Module 5: Solutions to Pollution - Starting with Citizen Science


We spent last month exploring the sources of plastic pollution and understanding our plastic footprint on an individual level. In this module, we will be taking the ‘solutions approach’ from a community level. While water pollution is a very complex issue, we believe that as a community, citizen science can help raise public awareness, research efforts as well as impact policy-making.

Today, we invited Isabel Fleisher from Swim Drink Fish, who is also an Ocean Bridge Direct Action Alumna, to speak about their water quality monitoring work and their many freshwater conservation initiatives within some of Canada’s largest freshwater sources. Conservation within landlocked communities has always been overlooked, but we believe that addressing pollution and protecting freshwater systems are just as important.

Meet our speaker

Isabel is the Coordinator for the Great Lakes Community Monitoring Program at Swim Drink Fish. She is based out of Toronto/Tkaronto, where she leads the community-based water monitoring program. Prior to working at Swim Drink Fish, Isabel completed a Bachelor's degree in Marine Biology at Dalhousie University and previously worked as an outdoor educator for marine science programs. Isabel also began working with Swim Drink Fish through the Ocean Bridge Direct Action program in 2020 and is excited to continue supporting the amazing Ocean Bridge community. She is happiest in, on, or near the water (fresh or salty) and believes that fostering a connection to water can be intrinsic to personal wellbeing and environmental sustainability.

Learning Outcomes

  • To learn about freshwater pollution issues that exist in Canada and explore solutions to address and improve freshwater quality (particularly the Great Lakes) through the lens of citizen science
  • To become aware of and understand the water challenges that your local community/province face (using the tools that Swim Drink Fish has provided and beyond that, explore options that are applicable to your local community)

Date + Time

September 15, 2021 @ 4-5pm PT / @7-8 pm ET

Pre-dialogue Action Items

1. Checkout Swim Drink Fish and their different initiatives

2. Find your nearest beach on The Swim Guide (go for a swim!) 

3. Explore the Great Lakes Guide (especially for those that live near the Great Lakes)

4. Dig into WSER data:

  • Check out this article for some context on where this data comes from
  • Take a look at this CSO Map (Combined Sewer Overflow), are there any CSOs in your area? Is this surprising?

Dialogue Agenda

  • Introduction (5min)
  • Presentation from Swim Drink Fish (30mins)
  • Q & A (15mins)
  • Participate in synchronous or asynchronous discussion

Post-dialogue Discussion Task

  • Participate in synchronous or asynchronous discussion

Recordings here

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