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Jul 07.31

Living Lakes Canada: Water is Sacred

Posted In: Green >> Ethical Campaigns

Living Lakes Canada is one of our three charity partners for our Take Back the Tap campaign. We're thrilled to have Heather Leschied join the LUSH Blog to share some of the incredible work that Living Lakes is doing to protect watersheds.

Living Lakes Canada is a network of grassroots organizations taking local action to protect their watersheds. We recognize that healthy communities depend on healthy watersheds. That’s why we are working with Keepers of the Athabasca, to better understand the state of the Athabasca River in Northern Alberta, the heart of the tar sands - the largest industrial project on earth.

For the First Nations, Metis and Inuit of the Athabasca River, water is Sacred and water is life for all sentient beings. However, the thirst for oil continues to fill northern Canadian landscapes with drills, excavators, haulers, loaders, pipelines, refineries and toxic waste sites, and the impacts to water health are frightening and severe.

We’ve joined with hundreds of aboriginal and non-aboriginal leaders, elders, children and youth on the 4th annual Healing Walk. This 14 km walk is a building of collective consciousness and movement of solidarity to demonstrate global concern for the air, land, water and people of the Athabasca Watershed. There is industrial oil development as far as the eye can see, in every direction and it is only a mere fraction of what is being mined across northern Alberta. Much of the mining takes place along the Athabasca River. The Athabasca begins its journey in Jasper National Park and follows a 1,231 km route downstream to join the Mackenzie River, the largest and longest river system in Canada.  The rapid, intensive, industrial development of the tar sands is impacting all life downstream.

Water evokes emotion. It gives us pure joy in that instant, on a sweltering summer day when body and mind are rejuvenated with a cool dip in the lake you love. But what if that emotion is heartache?  If the lakes and rivers you love, and that have sustained your culture for thousands of years are sick?  The Athabasca River is one of the main water sources for oil sands mining projects and so we have come here for our friends and colleagues, the Keepers of the Athabasca, who are fighting for the waters that give them life. The waters where they have hunted and fished, and drank from for thousands of years.

LUSH’s Take Back the Tap campaign is supporting our I Love My Lake education, outreach and training program that will provide the Keepers of the Athabasca with the tools necessary to better understand the health of their watershed, and take action to protect the waters for all living things, for today and for tomorrow.

Love a lake, river or wetland? Stand up. Speak up. Declare it, here

Start a group, join the network, and monitor your most favorite lake or stream.

About Heather Leschied

As Program Manager with Living Lakes Canada, Heather has been involved in community based water stewardship and citizen science initiatives in the Columbia, Mackenzie, and Winnipeg Basins. She works with individuals and groups to increase capacity and knowledge to better protect our watersheds. Her work has won awards by foundations and industry, and has been recognized by the federal government as a best-practices example in community based monitoring. Heather lives in a sleepy mountain town in the shadow of the water summit of our continent.