Let’s protect and save it before we destroy it

For decades, we have received many hints from David Suzuki and other conversationalists about how we should all

For decades, we have received many hints from David Suzuki and other conversationalists about how we should all be protecting and preserving our precious and precarious environment and lifestyles, but have we really paid all that much attention?? Pollution in so many wicked forms has become one of our worst enemies, and has made our lands, forests, and waterways vulnerable to floods, fires, drought and all sorts of nature’s wrath and a great deal of totally unnecessary and preventable destruction.

Have we cut down too many trees, have we over-fished our pristine and once fresh lakes and rivers, have we disrupted the life-long patterns of nature’s creatures, and are we abusing the natural resources, amenities, and beauty of the great outdoors that have always been ours for the pleasure and the taking? I read with horror last week that once again a dreaded infestation of blue-green algae has taken over several Alberta lakes already this summer, shutting down many sports and recreation activities for countless families during this hectic holiday season. A noted University of Alberta Biology Professor has stated that most lakes in central Alberta and beyond have increased two-to three fold in phosphorus inputs since the mid-20th century, and are becoming more susceptible every year.

“Society is too-weak-willed to deal with the problem”, David Schindler firmly stressed. “Less development, less use of fertilizer, and more protection of lakeshores are what we need.” However, he said, humans continue to do a lot to activate the increase of phosphorous into the lakes, which will eventually cause the blue-green algae blooms to occur and thrive more frequently. The main causes of this rapidly growing and dangerous problem in our lakes are: septic tanks, land clearing for cottages and agriculture, fertilizing fields, lawns and gardens, and pet and livestock excrement. A 2012 study published by 16 scientists in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences found the highest national concentration of microcystins in many of OUR magnificent Alberta lakes.

People of any ages who come in contact or ingest this polluted water may experience skin irritation, rashes, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and possible serious ongoing side effects. Sounds pretty awful doesn’t it, but what are we going to do about it? Before it’s too late, perhaps we should all lobby our municipalities and politicians at all levels to put more immediate strict legislation or regulations in place that will not only protect our lakes from unwanted pollution, but also to assure the ongoing safety and enjoyment of those citizens young and old who have every right to make use of our precious natural environment, now, and long into our future.

How else can we protect what is ours?

● Recycling has taken a lot out of the over-used garbage dumps, and returns benefits for items that have already been used, but can be revitalized to be used again for many useful purposes. This includes cardboard, paper, tin, plastic, glass, bottles, milk and juice cartons, and many others that can be picked up at your front door by the local blue box program (Rising Sun Club House) or sorted into bins at the depots.

● After our families have had so much fun at all of our great indoor or outdoor year round amenities such as parks, sports fields , campgrounds, forests, and all the rest, it is a courtesy to clean up the leftovers and place them in the garbage cans so they can also be enjoyed by those who follow. As I wander around the neighbourhoods, it is great to see how everyone has done such a magnificent job with their yards, and hopefully that dedication and effort is ‘catching on’ throughout our community.

● So crucial to be aware of at this time of the year is the fire hazard. Many fires are started by lightning, but others are caused by human carelessness. This can include failing to completely put out our campfires, just tossing a cigarette away anywhere or butting it out in garbage cans, planters, or other places where it could later spark a dangerous and often deadly blaze.

Please enjoy your holidays and your leisure time, thank you for showing respect for our precious and delicate environments, and for encouraging and applauding others for doing the same. Where-ever we go we should enjoy it to the fullest, and then strive to leave it as we found it, hopefully in its pristine and naturally finest.

Have a great week, all of you.