Written by guest blogger Denise Deby, who writes on local and global social and environmental issues.
Have plans June 8-13? Why not celebrate Rivers to Oceans Week
The UN’s World Oceans Day is June 8, and Canadian Rivers Day is June 12. It might seem odd to celebrate Oceans Day here in Ottawa – we’re not exactly a coastal city – although we’re rich in rivers. Of course, it’s all the same water; the water in the ocean today might one day be in Ottawa’s rivers, in the water we drink or the food we eat, or in us.
Perhaps to make the connections more explicit, the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) suggests celebrating Rivers to Oceans Week. CWF reminds us that as Canadians we’re responsible for one-fifth of the world’s fresh water as well as the world’s longest coastline.
So how to mark it? Well, CWF is hosting a screening of a 45-minute documentary film, 100 Days, followed by a discussion with the film’s director, Brett Rogers, on Monday, June 13 at 7 p.m. at the Canadian Museum of Nature. 100 Days relates the journey that Rogers and others took along the Yukon River on a homemade raft. According to Roger’s website, the film “celebrates the spirit of adventure, the kindness of strangers, and the often dark realities of life in the north” on “one of the world’s greatest, big wild rivers.”
On rivers closer to home, the Ottawa Riverkeeper suggests heritage river rafting with OWL Rafting on the Ottawa River on June 10-12 or a heritage paddle on the Gatineau River on June 12. (If you’re interested in the Ottawa Riverkeeper, you can attend their Annual General Meeting on June 16 at the Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre in Britannia Park, 2805 Carling Avenue, 7:30-9:00 p.m.; or check out their project to document the state of the Ottawa River starting July 4.)
If you’re motivated to express your ideas about what’s special about your local body of water and why it’s worth conserving, you can submit a one-minute video to CWF’s Water’s Worth It! video contest by June 20.
Perhaps the best way to celebrate is by taking action. What’s good for our local rivers is pretty much the same as what’s good for the world’s oceans, or our wetlands, or other bodies of water. In fact, suggestions from the Ottawa Riverkeeper, CWF and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans are similar:
- Learn more about your waterway, and use it – we humans appreciate and protect what we know and understand;
- Conserve water: use a rain barrel, low-flow toilets and showerheads, drink tap water rather than bottled water;
- Garden using native and drought-resistant plants;
- Reduce household pollutants from cleaning products, eliminate pesticides;
- Dispose of trash and hazardous waste properly, reduce waste by recycling and composting, purchase products with less packaging;
- Participate in shoreline or beach clean-ups, help monitor water quality, volunteer;
- Spread the word about the importance of rivers and oceans.