About a month ago, I was in Toronto’s distillery district during the Panam Games. I happened to walk through on one of the nights that Porte Parole’s Watershed Project was being exhibited.
If you haven’t heard of it, the Watershed Project is a live art installation composed of two small rooms. As you walk through the exhibit, you have the opportunity to converse with water. Water literally speaks to you – and you speak back, talking about your earliest memories of water, what it means to you, and what you will do to protect it.
I don’t remember my first experience with water. I can’t tell you the first time I saw the ocean, or the first time I dipped my toes in a lake. I don’t remember how I felt the first time I saw a fish while I was snorkelling or whether I even liked swimming as a small child.
What I can tell you, though, is that as a teenager and in my adult life, I developed a strangely protective, passionate love for water. As I grew older, I never felt more happiness and awe as I did when I looked upon the ocean. But I also never felt more anger and hurt as I did when I learned of the burden our oceans were carrying, and the lack of protection they were receiving from us.
It seems now that everything I do comes back to water. I’ve researched the extensive impact humans have had on fish populations, large and small, around the globe. I’ve signed petitions to ban toxic chemicals’ use in Canada. And I spread the word as much as I can about the importance of protecting Canada’s most precious resource.
Being a water leader – it isn’t something that will burden you. Rather, it will empower you, make you know you’re doing the right thing. All it takes is your belief that water is important to protect, and your desire to use your skills – whatever they may be – to support the life force that flows through yours, and my, veins.
Sometimes, though, it’s hard to know where to start.
…So, where do you start?
Here are a few ideas:
- Stay informed on Alberta (and Canada) water issues. Our Twitter page, along with the Swim Guide, Water News Global, and Alberta Water Portal are good places to start.
- Spend time on the water. When you’re connected to water, you’re inspired to protect it for yourself and for future generations.
- Get involved with a local organization that can keep you current and give you opportunities to get involved with watershed projects. For me, these projects re-affirm the importance of what I’m doing and fuel my desire to continue working. In Edmonton, there are a number of organizations you can get involved with, including
- Spread the word on water issues to your friends and family, and let them know water is important to you.
It doesn’t matter if your contribution is big or small – it’s enough that you’re making a contribution. Together, we’re a united voice for Canada’s watershed.