Happy Oceans Day everyone!
Since I have water (conservation) on the brain, here are a few wet facts and figures on what is undoubtedly the most intriguing — and essential — substance on the planet:
- Water is the only substance found on earth naturally in three forms – solid, liquid and gas.
- About 70% of the earth is covered in water.
- Once evaporated, a water molecule spends about 10 days in the air.
- Freshwater lakes and rivers, ice and snow, and underground aquifers hold only 2.5% of the world’s water. By comparison, saltwater oceans and seas contain 97.5% of the world’s water supply.
- Worldwide, one billion people lack access to safe drinking water, 2.4 billion to adequate sanitation.
- Health problems related to water pollution in general are estimated to cost Canadians $300 million per year.
- Today, around 3 800 cubic kilometers of fresh water is withdrawn annually from the world’s lakes, rivers and aquifers. This is twice the volume extracted 50 years ago.
More water facts.
Marine ecosystems are as affected by human activity as terrestrial ecosystems.
Canada’s National Parks Act was designed to guide conservation and protection only on land. So in 1996, Nature Canada began advocating for new legislation that would enable the creation of national marine conservation areas.
In 2000-01, Nature Canada staff worked with government policy makers to strengthen federal Bill C-10, “An Act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada”, introduced in February 2001. Nature Canada devoted countless hours toward getting the National Marine Conservation Areas Act passed in 2002.
Since then, Canada’s progress in preserving marine ecosystems has been frustratingly slow. However, in 2007,the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area was established, extending roughly 140 kilometers east of Thunder Bay, protecting endangered trout populations, caribou, peregrine falcons, eagles and herons. At one million hectares it will be the largest freshwater marine conservation area in the world.
We continue to push for more marine conservation areas. Nature Canada, together with 19 other environmental and conservation organizations, has called for the establishment of a national system of marine protected areas by 2012. This would result in 14 new national marine conservation areas, including Bowie Seamount off the north coast of British Columbia and Iquali qluug off Baffin Island in Nunavut.