Footprints – Life On the Raft

Life On the Raft

Living in Canada, fresh water is something we often take for granted. I know I did until a few summer’s ago when the lake water at our cottage turned to what looked like pea soup. It was filled with a toxic blue-green agae and wasn’t safe to swim in for both humans and their pets. You couldn’t even boil the water to rid it of the bacteria because in doing so you would release even more harmful toxins.
It’s now been happening every August for the past six years.
We all stay out of the water, sit on the dock and watch the beautiful sunset over a pool of green thus the idea for “Life On the Raft” was born.

There has been recent hope for cleaning up our lake though. Stricter laws on run-off from local farms is being enforced, septic systems on the lake that were outdated or even non-existent are now becoming mandatory, phosphate free products must be used and believe it or not people are still needing to be educated on plain old garbage being thrown in the lake! Two summers ago a man was caught and fined for taking his old refrigerator out into the middle of the lake and dumping it! Argh!!

The Great Lakes, which supplies water to approximately one quarter of Canada and one tenth of the U.S., has seen it’s share of pollution as well. In the 60’s Lake Erie was considered a “dead” lake but through public advocacy and international cooperation the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was signed by the US and Canada. Erie now has acceptable phosphorus levels and is no longer considered “dead” despite the ongoing problems it still faces from other contaminates. Keeping our waters clean will be a constant in our lives, taking diligence to a whole new level.

My hope is that people gain a better understanding and concern for the effects of human activity on our delicate fresh water ecosystems.

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