Krystyn Tully of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper (and the affiliated project Swim Drink Fish Canada) accompanied by co-workers Matt and Claire, gave an interesting presentation on what Lake Ontario Waterkeeper does, and discussed the state of the waters on which we sail.
Krystyn's work includes public liaison, mentoring, articles, talks, interviews, radio talks, and writing for such publications as BlogTO and The Huffington Post. She grew up in Oshawa Ontario disconnected from nature, and really only developed interests in nature and environmentalism while working as a researcher for the Walkerton inquiry into the e-coli contamination of the water supply of Walkerton, Ontario. In that event, municipal chlorination had been turned off, and water treatment records were falsified, eventually resulting in the deaths of seven people and illness for thousands more, some ending up permanently affected.
Those events led Krystyn to an interest in effects of water policy -- challenges, wins and losses -- and to community water literacy and advocacy. Some successes, such as the restoration of the Peticodiak River in New Brunswick, are inspirations to continue the work.
Canada's water problem is typified in such things as beach closures, and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper assists people to know the state of their beaches through its Swim Guide app, which provides information on 7000 beaches in Ontario.
Knowing what should be done is in some ways impaired because the knowledge of what the true natural state of waters was is sometimes lost: for example, the natural state of the Great Lakes disappeared before the Confederation of Canada.
Realizing that what's normal is not necessarily what's natural is a starting point. Sometimes the need is great: in Canada contamination from sewage and stormwater is largest source of surface water pollution, but that problem needs around $26 billion for the required infrastructure repairs. As our climate changes, what were considered "100 year storms" are now happening at the rate of 8 in the last 10 years. What seemed like a rarity now needs to be accommodated in standard design.
Political work is needed as well, and the Waterkeepers are now working with the current government to reverse retrograde changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act carried out in 2009-2012.
Inspiration comes from the grassroots, such as the remediation project on the Port Hope waterfront, a massive project to deal with the residues of nuclear waste. The efforts of a local housewife and an area farmer were instrumental in this work.
We as sailors owe a debt to the Waterkeepers for the protection and improvement of the waters we use for our recreational enjoyment.
ABOUT KRYSTYN TULLY
Krystyn Tully has been organizing community events and organizations since her days as a high school student in Oshawa, Ontario. She helped Mark Mattson launch Lake Ontario Waterkeeper in 2001 and serves the organization to this day.
Over the course of the last decade, Krystyn helped to organize a wide range of fundraising events and grant writing campaigns that helped to raise $2-million for Waterkeeper’s work. She also spearheaded the creation of Swim Guide, a mobile app and website that connects people to clean, local beaches as well as Drink Guide, an app that documents drinking water advisories across Canada. These apps are now used by more than 100,000 people in Canada and the USA.
Since co-founding Lake Ontario Waterkeeper with Mark Mattson in 2001, Krystyn has written or edited more than 400 articles about water and environmental policy. She has appeared before numerous municipal, provincial, and federal government committees. For four years, she coordinated a mentoring program that connected aspiring lawyers with communities facing environmental challenges. For two years, she was editor and co-host of a weekly radio program. In 2012, she wrote a series of features on beaches for blogTO and became a regular contributor to Huffington Post.
Through Ryerson University’s part-time degree program, Krystyn has received extensive education in Public Administration and Governance, with a specialization in nonprofit sector management. In October 2012, she was profiled in NOW Magazine’s “Class Action” feature.
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