The necessity of facing harsh realities, act locally!

Sara Carter writes about why she loves the water of Georgian Bay. Sara is a volunteer for the Communications Committee for Georgian Bay Forever. To share your passion about the water of Georgian Bay and inspire others, please contact communications at
With three young kids, fall is a busy time to say the least. After a blissful summer on The Bay, we return to the city to start new school years, sports and activities, and many new challenges that a new year brings. It's a beautiful time of year to enjoy nature but often I feel there's not enough time to do it. In the city we hop on our bikes whenever we get a chance to explore the trails and watch the leaves turn colour.

Georgian Bay fall Scene

This fall has been an overwhelming time as far as world news goes. I have struggled to not only digest it all myself, but to relay devastating events such as hurricanes, fires, politics, gender equality and untimely deaths to my kids. Breaking down these sometimes harsh realities into terms that children can understand and not be frightened by, forces us as adults to contemplate them on the most basic terms. But still, it leaves me feeling defeated at times by the massive weight of our current state of affairs. So what to do? The bottom line I seem to come back to with my kids is: Think Globally, Act Locally.

Stormy weather

I believe it's important for them to be aware of and understand the larger issues but not to feel small and helpless at the same time. They are learning about climate change and how the world's leaders are responding as well as what they can do at home to contribute to a greener earth and protect the water they care so much about. Their part--although it may feel small--can make a difference. I believe that this is important to ensuring we do not give up on the causes we care about just because they sometimes seem insurmountable.

Canoe scene Georgian Bay

I may not be able to personally help those who are still living without clean water after a devastating hurricane but I am able to make a difference in the quality of the water closer to home, on Georgian Bay and other bodies of fresh water in Ontario. When I recently became aware of a ongoing issue regarding sewage overflow into local bodies of water, I was shocked that this kind of thing is occurring without our knowledge. According to news, there were at least three massive sewage overflows this past summer into Georgian Bay due to severe rainstorms and outdated sewage and storm water systems - not built to withstand more stormy intense weather that we are increasingly experiencing.

Although the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change collects information from municipalities on sewage bypasses, it does not make the information available to the public. I believe that we deserve to know when untreated sewage is released into the waterways that we swim, canoe, kayak and sail in.

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