On April 22, we celebrated Earth Day by hosting a free screening of The Story of Plastic. More than 100 people signed up to see this seething expose uncovering the ugly truth behind the current global plastic pollution crisis. You can see segments of the film on YouTube.
Supporters gave us thoughtful feedback and exciting ideas for action!
In the discussion that followed, we shared ideas for responding to the plastic crisis here at home. We also received great feedback and ideas via email. We’ve synthesized that information in the document below.
Where do we go from here?
OWSAG will draw on those comments and ideas to plan upcoming actions to address the plastics crisis in our own communities.
Let's work together!
We invite you to stay connected to OWSAG, to hear about our plans and possibly get involved in our work. It’s easy, scroll down and sign up for our updates. We’ll let you know about our meetings and next steps.
And if you haven’t had a chance to send us your thoughts yet, we’d still like to hear from you! Please email us your ideas and thoughts or post a message on our Facebook page.
Since a protest on April 22, 1970 against environmental exploitation, people around the world have celebrated this day to mark the need to protect Mother Earth. The WaterCare Allies of First United Church offered and coordinated A Time of Prayer for the Earth at 10:00 a.m. to celebrate Earth Day. Everyone was invited to join in this unifying experience of Sacred Activism.
A Time of Prayer for the Earth
We invite you to sit quietly and clear your mind of the news that swirls around you.
Slowly, take a few deep breaths....breathe in, breathe out....repeat five times.
Listen for the call to action to heal the Earth.
Listen for ways you can walk the talk.
Listen for the ways Mother Earth is responding at this time of crisis,
as we are all isolating to keep ourselves and others safe.
Listen to the reduced noise levels with less traffic....
Listen to the songs of the birds, the babbling of the river rapids, the wind whispering in the trees.
Listen to these natural sounds that were previously been drowned out in our busyness.
Take a moment to be filled with gratitude
for the incredible sounds of nature as we sit together in silence.
Continue to breathe deeply and slowly.
Bring to mind those things that come from the Earth that sustain us:
The air we breathe
The water we drink
The food we eat
The materials that build our homes
The clothing that keeps us warm
All of these come from the life-giving planet we call home.
Take this moment to silently thank the Earth
for all that you appreciate in your life.
Thank you for sharing this time with us to honour Mother Earth.
OWSAG is thrilled to announce that 55 community businesses and organizations have already stepped up to provide tap water as a blueW partner. That means 50 more locations across the city where people can refill their water bottles with a healthy, high quality alternative to water in single-use plastic bottles.
And we’re just getting started. Volunteers continue reaching out in neighbourhoods across the city, and the positive (even enthusiastic) reception we’re getting gives us great confidence we’ll meet or beat our goal of 200 partners in 2020.
Check the map and directory to see which businesses in your neighbourhood have signed up. Don’t see your favourite neighbourhood businesses? Why not ask them to consider being part of the blueW network next time you visit? They can register directly, or reach out to OWSAG and we’d be happy to answer any questions they might have.
We'd love your help getting the word out and growing the network of Ottawa blueW partners. By helping in your neighbourhood to sign up new blueW refill locations you help reduce single-use plastic bottle waste, support the hard work of local municipal water suppliers, make water more accessible to the public, raise awareness about water issues, and help your community achieve its sustainability goals. Find out more about OWSAG’s blueW campaign and how you can help.
The Ottawa Water Study/Action Group is excited to be partnering with blueW to get your favourite community businesses to promote tap water!
blueW is a unique community-based program dedicated to promoting municipal tap water as a healthy, easily accessible alternative to purchasing sugary, bottled drinks. blueW provides mapped details on where to find clean, free public and commercial sources to fill your reusable bottle without compelling people to make additional purchases.
Community participation is the most important part of blueW. By helping in your neighbourhood to sign up new blueW refill locations you help reduce plastic bottle waste, support the hard work of local municipal water suppliers, make water more accessible to the public, raise awareness about water issues, and help your community achieve its sustainability goals.
Learn how you can take part here!
In early January, 2020, three representatives from Rebel News, an extreme right wing organization, visited the Xtinction Rebellion camp outside the Prime Minister's Office. Ann Cognito, a 50-year-old woman who walked from Calgary to Ottawa, established the camp outside the Prime Minister's Office in Ottawa on December 5, 2019. Ann is doing this to draw attention to climate breakdown and in the hope that the Prime Minister will commit to addressing the climate crisis.
Rebel News filmed their conversations with several people at the camp, including OWSAG founding member Dr. Eric Schiller who was on-site. You can find Dr. Schiller's comments at the 37 minute mark.
For more information about Ann's call for action, check out her Facebook page The Expedition - Walk To Waken The Nation
What a fun time we had at the Plastics Crisis rally today! Incredible and moving speeches, singing and great street theatre.
Excellent to work with our friends at Extinction Rebellion Ottawa, Future Rising Ottawa, The Council of Canadians, Angela Keller-Herzog, Ecology Ottawa and Ottawa Raging Grannies to draw attention to this pressing issue and call on government leaders to act now!
See the photos below from the rally. Watch the videos on the fun street theatre and talks by OWSAG's Eric Schiller, Mia Beijer from Future Rising and Linda Mccourt from Extinction Rebellion Ottawa. You can also watch the videos from our Facebook page or YouTube channel.
By Eric Schiller
Wow! Together with the Glebe Community Association and TWIG, the Glebe Collegiate student group, OWSAG was present at the GGGS promoting Ottawa’s excellent municipal tap water. We were collecting signatures for our Water Declaration. This has now become a petition to send to Ottawa City Councillors as they debate a motion to promote their own excellent water and stop the sale of single-use plastic water bottles in municipal buildings.
Watch this short video clip of our #ZeroWaste info table!
By Eric Schiller
Monday, April 22 was Earth day. On that day, the Ottawa Water Study/Action Group (OWSAG) and the Ottawa Riverkeeper conducted a water celebration in Strathcona park at the Adawe bridge crossing.
The event began with an Indigenous water ceremony. The preciousness of water in all creation was honoured. To support this message, information was on hand from OWSAG and the Ottawa Riverkeeper. Several passers-by stopped, received information and signed the Bottled Water Declaration.
By Eric Schiller
Today I went into two food stores, Loblaws and Metro. I have never been so overwhelmed by the amount of bottled water on sale. It was at the entrance. It was on the shelves. Then as you left, the shelves were lined with more bottled water. The average cost of was 8 – 10 cents/bottle.
By Eric Schiller
The Canadian Bottled Water Association (CBWA), now called the Canadian Beverage Assocation, is a lobby group paid to promote bottled water despite clear problems tied to its use.
The fact that drinking water is a small part of all water use has no relevance to this issue. This would be true for all types of drinking water consumption. Drinking water is a small part of total water use, but it is a very important part. The real point is that well regulated municipal tap water, in reusable bottles with water fountains is a much better choice than single-use plastic bottles of water.
Eric Schiller is a founding member of OWSAG and a retired University of Ottawa civil engineering professor.