Monday, October 09, 2006

it never rains but it pours

My friend Debbie used to say that an idea or issue would catch her attention three times...the way the universe had of saying: "hey, look at this!" Well, this is three. First Lene, then the Canadian Ckayaker, and now the CTV news. To what is the universe insisting I pay attention? Algae.

I am getting used to the mysterious synchronicity of life, so I wasn't surprised to see the issue on the CTV news last night. I think what is most disturbing is that this particular variety of blue-green algae secretes substances into water that is toxic to nearly every system in the body, including the nervous system. I am frightenend by the growth of this algae spreading in our fresh lakes and waterways.

Considering that the story about the Quebec lakes first broke at the end of September, and it is now nearly two weeks later, and the people in Quebec are seeing little relief, we should pay attention. Unlike some natural disasters which seem to remain localized in effect, this is a story that has been brewing for some time and we are doing little to prevent widespread devastation. We continue our lives much as we have done for years, oblivious to how we are affecting the environment around us. And where we notice, we feel irritated and unwilling to change our ways, or helpless in the face of such monumental problems.

I live in an area of Ontario that is mostly farmland, verging onto the lakes districts of the Canadian Shield. Some of the lakes here are very highly poluted and become quite bad by the middle of July. "no swim" signs are frequently posted on some of our local beaches, but I'd venture to guess that many cottagers coming up from the city are blissfully unaware of the problem and are boating and swimming away every weekend. If they don't have wells and are drawing their drinking water from the lakes, they could be in even greater trouble.

It's a sad thing to observe our beautiful lakes and waterways becoming so poluted that they are actually toxic. I was horrified to read of Lene's discovery of dead beavers in the algae-covered water near her home. We should pay attention and take immediate measures to prevent the death of our fresh waters or we will without a doubt find ourselves paying the price so many of the residents the Lake Massawippi area of Quebec are paying right now.

There is an initiative amongst the farmers in our area to manage waste so that it doesn't pollute our water. I would love to know more about it, how effective it is. If anybody knows, let me know. I have seen some signs on farms in our area proudly proclaiming that they are participating in the management of farm-waste to ensure clean water. Any farmers out there? Let me know more about how this is working!


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