Elephant in the Room
By Carolyn DuBois, Water Program Officer, Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation
As a founding partner, Canada Water Week is a special time of year for the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation. Like many of you, we feel passionate about Canada’s almost 3 million lakes and rivers all year round, but the third week in March is when we all get to come together and give our country’s freshwater resources a collective hug, and we’re thankful to be a part of it.
As the program officer for the Foundation’s Water program, my “water body love” these days is focused on our country’s largest–and perhaps least known–basin: the Mackenzie. Flowing north, this enormous water body stretches 1.8 million square kilometres from the Athabasca River in Alberta, to Inuvik, NWT–a full 20 percent of Canada’s landmass–ending its journey at the Arctic Ocean. Its tributaries run through one of the world’s most intensive, politically divisive and arguably most polluting resource extraction sites, the oil sands.
(C) James Stauch.
Yet environmental monitoring and management efforts of this globally significant and locally vital waterway do not currently reflect its gargantuan size, or importance. Over the coming years we hope to spread the word about the Mackenzie, and help improve monitoring capacity where we can in the hopes of protecting it for generations to come.
Whether your water body is a tiny stream trickling through your community, or the mighty Mackenzie, stretching across three provinces and three territories, we hope you’ll join us in showing your love this Canada Water Week!
Rowing the Arctic airs on Friday March 22 at 7:00 p.m. on TVO.