Kat Hartwig at the conference. Submitted photo

Living Lakes Canada at global water conference in Spain

Columbia Valley’s Kat Hartwig, executive director attends international forum

Submitted by Nicole Trigg

Living Lakes Canada

Members of the Living Lakes Canada team recently attended a Living Lakes International Conference in Valencia, Spain. This was a powerful experience that provided a valuable opportunity to listen, learn, and share experiences around water stewardship, especially around wetlands and climate change impacts. This conference was the 20th anniversary celebration of Living Lakes and was attended by over 200 delegates from 41 countries.

Living Lakes Canada was represented at the conference by Nelson, B.C. residents Claire Pollock-Hall, Avery Deboer-Smith and Jayme Jones, and Squamish resident Raegan Mallinson (formerly of Nelson).

“These four young women represented the Columbia Basin and spoke to an international delegation about their water stewardship work, sharing what they’re doing at a grassroots regional and national level,” said Kat Hartwig, Living Lakes Canada executive director, who also attended the conference. “Climate change adaptation measures for wetlands and all the species that depend on them are a global problem and presented a common bond for all the participants.”

The Living Lakes Canada team learned about climate change impacts and water systems around the world, from peat extraction in England releasing carbon emissions to the mining impacts on lakes and wetlands in Mongolia, to how climate change and population pressures have impacted water quality and invasive species resulting in the population decline the manatee population in Malawi, Africa.

There were many positive and innovative solutions and collaborations presented. One example was how an organization in India trained citizen scientists to monitor and assist mangrove reforestation, as well as developed economic incentives to help support the local economies. An organization from Colombia shared success stories about cost-effective green filters developed to improve water quality in locations around the world. The young delegates left the conference feeling more connected and empowered due to support from the global Living Lakes network, which connects concerned and engaged water stewards from around the world who are addressing water and climate issues.

“The Living Lakes Canada team will continue to work with and learn from water champions from other countries as well as share our citizen science success stories that have taken place right here in the Columbia Basin,” said Hartwig. “We were very grateful that Kicking Horse Coffee helped support our participation in this important international wetlands conference,” she concluded.

To learn more about Living Lakes Canada’s projects, visit www.livinglakescanada.ca.

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