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Great Lakes Need Great Friends: Protecting The Great Lakes Forever

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Speaking tour in 8 Ontarian cities to engage protection of Great Lakes

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow is embarking on an eight city speaking tour aimed at protecting the Great Lakes from private interests and government complacency and restoring more democratic control over them.

The tour, Great Lakes Need Great Friends: Protecting The Great Lakes Forever, will visit Toronto (May 15), Hamilton (May 16), Thunder Bay (May 17), Kingston (May 22), Sarnia (May 24), Township of Tiny (May 28), Owen Sound (May 29), and London (May 30).

“The Great Lakes of North America are in serious trouble,” says Barlow. “Industrial pollution, climate change, over-extraction, invasive species, and wetland loss are all taking their toll on the watershed that provides life and livelihood to more than 40 million people and thousands of species that live around it.”

“On this tour to Great Lakes Basin communities, we’ll be discussing an exciting new proposal to designate the lakes and their tributary waters as a lived Commons, to be shared, protected, carefully managed and enjoyed by all who live around them,” adds Barlow. “A Great Lakes Basin Commons would recognize that water is a human right. It would recognize the ecological rights of the watershed, that private interests are subordinate to community rights, that governments have an affirmative obligation to manage and protect the Great Lakes, and that First Nations/American Indian tribes should be involved in the decision-making process. Public participation is key to the Great Lakes Basin Commons.”

The Council of Canadians is demanding that these commons and public trust principles be included in the Ontario government’s upcoming Great Lakes Protection Act.

Emma Lui, Water Campaigner for the Council of Canadians, says the tour will help:

  • “Foster connections along the Great Lakes by making the links between current fights against threats such as fracking, bottled water withdrawals, invasive species, and nuclear waste storage and shipments.
  • “Cultivate a Great Lakes stewardship by encouraging people to recognize they not only have a right, but a responsibility to protect the Great Lakes’ waters.
  • “Invite community involvement and encourage inspiring actions that will help shift the current market economy priorities that govern the Great Lakes to priorities based on commons and public trust principles.”

Full details about the speaking tour and local speakers are available at: www.canadians.org/greatlakes.

PDF tour poster

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