecting when we say we want to “protect water” -- water quality? our care and connection to water? how water protects us?

Stay tuned for the next post about the Living Waters Rally on these questions.