Posted by: Vicki Burns | May 30, 2011

Walk for Water Students Learn About Manitoba Water Issues

Today Colleen Sklar, Executive Director of Lake Friendly, and I gave a joint presentation to the Grade 6 to 8 students at Edmund Partridge School in Winnipeg. The students were holding a special assembly devoted to Water as they were preparing to go on their fundraising Walk For Water. This campaign is aimed at raising awareness and money for a school in Cameroon in Africa.

image of slime covered rocks

Blue green algae slimes rocks on Lake Winnipeg

The teachers at Edmund Partridge thought it would be helpful to bring a local perspective to the topic of water which resulted in us being there to talk about what is happening to Lake Winnipeg and in many rural communities throughout Manitoba. As we were preparing for this presentation we came across a few facts that I found quite striking:
• All the freshwater we now have on earth is all that there ever has been and ever will be. In other words, it is a finite supply.
 • We may be drinking the same water now that dinosaurs drank millions of years ago.
• More people in the world have cell phones than have access to clean, safe water.
However to bring it to a more local level, we talked about the difficulties facing thousands of people living in First Nation communities in northern Manitoba who do not have running water in their homes. We also talked about the many people in rural Manitoba who rely on well water for their drinking water and the fact that many of those wells have been contaminated because of the extensive flooding this year. Finally we spoke of the extreme eutrophication of Lake Winnipeg with massive blue-green algae blooms.
The best part though, was the message that Colleen and Lake Friendly bring – What You Do Matters! There are numerous ways we can all be part of the solution to the lake’s problems through the products we use, and our daily practices around water use. It was really quite energizing to speak to 300 students and think that even a few of them would go home and discuss some of these ideas with their parents.

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