“Almost everything we do or use in life, from the essential, such as eating, to the merely frivolous, that of. taking a luxury cruise, requires energy, and, to varying degrees, has an impact on the protection of present and future freshwater resources.” (unknown source)
The ability of federal, provincial, territorial and local governments and individual Canadians to protect freshwater resources relies on the public being knowledgeable about all aspects of the life-cycle of water, acting as individuals and groups to make a difference, and informing governments at all levels of the need for far sighted programs and policies to protect and sustain this vital life-resource.
The National Council of Women of Canada, representing many thousands of Canadians from a very broad diversity of backgrounds, through our 17 Local Councils of Women, 24 Nationally Organized Society Affiliated members and 5 Provincial Councils of Women in British Columbia, Saskatchewan. Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, has for many years recognized the need for protection of fresh water resources and for the “soft” energy path of energy conservation and efficiencies and renewables, rather than traditional energy sources that are water-destructive and unsustainable.
To this end, NCWC and NCWEF have engaged in two very significant projects in the past 16 years. The most recent, our 2006, 2007 Common Program on Water, was jointly organized with the NCW Education Fund (NCWEF). It involved public meetings across Canada and an expert Panel on Canada’s Water at our 2007 AGM in Regina. Funded by a grant from the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation the panel featured 6 presentations by experts in the areas of drought, water diversions, industrial energy resource impacts on water, water and the law, trade agreements and the need for a national water strategy. A Report was prepared on the “National Council of Women of Canada Common Program on Water 2006/2007” and can be found on pages 6-7 in NCWC’s 2007 Summer Newsletter.
This latter program drew our attention back once more to the strong inter-relationship between the public’s use of, and government support of, very damaging energy sources such as oil, coal and nuclear, as well as the benefits of Canadians moving to the ‘soft’ energy path.- factors that were front and centre in NCWC’s 1992-95 Environment Canada Greenplan Partners Project .
Those very many NCWC members who participated in that earlier program, or read the Report mentioned above, will remember how much public interest our energy conservation programs stirred up across the country from Halifax to Fort St. John ; what an excellent source of information the Conserver Newsletter was; the many helpful tips to apply to our own lives that were gleaned from public forum speakers and the expert NCWC AGM resource speakers e.g. Marjorie Lamb , author of 2 Minutes a Day for a Greener Planet, and the amazingly good response from over 560 respondents to our Energy Conservation- Making a Difference survey.
And, those of you who attended our AGM in Regina last Spring , or read the “, will know of the huge challenge Canadians are facing and must overcome, to protect their limited fresh water resources, particularly in light of climate change. We know also, that within this daunting future, our energy use will play a huge role. It is our hope that with the knowledge gained from this project that NCWEF and NCWC can better help our members, the general public and the legislators understand the challenges and help shape a more sustainable future for Canada’s freshwater resources – and our environment generally.