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Environmental Protection & Preservation


Water Activist and Environmental Educator Resumes his Epic Cross Continental Canoeing Adventure


On May 5th, 2007, Seth Wotten will leave Kenora, Ontario to resume the Water for Future Generations Expedition. This is a cross continental solo canoe journey to raise awareness about water related environmental issues and inspire people to take action to protect our water resources. Wotten is canoeing from Montreal, Quebec to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories over the course of 2006, 2007, and 2008. During his travels, he has been suggesting ways to take action for our water, promoting environmental campaigns, and making observations about the waterways.

While paddling from Montreal to Kenora in 2006, Wotten stayed afloat in the big water of Lake Superior, defended his food from wild animals, and spent 4 months by himself without going insane. This year, he will be crossing Manitoba and Saskatchewan to end up in Fort McMurray, Alberta by the beginning of September. Once he passes Lake Winnipeg, he will be traveling mostly upstream on the Saskatchewan, Sturgeon Weir, Churchill, and Clearwater Rivers.

Wotten would like to see the federal government take leadership with a Canadian water act that recognizes the right to water (a concept which 97% of Canadians supported in a 2004 Ipsos-Reid Poll) and bans the bulk export of water. "Unfortunately, the government has been going in the opposite direction," says Wotten. "They have ignored public opinion by consistently voting against the right to water at the United Nations. They will be holding discussions with the US and Mexico regarding potential water exports later this month." The three countries are in the beginning stages of negotiating the Security and Prosperity Partnership to further break down barriers for trade of resources between the three countries. "There should be some public consultation before these talks continue," says Wotten. "We should not be selling water to people living in the desert so they can fill their swimming pools."

Another issue of concern for water is the regulation of toxic chemicals that are not only in industrial effluent but present in everyday consumer products such as household cleaners, cosmetics, and even baby bottles. "The government should ban chemicals that have been proven to be harmful or at least require that the manufacturers of these products list the ingredients on the labels," says Wotten.

Wotten is working to gain support for some environmental campaigns that are focusing on these issues. The Council of Canadians' Water Campaign is lobbying the federal government to recognize the right to water and create a national water act. Environmental Defence's Toxic Nation Campaign is working to persuade the government that we need tighter regulation of toxic chemicals.

Since he has financed most of the expedition out of his own pocket, Wotten is looking for donations to help him cover his expenses. Information about making a donation can be found at http://www.wffg.ca/donate.php.

Visit the expedition website for more information http://www.wffg.ca/. Read Seth's message about the importance of water and his recommendations of how to take action on the "Take Action" page at http://www.wffg.ca/take_action.php. For more information about the Council of Canadians' Water Campaign, visit http://www.canadians.org/water/index.html. For more information about Environmental Defence's Toxic Nation Campaign, visit http://www.environmentaldefence.ca/toxicnation/home.php.





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