Our mayor says he is waiting for the science.
We are telling Kelly Linton he has waited long enough. Further delay represents an abandonment of his responsibility to protect water for his children and ours. There is sufficient science right now to say ‘No!’ to Nestle.
The mayor knows that our local studies are all short term – for 20 years, a single generation – while we insist on planning for many generations into the future. The current studies are focused on the municipal system up until 2041. There are no studies, therefore there can be no scientific evidence, that will tell us how to protect water in the long term. We know enough now to make decisions for the protection of our water. The time for action is now.
The mayor knows that if all of us here tonight had not pushed hard for the Tier 3 study, a decision on the Middlebrook well would have been based on the now outdated and wrong science of 2015. It would have been based on wrong information. He knows that the bedrock geology has been completely reinterpreted in the last 3 years and the interpretation in our area is still not finished. Certainly, significant uncertainty about Ontario’s groundwater resource continues, and climate change science is progressing just as fast, changing by leaps and bounds. Nevertheless, we know enough, right now, to act decisively and with confidence.
Climate scientists warn us that Canada’s hydrological cycle is changing and accelerating. Increased condensation is adding 7% more water vapour to the atmosphere, which is changing the way hydrology works. More severe storms and more severe droughts are the result. Climate science is trying to catch up but the changes are evolving at a faster rate.
We have entered a new normal. The only thing that we can now reasonably predict about meteorological impacts on our fresh water is that they are going to become increasingly less predictable. Uncertainty is the new context in which we must look at water management. Our only certainty is knowing that we have to manage our water resources differently down the road.
The other science that’s changing really fast deals with plastic in the environment.
Every litre of bottled water produces 2 pieces of plastic waste. Our blue dot, as we all know, is choking in plastic, plastic which is not biodegradable. No wonder this crisis has become a major global issue. We know that a great proportion of the plastic detritus ends up in rivers and oceans. Who has not see pictures of beaches and islands where plastic garbage has washed ashore? Who has not seen carcasses of sea birds killed by ingesting plastic waste? Who was not heartbroken to learn, in September of 2017, that British scientists have discovered plastic lying on ice floes in the Arctic ocean? We know enough to act now.
We know that we are drinking plastic. We know that plastic fibres have been found in tap water around the world. We know that even more plastics are found in bottled water than in tap water. We know that in March of this year the World Health Organization launched a review into the potential health risks to humans as these particles are carried throughout the body. We do not know precisely what the effect will be on various organs and tissues. But we know enough to know that allowing this disgrace to continue represents a monumental moral and ethical failure of will.
Because the emerging science of plastics is brand new there are no regulations on micro plastics or even agreed upon methods of testing them. There is no way of knowing, when they occur in drinking water, if the concentrations are dangerous to health. The research to answer the questions simply does not yet exist.
What we do know is that it is time to act. We know that allowing the removal of pristine drinking water for the purpose of placing it in plastic bottles represents a stunning demonstration of irresponsibility on the part of both the company and on those entrusted with the authority to prevent that company’s heinous abuse of our water.
What we do know is that today’s science is not going to answer tomorrow’s questions. The waiting for the science and the evidence line is not acceptable.
You know enough, Mr. Mayor.
The time to act is now, Mr. Mayor.
All of us here this evening, speaking with one voice on behalf of all who live on this beautiful planet declare: