Category Archives: Precious Resource

HOW EARTH MADE US – WATER ~ A MUST SEE VIDEO!!!

HOW EARTH MADE US_WATER

How Earth Made Us – The untold story of history.

This is part 2 in Professor Iain Stewart’s series, “How Earth Made Us”.  I highly recommend you take an hour to watch it as it is superlative!!!

Our planet has amazing power, and yet that’s rarely mentioned in our history books. This series tells the story of how the Earth has influenced human history, from the dawn of civilisation to the modern industrial age. It reveals for the first time on television how geology, geography and climate have been a far more powerful influence on the human story than has previously been acknowledged. A combination of epic story telling, visually stunning camerawork, extraordinary locations and passionate presenting combine to form a highly original version of human history.

Youtube video, “How Earth Made Us – Water”, uploaded on May 16, 2011 – Of all our planet’s forces perhaps none has greater power over us than water.  For me water is the most magical force on earth.  The presence of water shapes, renews and nourishes our planet.  It’s our planet’s life blood, that pumps through it continuously…

Water

This time he explores our complex relationship with water. Visiting spectacular locations in Iceland, the Middle East and India, Iain shows how control over water has been central to human existence. He takes a precarious flight in a motorised paraglider to experience the cycle of freshwater that we depend on, discovers how villagers in the foothills of the Himalayas have built a living bridge to cope with the monsoon, and visits Egypt to reveal the secret of the pharaohs’ success. Throughout history, success has depended on our ability to adapt to and control constantly shifting sources of water.

Discover why societies have succeeded or failed, and how the environment has influenced every aspect of our history from art to industry, religion to war, world domination or collapse. Visiting some of the most iconic places on Earth, How Earth Made Us overturns preconceptions about our civilisations and our cultures to offer a new perspective on who we are today.

~Youtube video presented by Professor Iain Stewart ~

Link to ~ How Earth Made Us—a masterly BBC documentary

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2012/04/eart-a21.html

 
Our heartfelt thanks to Professor Stewart
for his exceptional accomplishment!

STOP NESTLE’S FREE EXTRACTION OF BC WATER

BC GROUNDWATER

Water is our most precious resource.  It nourishes us, helps grow our food, and keeps our cities and forests clean.  British Columbia is endowed with some of the best water resources in the world.

So why, instead of protecting our water, are we letting companies have it for free?

Today, news broke that Nestle, one of the world’s largest food and water companies, has been bottling upwards of 265 million liters of British Columbia water EVERY YEAR…for nothing.  That is a small lake each year, gone, sold for corporate profit.

This water belongs to the citizens or people of British Columbia, and is NOT meant to be exploited by a Corporation for profit.  Call on the BC Environmental Ministry and Provincial Government to immediately change the law and force Nestle to pay a fair price for the water it sells every year.  This can’t stand.

As of August 22, 2013 4:55 p.m. we have 5,412 signatures, help us get to 10,000.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION by clicking on the link below – MANY THANKS!!!

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/328/443/296/stop-nestles-free-extraction-of-bc-water/

NESTLE SIGNHere’s an excellent article on this topic ~

WATER SHOULD BE A ‘PUBLIC TRUST’…

http://www.theprovince.com/news/Wild+West+groundwater+Billion+dollar+company+extracting+drinking+water+free/8785227/story.html

RIVER OF LIGHT CELEBRATION ~ ALBERTA, CANADA

WEB SITE COLLAGE

RIVER OF LIGHT LOGOShifting and evolving as it travels to rivers throughout the world, the River of Light has gained local and international recognition through its ability to not only engage communities to participate in the work, but also to highlight the importance of river preservation and water conversation on a global scale.  The River of Light is a world touring art installation by Creatmosphere that combines floating lights, sound and new technologies to celebrate the rivers of the world through public art.

River of Light Art project on the Bow River in Calgary August 2010, Artist: Laurent Louyer.  Photo slideshow to start with video clip of colour changes starting at 1:31 and then a few more images.  Music by Roger Subiranan Mata, “Point of No Return”, available through a creative commons license on http://www.jemendo

RED DEER RIVER2013 marks the 100th birthday of the City of Red Deer and to celebrate this the Red Deer River will become the territory and stage for a series of daylight sculptural and sound installations and night-time light and video interventions that aim to create new Points of View for the community to discover and engage with their city and river.

Web: www.riveroflight.org
The River of Lights: Points of View has been commissioned by the
Central Alberta Historical Society for the Red Deer City Centennial.

Associated link ~http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/river-of-light

SOPHISTICATED GROUNDWATER MONITORING VIA SATELLITE

WATERCANADALOGOThe following excerpts are taken from Water Canada’s March/April 2013 article, “UNDERGROUND NETWORK – From sensors below the surface to satellites  somewhere in orbit, groundwater monitoring is becoming more  sophisticated”, by Erin Pehlivan.

HELEN APIO CHARITY.ORGHelen Apio is filled with joy as she collects clean water in her Northern Uganda village.  When she didn’t have water, she would walk to the nearest well—2.4 kilometres away—and wait in line with hundreds of other women, clutching two empty five-gallon water cans, anticipating stock.

BC GROUNDWATERCharity: water has helped women like Apio by introducing a unique water technology that detects groundwater in developing countries. Founded in 2006, charity: water’s first project was to install six wells in a Ugandan refugee camp.  They bought a GPS for $100, took it to Uganda, visited each project location and plotted six points on Google Maps, making the information and images public on their website.  Six years later, the charity has funded over 6,994 water projects in 20 countries serving over 2.5 million people with clean drinking waterCHARITY PUMP SENSORSThey have recently been allocated US$5 million for a pilot project via Google’s Global Impact Award to develop remote sensor technology specifically for groundwater.

So far, the charity has mapped each of its water projects to see how they function in real-time.  The remote sensor technology will help keep them posted on whether water is flowing at any of their projects, at any given time, anywhere in the world.

The efficient design of remote sensor technology means that individual community members don’t need to visit every project physically to ensure constant water flow.  These sensors manage time, budgets and resources with ease, allowing more time to be spent analyzing the actual water sample itself in the lab.

Below the surface: While real-time technology is growing more common throughout the water industry, groundwater applications are scarce.

RICHARDRichard Kolacz, president of Global Spatial Technology Solutions Inc. (GSTS), observes smart sensor capabilities that connect to groundwater sensors in Canada, allowing people to collect information from the sensors remotely.

GSTS LOGO2One Ontario conservation authority is already using one of GSTS’s water sensor prototypes on site.  Initially, conservation authorities collected information manually.  Now they’re able to collect it remotely.  “We’ve developed an interface – a means of connecting to a groundwater sensor— to collect information in a format that the conservation authority likes,” says Kolacz.  “Rather than waiting six months or more to collect data, they could have it back instantly.”

GROUNDWATER SENSORSThe data coming from groundwater sensors to conservation authorities allows them to monitor water quality and quantity, and helps them understand the health and use of the water.

What’s so important about monitoring water data?  The data could help First Nations communities in northern Ontario, according to Kolacz.  “We would have the ability to monitor key data points on potentially clean or waste water treatment plants, and provide opportunities to monitor the health and status of those facilities remotely,” he says.

Much like charity: water, the difficulty with GSTS’s prototype comes from having to train staff to manage facilities. The data still has to be analyzed, and the quality of that analysis depends upon a certain level of knowledge.

Please note:  I found the following YouTube video, published on Mar 27, 2013, that is directly related to the above information.  Mr. Kolacz speaks about GSTS’s most recent application regarding goundwater monitoring.  His presentation dealing with this topic runs from 3:20 to 7:30 on the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tEIb4z3YFe0#at=237

CHARITY SENSORS2Meanwhile, charity: water’s goal is to develop and install 4,000 low-cost remote sensors in existing and new water projects globally, all of which will transmit real-time data to the charity, its partners, and eventually to donors via status updates.  Canada can learn from this model. According to the 2010 Review and Assessment of Canadian Groundwater Resources, Management, Current Research Mechanisms and Priorities by theCCME LOGO Canadian Council of Ministers of the  Environment, practitioners in the field need access to organized groundwater data.  With projects like the ones charity: water and GSTS are piloting, that access can skyrocket.

SATELITEGroundwater is a valuable resource, but it is poorly understood and expensive to investigate. Incentives to effectively manage the resource are low. But respondents of the aforementioned review demand significant effort from the provincial government databases to provide up-to-date groundwater information accessible online. And once we embrace the new insights of cloud-based collaboration and networked sensor arrays, science-based policy will develop and advance, leading to more responsible water resource management and investments – especially when it comes to the murky and mysterious water that flows beneath us. Erin Pehlivan is a Toronto-based writer.

Related links ~

http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/earth-sciences/geography-boundary/remote-sensing/geospatial/1196

for Charity:water ~ http://washfunders.org/Blog/(offset)/30

CANADA ~ A WATER SOLUTIONS COUNTRY

WATER SOLUTIONS COUNTRY1

“A WATER SOLUTIONS COUNTRY –  Strategic steps for a more competitive water sector in Canada lead the way to global opportunities” – excerpts taken from the May/June issue of Water Canada by David Crane.

The availability and quality of water is the overarching challenge facing the global community in the 21st century. It is also Canada’s opportunity.

WORLD POPULATIONA world population that is projected to add 2.5 billion people by 2050, a global economy that is forecast to quadruple in this same period, the prospect of adding one billion people to the global middle class, and a sharp increase in the number of people in big cities will mean a an unprecedented demand for water. GLOBE WITH TAPAs well as more people, which will mean much greater need for clean water and sanitation, a bigger population with rising incomes means a much higher level of consumption of food, energy, natural resources, and industrial products—all of which will also increase the demand for water.

CLIMATE CHANGEAdd the expected impact of climate change on the distribution and availability of water, which could leave large numbers of people facing severe water stress, and the threats of drought and floods to food production, and it’s clear water is the most serious challenge we face. We can substitute batteries for oil in automobiles, but there is no substitute for water. So we face a water-stressed world.

WORLD WATER FORUMNeed, however, equals opportunity. The challenge is for Canada to contribute to water strategies and help the world meet the global water challenge. How do we utilize our strengths—the excellence of our engineering and technical Graduates, our proven academic research capabilities, and our innovative companies that can deliver water goods and services to build up a strong water sector—to generate new jobs and competitive companies while helping to meet the overarching global challenge?

WATER SOLUTIONS COUNTRY3

Steps for a world water strategy: First, Canadians need to raise the level of understanding, not only among policymakers but also among the wider public; that there is an enormous challenge facing the world and that there is also a significant opportunity for Canada, by strengthening our research base and the strength of our companies. This is the first great challenge—to identify our water champions who will provide the leadership to make Canada a water-solutions country. These champions must come not only from academia and our clean water companies but also from the user community, our municipalities, and businesses that need a safe and reliable water supply. Water users have a significant stake in a solutions strategy. OUTDOOR CANADAThere is the risk of complacency due to a widespread public assumption that Canada’s abundant water supply means we don’t face water challenges. Yet Canada itself faces challenges—to improve water quality and sanitation performance, meet the threats of droughts and floods in agricultural lands, ensure the efficient and sustainable use of water in energy and mining industries, meet the water needs of First Nations, and improve water efficiency and conservation technologies and practices in the economy and society. LIGHTBULBMeeting domestic challenges through innovative solutions will strengthen the research base and the capabilities and competitiveness of Canadian water companies. This means efforts to balance federal and provincial budgets must not come at the expense of research or improvements in water infrastructure. Cutting these investments would mean a weaker future Canadian economy. Research and infrastructure spending are investments in a more secure and sustainable future. Another challenge needs to be addressed: How do we grow more small companies into mid-size or large companies? Canada is very successful in starting companies, but many water companies are small and remain small. They face significant challenges in obtaining the capital needed to develop new products or services, pursue new domestic and foreign markets, build the management strengths they need for success, and scale up so that users and systems integrators in Canada and elsewhere are confident in using their products or services. Many promising smaller companies fail to make the transition to significant scale, which means they can become takeover targets by large multinational corporations seeking their proprietary technologies. While federal and provincial programs that support company technology development are important, we also need to find ways to strengthen the equity base of promising Canadian companies. It is equity rather than debt that enables companies to innovate and to pursue new products or markets.

There are many advantages in Canada, including a well-developed research base, a significant number of companies with proprietary technologies and experience in the global marketplace, easy access to the U.S. and Mexican markets (which have huge future water needs), universities and colleges that graduate high-quality engineers and technicians, and some well-targeted government programs to assist small and mid-size companies. Given these strengths, failing to capitalize on them to meet the enormous world need for water solutions would represent a huge lost opportunity for Canada.

DAVID CRANEDavid Crane is an award-winning Canadian writer and the author of Canada as the Water Solutions Country: Defining the Opportunities, a discussion paper published by the Blue Economy Initiative.

WATER IN EARTH’S NEXT EPOCH ~ ALARMING!!!

EARTH GRAPHIC COVER THE ECONOMIST JUNE 2011

Beautiful YouTube video,  ‘Water in the Anthropocene’, post on geek.com by May. 26, 2013 It’s not easy to visualize the global impact of modern man on our Earth. Fortunately, there’s this great video to fill in whatever gaps you may have.  It’s impossible to argue with the fact that modern man has impacted the world, but seeing, explaining, and understanding remains difficult. One way to do so would be to focus on the changes we have made that affect one of our most important natural resources, our water supply

EARTHWhen you think about everything in our world that needs water, and then think about how mankind has affected that resource on a global scale, the chances are high that you lack the whole picture. Fortunately, this short video on how we as humanity has affected water in the world today is here to help paint the global picture.

ANTHROPOCENE CHART

It is currently being debated whether we are currently living in or on the verge of the next epoch, the Anthropocene. Before now, the Earth was affected by natural forces and organic structures. It still is of course, but in our lifetime we have created structures and organized ourselves as civilizations that are now changing many of those natural forces and organic structures. It’s interesting to be able to see that kind of thing on a global scale, and wonder how the next generation of humanity will interact and change the planet.

STOERMERThe geological epoch we are currently in is formally known as the Holocene. Anthropocene is an informal term coined by Dr. Eugene F. Stoermer, who found Holocene to seem incorrect given the impact of man on the Earth. The Holocene is widely accepted to have started about 12,000 years ago, so it’s quite understandable that the developments humans have made over the past few hundred years alone would be sufficient to be considered the dawn of a new era, even a geological one.

2013 BONN CONFERENCE Links related to article:
More info at –
 

WATER CRISIS! ~ TIME TO SAVE WATER!

 TIME TO SAVE WATER

PERCENTAlthough our earth is made of 20% land and 80% water, 97% of the water is salt water and only 3% of the water is fresh waterHowever, 3% of water contains 2% frozen water, which means there is only 1% of the water we can use.     

CRISISWater crisis is becoming a more serious now. 36% of the world’s population lacks access to improved sanitation. 780 million people live without access to save drinking water.

SAFE WATER TO CROPMortality rates remain high without fresh, potable drinking water.

SANITATIONEach year 3.6 million people die from water related disease. It’s time to save water now.

UNESCO2UNESCO has predicted that by 2020 water shortage will be a serious worldwide problem.”

Let us take the global picture into account. As per a recent study, by the year 2020 water shortage will be a serious worldwide problem. Our water resources will not be sufficient anymore.

SAVE WATER2So an environmental approach is not only a good thing, it is necessary if we want our children to have water when they grow up.

What can we do? In fact, we can do more things to protect our planet.

CHART

Now here’s a topic that should be generating great interest around the globe – something not just to think about, but rather put into action.  In Spain they are definitely working in the right direction – stop the devastating loss of water. As an example, the image below shows the water loss in the Aral Sea over only a 50 year time frame.  This is alarming!

ARAL SEA

Utilizing a greywater system – eco friendly water conservation and solutions.  Greywater systems can help you save 35% to 40% on your annual water bill, and while saving money, you will also help save the environment and provide a better future for our children and their children to come. With this amount of savings, your Greywater Recycling System pays for itself.

http://www.lambourneproperties.com/eco_friendly_grey_water.php

 Eternally Pure –  Water Systems
5450 Canotek Road, Unit 66-67
Ottawa, Ontario K1J 9G5
613-742-0058

IMG_0212

http://visual.ly/it%E2%80%99s-time-save-water-now

CIELAP REPORT ~ “EMERGING CONTAMINANTS”

WHAT MUST WE DO
TO PRESERVE
WHAT CAN WE DO TO PRESERVE THIS???

OUR MOST PRECIOUS RESOURCE???

The following excerpts are taken from a report, “There is No Away: Emerging Contaminants Detected in Water” which was published in the March/April, 2006 edition of Canadian Water Treatment magazine.

CIELAP ICONA report from the Canadian Institute For Environmental Law and Policy (CIELAP) released during National Pharmacists Awareness Week emphasizes the need for the Canadian GREAT LAKES MAPgovernment and industry to invest mores resources to research the effects of “emerging contaminants: in Canada’s waterways”.  The report makes 11 recommendations about ways to reduce the amount of, and their effects on, one of Canada‘s most valuable resources.

ANNE MITCHELLAnne Mitchell, executive director of CIELAP, said the release of the report was planned to coincide with the industry’s national convention because there are a number of issues related to increasingDISPOSE DRUGS environmental contamination by pharmaceuticals and personal care products.  She was also careful to commend pharmacist for their efforts in keeping unused and wasted drugs out of the water.

SUSAN HOLTZThe report, There is No Away: Emerging Contaminants Detected in Water, was written by Susan Holtz, a policy consultant to CIELAP who  writes on issues related to sustainable development, water and energy.  CIELAP is a not-for-profit research and educational institute dedicated to environmental law, policy analysis and reform.

In writing her  report, Holtz examined the issued of “emerging USGEOLOGICAL SURVEYcontaminants” – a term that originated in a U.S. Geological Survey report.  It refers to the  presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (collectively know as PPCPs) and endocrine-disrupting substances (EDSl) in the Canadian water system.  Holtz warns that the contaminants entering surface, ground and drinking water can have serious environmental and health consequences.  One of the biggest concerns is the issue of resistance to antibiotics and hormonal imbalances due to higher concentrations of EDS.  Of major concern, she says, if the increased use of antibiotics for both the human and animal population.  In Canada, there were 326.2 million prescriptions filled from July 2001 to August 2002.

EMERGING CONTAMINANTS

In farming, Holtz notes that antibiotics are no longer being used singularly to treat sick animals; they’re also being used in the form of hormones, growth promoters and for illness prevention.  In her research, she determined the increased use of drugs in veterinary medicine, farming practices and aquaculture has decreased the effectiveness of the use of antibiotics.  The use of hormones in both animals and humans has had a negative effect on reproduction, causing the feminization of fish, wiping out an entire talhead minnow population in Ontario.  EDSs have also contributed to deformities in fish, birds and wildlife…Building on study results conducted in the U.S. and Europe, Holtz says it’s time for Canada to get more involved in the issue of contaminants in water.  She says the Canadian government and Canadian organizations don’t have enough information “even to develop a strategy that can effectively” determine the effects of contaminants in water… 
Here are a few YouTube videos relevant to this article:

~ Pharmaceuticals ~

~ Disposing of your Medications ~

~ Pharmaceutical Products In Our Water PSA ~

In addition to research, Holtz said a focus on human behaviour and providing more information to the public in order to encourage better choices are also important elements of social change.

WORLD WATER DAY 2013 VIDEO – A MUST SEE!

WORLD W DAY 2013

I came across a remarkable video, “World Water Day 2013″, posted by Haruna Akashi to YouTube.  Nako Akashi, a young 15 year old student in Japan produced and narrates the video herself.  I’m so impressed with Nako’s work that I feel her insight on water’s impact on our world, should be shared.

Nako is a junior high school student who enjoys music, painting, designing and photography. The devastation of the March 11, 2011 tsunami in Japan had a profound effect on Nako and she says, ” It’s time for us to help the water. The power of just one person may seem very little, but it all counts – one for all – all for one. I believe this is the international rule for everyone.”

My comments to Nako on her video: ‘Congratulations, Nako, on your remarkable video.  I feel your work is award worthy!!! I’m so impressed that I am going to present your video on my blog to celebrate World Water Day 2013.  Best of luck in all your future endeavours.  You are a wonderful ambassador for Japan as a young person with deep-felt compassion and vision.  You will find my blog on WordPress as Rainsoftottawa.’

Nako’s twitter page ~
href=”https://twitter.com/superduperpuper”>https://twitter.com/superduperpuper

Nako’s website where she has posted her photos ~ http://bitterbutter123.deviantart.com/

THE DEADLY CANADIAN GOLD RUSH!

GOLD RUSH

The following are excerpts taken from the Jan/Feb issue of Water Canada magazine, “How is mining’s legacy affecting water in Canada’s north?” by Mia Bennett

With pickaxes and pans in hand, tens of thousands of people flooded the Yukon in 1896 in search of gold in its snowy creeks.
I’ve included two really great videos on the Alaska (Klondike) gold rush at the end of this blog.
GOLD RUSH DIAMOND YELLOWKNIFE3Three years later, the rush came to an abrupt end as miners left for Alaska. Fast forward to 1991, when diamonds were discovered in the Northwest Territories’ (NWT’s) Slave Geological Province. This discovery set off a mining boom in northern Canada that continues today. According to the Mining Association of Canada, companies are expected to invest $140 billion over the next ten years in search of minerals like diamonds, gold, and iron, primarily in GOLD RUSH7Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, but also in the Yukon. In the barren, remote expanse of Canada’s circumpolar region -
only 100,000 people live across the three territories – oversight and regulation is difficult. This is particularly problematic as climate change renders many current mining standards inadequate. Lakes and streams scattered across the tundra are vulnerable to destruction, leachate, and tailings. As the rush for northern metals and minerals continues, good planning and tough oversight by mining companies, indigenous stakeholders and government are necessary to protect water resources.

Damage done – Mine construction can wreak havoc before the by-products of mining even have a chance to pollute the environment. In 1998, BHP Billiton opened the Ekati Diamond Mine, Canada’s first combined underground and surface diamond mine, in the NWT’s Lac de Gras area. GOLD RUSH DIAMOND MINETo reach the diamond-strewn kimberlite pipes sitting underneath shallow crater lakes, the company dewatered and fully or partially impacted nineteen lakes and additional streams. The company was also permitted to store rocks and manage pit water in Desperation Pond, used by Arctic grayling (a freshwater fish) for spawning, rearing, forage, and overwintering.

CDN FISHERIES AND OCEANSWhile the company paid Fisheries and Oceans Canada $1.5 million to recreate lost lake habitat, the new lakes did not equal the original ones in health and biodiversity. In one artificial habitat, colder stream water and paltrier vegetation resulted in Arctic grayling that had, on average, less than half as much mass as their counterparts in natural streams. Northern fish species reproduce and grow slowly and are especially sensitive to pollutants, making lake destruction even more harmful than in the south. Moreover, many fish stocks provide commercial value to fishermen and nutritional value to indigenous peoples…MINING WATCH CANADARandy Hart, Mining Watch Canada’s program coordinator, suggests that an alternative, though more expensive, way to deal with tailings might be to store them on land in a cement-like, hardened form. “This allows you to have a close to walk-away situation, where you aren’t also destroying a lake ecosystem,” he says.

Changing paradigms – GOLD RUSH DIAMOND MINE LOGO Indigenous pressure has helped enact stricter oversight of mines. During negotiations over Ekati, First Nations organizations got BHP Billiton to agree to fund the creation of an Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency (IEMA) to oversee their management of the surrounding environment. BHP Billiton also developed a Watershed Adaptive Management Plan. When the IEMA discovered that nearby Kodiak Lake had begun eutrophying due to sewage deposition, making oxygen levels dangerously low for fish, the company was asked to aerate the lake. The fish were able to survive another season. When oxygen levels dropped a second time, the company began depositing its sewage elsewhere. While adaptive management requires consistent environmental monitoring, problems can often be stopped before they get out of hand…CAPSTONE MINING Regulations are nothing without enforcement. “Recently, we discovered that Capstone Mining was told by Yukon Government Client Services & Inspections that they were allowed to contravene their water license,” says Karen Baltgailis, executive director of the Yukon YUKON CONSERVATION SOCIETYConservation Society. She doesn’t think that any environmental damage occurred, but still has worries. “The fact that our regulators can’t be depended upon to ensure that mining does not cause impacts to our water is a really big concern.” Hart observes that in Nunavut, while the land claims agreement specifies a regional monitoring program, instead there is what he calls a “hodge-podge of project-specific monitoring that goes on based on company needs as opposed to broader, territory-wide needs.” He adds that the same could be said largely for other regions of the north. Hart believes that if a regional baseline monitoring organization were instituted, that would actually provide a “huge advantage” to companies, which otherwise have to start from scratch each time when considering cumulative impacts and regional issues. While weak enforcement is a harder problem to tackle than the lack of monitoring, even when violations are discovered, the fines are often not very high. FAY LAKEIn 2008, 4.5 million litres of processed kimberlite overflowed a containment wall at Etaki, flooding the nearby tundra and frozen Fay Lake. CBC News reported that BHP Billiton might have to pay “hefty fines of up to $100,000”— pennies compared to the company’s profits…The dangers – Mine drainage –  A bigger hazard to aquatic ecosystems is acid mine drainage, which occurs when water comes into contact with sulphide bearing rocks or tailings. The resulting sulphuric acid oxidizes metals like copper and zinc, rendering the water metal bearing and acidic. Acid mine drainage is especially a problem in underground mines. These are often located below the water table, so water has to be continually pumped out. Once a mine is abandoned, pumping often ceases and allows leachwater to flow out. Pollution of groundwater sources is risky in places like Yukon, where aquifers underlay two-thirds of the territory. Whereas pollution of surface water can sometimes be contained, contaminated groundwater can spread extensively. Fortunately, in many northern underground mines such as Nunavut’s closed Polaris Zinc Mine, permafrost prevents acid mine drainage, as all the surrounding water is frozen in the rocks and soil. But as temperatures climb, intrusion of water into underground mines with sulfuric rocks could become problematic… Threats to oceans  – At the same time as melting permafrost is hindering mining on land, melting sea ice is creating new opportunities – and risks – at sea. MARY RIVEROn Baffin Island, Nunavut, the planned Mary River Iron Ore Mine would use nine ice breaking freighters year-round to transport iron ore through the Northwest Passage, potentially disturbing the shore, icepack, and marine mammals. Hart asserts, “It’s the most significant marine transportation project that’s ever been proposed for the Canadian Arctic, massively increasing shipping traffic. Along with shipping comes chronic low-level pollution from small oil spills and bilge water. We often focus on massive spills and shipwrecks, but from my understanding, a significant amount of oil and contaminants is released into the marine environment on an ongoing basis outside of major catastrophes.”…

After the gold rush – HANDS WITH GOLD NUGGETSLike the gold rush a century ago, the current boom will end one day, too, and proper de-commissioning plans need to be prepared. There are 10,000 abandoned mines across all of Canada in various states of disrepair. The grandiose names of contaminated sites in the north represent ghostly boom towns of decades past: Discovery Mine, Giant Mine, Port Radium Mine. At various sites, mining has left behind a wasteland of radioactive tailings, cyanide-laced water, and sediment plumes…The Canadian Arctic is so sparsely populated and so far from most people’s minds that the adage, “out of sight, out of mind,” too often rings true, especially once a mine is closed. If an operator declares bankruptcy, however, the costs of decommissioning can be passed on to the taxpayers, hitting closer to home…The mining industry has demonstrated a more progressive approach to water management than in the early twentieth century. This is in part thanks to the involvement of indigenous people’s and stronger government regulations. For all its faults, Agnico-Eagle serves as an example of one company that has put forth some efforts to reduce its impact on the environment. Connell notes that all of its operations now require water management strategies…

Harmonizing economy, environment, and technology – Given the region’s low population base and lack of alternative industries like agriculture or manufacturing, mining plays an important role in northern economic development. Profits and water quality, however, do not need to be a zero-sum game. Technology now exists to make operations safer for the environment.

GOLD RUSH LAKESMoreover, in the territories, development has generally proceeded hastily without an eye towards long-term sustainability. It’s easily forgotten that mining is temporary, while both humans and nature will rely on surrounding waters indefinitely. One day, the temperature could rise high enough that even precautions like Meadowbank’s “worst-case scenario” tailings cover are inadequate. But in the near future, if the right balance is struck between conservation and development, we can avoid a legacy of overflowing tailings ponds and acidic rivers and instead enable clean, productive northern waters and fisheries. The consequences of not doing so will far outlast any profits.

1898 Alaska Klondike Gold Rush Story, Dawson City, Yukon River, published on Oct 26, 2012 by Jeffrey Martin ~ Segment of a short 1950s film that was called ‘City of Gold’ about Dawson City during the Klondike Gold Rush in the Alaska / Yukon Canada area. This is the first half of a prior posted segment that can be used with the Alaska Goldmine ice-breaker class exercise.

The Klondike Gold Rush: Photographs from 1896-98, uploaded on Apr 17, 2008 ~ This spectacular video is based on the best-selling book “The Klondike Gold Rush: Photographs from 1896-1899.” by Graham Wilson. This is the mother lode of the north – a stunning record of the last great gold rush.