Canada is rich in natural capital, notably water. In this issue, we travel from coast to coast to coast to examine fresh- and salt-water-related initiatives that are making waves and inspiring change in our resource-blessed country and beyond.
On the East Coast, Susan Holtz explores the latest efforts to harness the Bay of Fundy’s magnum tidal power, while on the North Coast, Alex Speers-Roesch outlines the global push to create an Arctic Sanctuary similar to the ocean sanctuary now in place around Antarctica. And in "Secrets of the Salt Marsh," Lisa Szabo-Jones shows us the hidden beauty in these unique, salt-tolerant ecosystems at the edge of land and sea. Dig into her photo essay here.
In our cover feature, Andrew Reeves’ exploration of the Asian carp invasion catalogues the imperfect options being considered by the US Army Corps to contain the invasive species that have taken over the Mississippi watershed. In “Carpocalypse Now," Reeves – who is working on a book about the North American Asian carp assault – spins a cautionary tale about the fish that threaten to forever change the Great Lakes, and the dedicated individuals and communities who are working to protect this vulnerable and valuable watershed.
In the US West, the hedonistic desert playground known as Sin City has gambled with nature and is about to lose. Mother Nature is walking away from the table. The Colorado River and Lake Mead are drying up, and Las Vegas is finally forced to curb water consumption, hoping they can make a modern miracle out of a mirage. Read all about this city’s innovative efforts in “Aqua Viva Las Vegas."
Also in this issue, we applaud British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act and celebrate this year’s Earth Day Canada Hometown Heroes—Junction Creek Stewardship, Calstone and Wayne Salewski—all of whom have worked to conserve water in their communities and businesses.
When Leonardo da Vinci said that water is the driver of nature, he recognized that people depend on it. Globally, more than a billion people now live in countries and regions with water scarcity, and by 2030, almost half of the world will live under conditions of high water stress.
In these times of climate change with unexpected floods and drought, this issue of A\J shows how important it is to take care of our freshwater and marine resources. Rising sea levels threaten coastal sources of freshwater as well as coastal communities, economies and ecologies.
In this context it is worth mentioning the recent and hopeful development to fight climate change: The US and China have agreed to set targets to curb carbon emissions, leaving the Canadian government with fewer excuses for inaction.
Even if the newly set targets for emissions reductions by the US and China aren’t as ambitious as we might hope, a commitment from the world’s two largest carbon emitters should help convince more countries to sign on for a solid global climate deal next year in Paris. It will be a good opportunity for Canada to take up its responsibilities to combat climate change and to be a more active guardian of its increasingly imperiled freshwater and coastal zones.
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