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We are 100: Lake Huron is 100th member in the global network Living Lakes

17.08.12

The global lake network “Living Lakes“ coordinated by Global Nature Fund (GNF) welcomes the 100th new member

Germany, August 2012: 14 years after its launch, the network “Living Lakes“ has grown to 102 members. Each lake is represented in the network through a local or national nature conservation organization. The network was brought to life in 1998 by four founding members, Lake Constance in Central Europe, Lake Biwa in Japan, Lake St. Lucia in South Africa and Mono Lake in California, USA. Since then the worldwide partnership has grown continuously with new lakes and members that joined the network on all continents.

The 100th new member, Lake Huron, is one of the five Great Lakes in North America, situated between Canada and USA. Huron is the most important source of drinking water for USA and Canada. The lake demonstrates that only international agreements can ensure a proper protection of water bodies. Unfortunately, Canada declared it’s withdrawal from the Kyoto-Protocol in December 2011. Since then, a number of grass root initiatives started by citizens and NGOs evolved striving for the protection of Canada’s precious water ecosystem.

Environmentalists unified

Against the background of the obvious threats to lakes in Canada, the Canada based environmental organizations Wildsight and Lake Winnipeg Foundation - both of them are members in the Living Lakes network for many years now - have launched the Living Lakes Canada Network. The aim of the partnership is to support nature and conservation activities through the exchange of experiences and expertise and global cooperation. The network has grown to eighth active members fighting for the protection of the fresh water resources in Canada. Lakes such as Huron, Winnipeg and Ontario as well as important rivers and their catchments such as Skeena, Athabasca and Columbia are members in the network.

Worldwide support for lakes is needed. One example are the dramatic environmental problems in the catchment of the Athabasca in the province Alberta, a region well known for the massive extraction of oil sands with a high demand of water and energy. Environmental standards are in jeopardy here. The destruction caused by the oil sand industry threatens natural ecosystems such as lakes, rivers, peatlands and boreal forests at and alarming scale.

Climate change effects and nutrient enrichment are the main reasons for the ecological problems at Lake Winnipeg. Against the background of the dramatic algae growth at the world’s 10th largest lake, Canadian environmentalists demand for immediate and effective action.

 "It is of utmost importance that Canadians be engaged in the protection of lakes and wetlands, especially in light of recent changes made by our federal government to the environmental legislation that once protected freshwater ecosystems in Canada", says Heather Leschied, Wildsight staff and spokesperson of Living Lakes Canada. A good example for the effective international collaboration is a global campaign that Living Lakes Canada started a couple of months ago. The Harper government announced to shut down the research institute ELA (Experimental Lakes Area). This would result in a significant loss of regional and national knowledge on nature and environment related issues. Within a few weeks, hundreds of mails and letters have been sent to harper underlining that Canada’s good environmental reputation is at risk.

“That Lake Huron joined the network Living Lakes as the hundredth member does not only make us proud. It also demonstrates that the protection of lakes and wetlands has eventually achieved a global awareness reflecting the importance these valuable water ecosystems play for the survival of millions of people as well as the protection of endangered species“, Jörg Dürr-Pucher, member of the GNF Board of Directors, summarizes the achievements of the network.

Since its launch, the network is being supported by various private sector companies, amongst them Daimler, Karcher and Osram as well as Ministries and the European Union. Further information on the member lakes and the various national Living Lakes networks can be found at: www.globalnature.org/english/

Contact:

Global Nature Fund (GNF)

Fritz-Reichle-Ring 4

78315 Radolfzell, Germany
Phone: +49 - (0) 77 32 - 99 95 - 0

Telefax: +49 - (0) 77 32 - 99 95 - 88

E-Mail: info@globalnature.org

Web page: www.globalnature.org