As World Water Day is upon us once again, it is essential to divert our attention away from the price of oil and toward another even more important resource: water.
Even here in Canada, fresh water is always a hot topic, especially among Indigenous communities who often have first-hand experience with water insecurity. For most of us in Canada, water is quickly taken for granted.
With the largest freshwater reserves globally, most Canadians have always enjoyed easy access to relatively clean and almost universally safe drinking water. This, however, is not the story for everyone. Millions worldwide are struggling to obtain adequate water, and this continues to be a daily reality.
UNB to help highlight water issues
To bring attention to these and a few other local issues relating to water, UNB’s Sustainability Committee and the Lorenzo Society are hosting an online discussion panel on Tuesday, March 22, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
UNB’s own Dr. Rachel Bryant, a Research Associate at the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre at UNB, has a passion for water issues, especially related to Indigenous peoples in Canada. Dr. Bryant, a literary historian and author of The Homing Place’s award-winning book, will host the event.
Dr. Petra Hauf, UNB’s Vice-President, will open the panel to guests Maude Barlow and Andrea Polichies. In her presentation, Polchies will provide a local take on water issues, while Maude Barlow will provide a more global perspective.
Maude Barlow is a founding member and former chairperson of the Council of Canadians and the co-founder of the Blue Planet Project.
She also acted as the Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the UN General Assembly from 2008 to 2009. During her time working at the UN, she also found herself as one of the leading voices in the campaign to have access to water made a universal human right.
Her presentation will highlight the effort to stop the poisoning of waterways in Miramichi, where industrial pesticides have been scheduled for application, this fall to eliminate the invasive smallmouth bass species.
Encouraging water activism at home
The goal of hosting this panel is to try and encourage water activism at home by highlighting how vital essential water issues are locally, regionally, and globally.
This activism is now more critical than ever because of the compounding of the problems like plastic and chemical pollution, overfishing, privatization, and climate change which all combine to create the paramount issue facing humanity today; water scarcity.