An open letter to the Swim Drink Fish community

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Dear Friends,

This is the first time the senior leadership team at Swim Drink Fish has penned a joint letter to the entire movement.

We commonly write to request a donation this time of year, but this joint letter is an unusual step. Here’s why we’re doing it.

We live in a time of great change and uncertainty. News headlines warn of global changes that threaten air, water, land, and the diversity of natural life that is utterly unique to the earth.

Three-quarters of the planet has been re-shaped by human activity. Roughly 3.5-million people in Canada and the USA get sick after swimming at polluted beaches each year. Water quality in Canadian rivers has not improved in the last two decades. This is all happening despite a widespread understanding that water is our most important natural resource.

Meanwhile, political and cultural voices seem intent on dividing us, amplifying our differences and isolating us from the values and goals that we share.

It is a difficult time to feel optimistic about the future. And yet, we do.

All people value life. Everyone wants health, prosperity, opportunity, and a better world for young people. The most common aspirations cross political, cultural, and geographic boundaries.

This is the time of year most of us go into reflection mode.  We want you to know that the Swim Drink Fish movement – your movement – is making a measurable difference.

You’ve helped more than 1-million people find places to swim, hike, and spend more time outside in the last year. This protects water by ensuring enough people feel a connection to their local waterbody and a desire to protect it.

Leaping into Lake Ontario from the Gord Edgar Downie pier in Kingston, Ontario.

Leaping into Lake Ontario from the Gord Edgar Downie pier in Kingston, Ontario.

You helped 800+ people participate in water awareness workshops and training activities in the last year. This protects water by ensuring enough people understand water issues and are equipped to protect their quality of life.

You helped collect 2,000 water samples in 18 places and photograph 171 swimming holes in the last year. This protects water by documenting water quality, environmental threats, and changes in the community.

You helped shape water protection policies internationally, nationally, provincially, and locally with new rules to protect fisheries, access and navigation, beaches, data sharing, and to prevent sewage and plastics pollution.

You also helped restore 30 km² metres of habitat in nine communities in the last two years. These policy and restoration achievements are crucial for long-term environmental protection.

These achievements didn’t happen by accident. With your help, Swim Drink Fish has built a movement that makes a difference.

Success starts on the water.

Success starts on the water.

Our community monitoring hubs train people to recognize the environmental changes taking place around them.

When you dip your hand into the water to take a sample, you feel the power that comes with exercising your right to know about the health of your waterbody. It’s a life-changing experience.

On a practical level, our community monitoring hubs also teach people to recognize signs of sewage and plastics pollution, to document what they see, and to share their findings.

The information volunteers and staff collect is shared online. Platforms like Swim Guide empower people to make choices that prevent hundreds of waterborne illnesses each year. That’s how we make a difference in the world.

The model works. It’s a powerful combination of people, science, and communications technology that can revolutionize the way communities protect water.

All of this is a long way of saying that we have a lot of work to do in 2020. We’re game. How about you? 

Habitat and trail restoration at Frenchman’s Bay in Pickering helps protect public spaces for the public. From restoration to litter cleanups, every action counts.

Habitat and trail restoration at Frenchman’s Bay in Pickering helps protect public spaces for the public. From restoration to litter cleanups, every action counts.

Many of you have asked how you can do more to support the SDF movement.

Data collection, technology platforms, and public awareness campaigns all need resources. They need funding, volunteer participation, and promotional support. 

You’ve been a supporter in the past, and we’re hoping we can count on you again.

Please make a year-end donation to support swimmable, drinkable, fishable water. Whether you can contribute $25 or $500, it makes a difference.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE ONLINE

We’re up against the distraction of modern life, cynicism, fear, and an ever-growing list of threats to water and nature. But we know you care about water, family, community, and prosperity, just like we do.

It only takes generous acts from a few individuals to empower millions of people to safeguard water.

We all have the awesome responsibility to ensure swimmable, drinkable, fishable water for future generations. Thank you for being part of the Swim Drink Fish movement.

We’re looking forward to 2020!

Happy Holidays,

National Letter signatures 04.png

                         Lauren Hornor                               Mark Mattson                                             Krystyn Tully

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