Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace


Posted by strattof on June 2, 2011

Water is the gift of life, the essence of life. Every organism needs water to survive.

We cannot live without clean water to drink.

We cannot eat without water to grow our food.

Our bodies are about 60% water.

The water we drink may have circulated through an ancient forest, through Gandhi or a polar bear.

Water connects each one of us with the whole world, with all living beings, past, present, and future, with earth and sky.


The perception that Canada has an unlimited supply of water is false. According to a 2010 Statistics Canada study, the water supply in southern Canada, where 98% of the population lives, fell by 8.5% from 1971-2005.


  • The Alberta tar sands (soon coming to Saskatchewan) are the single biggest contributor to water loss and contamination in Canada. It takes up to 5 barrels of water to produce one barrel of oil. Much of this water cannot be re-used because it is so badly contaminated. Stored in deadly toxic ponds, it leaks into the Athabasca River, threatening people and fish downstream.
  • Climate change, more accurately called “climate upheaval,” is affecting water quantity and hence food production. Scientists warn that for the Prairies, climate upheaval will bring swings between extreme events like flooding and massive rainfall, on one hand, and heat waves, droughts, and wildfires, on the other. It will also bring tornadoes as oceans warm, affecting air currents. In all such cases, food production will drop off.
  • Bottled water is draining water supplies around the world and clogging landfills with plastic. Canada now exports more bottled water than it imports, selling its spring and ground water all over the world, mostly for the profit of foreign-owned bottled water companies.
  • Individually, Canadians are water gluttons. Second only to Americans in per capita consumption, Canadians use 343 litres per person per day. That’s twice as much as the French and eight times more than the Danes. Whole households in poor countries use an average of 119 litres of water per day. Canadians flush more than that down the toilet every day. And it’s pure drinking water!


Our total water footprint should (but doesn’t) include the water used in producing the food we eat and the manufactured stuff we buy: 

  • 1 pound of beef takes up to 19,000 litres of water
  • 1 pound of carrots requires 125 litres of water
  • Assembling 1 car uses up to 150,000 litres of water
  • Producing 1 plastic container for bottled water uses 7 litres of water
  • 1 sheet of paper requires 10 litres of water     



 1. Adopt a water-wise building code requiring the following:

  • greywater hookup in new buildings (using shower water in toilets, for exampl
  • low-flow toilets
  • rain barrels or cisterns to save water for use in gardens or for car-washing
  • solar panels

2. To counter climate change and its impact on water, invest massively in fossil-fuel conservation measures, such as public transit.  


●Turn off the tap ●Install low-flow toilets and shower heads ●Shower less ●Save a flush by saving bath water, kitchen rinsing or ”running to get cold” water, for use in the toilet ●Create a low-water lawn ●Grow vegetables using water from a rain barrel ●Cut out lawn pesticides to avoid poisoning underground water


  • Buy less STUFF (all STUFF is manufactured with water 
  • Cut the intake of meat, especially beef, in half
  • Drink tap, not bottled, water
  • Use the dishwasher and washing machine ONLY when there is a full load. 
  • Adopt fossil-fuel conservation measures, such as taking the bus, turning off the air conditioner, and installing solar panels 
  • Speak out against the development of tar sands in Saskatchewan


  • Influence the groups you are in to take water action 
  • Join an organization that is working on water and climate change issues. Such organizations include the Council of Canadians, the Sierra Club, and Oxfam.

SUNDAY JUNE 5: World Environment Day


Make every day World Environment Day

by taking action for water


  • Flow: For Love of Water DVD (2008) 84 minutes. Available at Regina Public Library.
  •  Water on the Table DVD (2010) featuring water warrior Maude Barlow, 79 minutes. Available at Regina Public Library.
  •  The Story of Bottled Water DVD (2010) 8 minutes. Free online.

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