A word from FGM – August 2023

Over the past few weeks, all of us have felt – sometimes quite literally – the tangible effects of climate change in our lives. I am of course referring to the unprecedented wildfires that have struck Canada. Last month, it was confirmed that the area devastated to date by forest fires in 2023 amounts to more than 10 times the average number of hectares burned annually over the last decade. Quebec has been the province most affected by this early summer crisis.

Our economy and our living environments, and above all our health and our safety, are threatened by these spectacular disasters. Their frequency and intensity are indeed increasing year after year. This is our new reality, one we can’t escape, and one to which we are going to have to adapt.

But today, I want to draw your attention to a more insidious set of dangers. I am talking about those that threaten our water, as well as its underlying biodiversity and the ecological services this resource provides us. In Canada, a very large majority of us are lucky enough – unless, that is, if we live in certain Indigenous communities – to have access to clean drinking water. However, that is just one part of the hydrological equation that is so critical to us all.

Water, our blue gold, is in bad shape

The state of our waterways is raising several red flags. We recently learned that more than half of Quebec’s sampling stations indicate that the body of water they are located is in either poor or very poor condition. Shoreline erosion, most notably along the St. Lawrence River, is becoming more and more problematic. Several aquatic species, for instance the copper redhorse, are seeing their natural habitats evaporate little by little. In Quebec, 10% of inhabited lakes located south of the 47th parallel are aging prematurely.

This phenomenon stems in particular from pollution caused by chemicals and the spread of invasive species that compromise biodiversity as well as water quality. Certain municipal, industrial or agricultural planning practices also exacerbate these problems. But climate change is the major catalyst that accelerates and heightens their impacts.

Water is one of the most precious resources that nature has blessed our territory with. We are lucky enough to have it in prodigious amounts, when compared to so many other parts of the world. We should not have to work to convince anyone of the need to protect it, whatever the cost. Obviously, governments must act with much more determination to protect and restore our waterways. We support all those who publicly advocate for such action.

Our communities and municipalities need to keep pace too. Through awareness raising and education in particular, a number of inspiring individuals and organizations are acting in a multitude of ways to protect our “blue gold”. Read on to find out about a few of them. Thank you, and talk to you soon!

Karel Mayrand
President and CEO
Foundation of Greater Montréal

FGM’s Stories of the Month

August 2023

The Fonds EcoMaris pour la jeunesse et les océans

EcoMaris supports environmental education that is dedicated to youth.

Read on

Nature-Action Québec

The mission of Nature-Action Québec is to help citizen groups, organizations and municipalities protect and provide access to natural environments.

Read on

The Fonds d’action Saint-Laurent

The FASL raises awareness, preserves, rehabilitates and showcases the St. Lawrence River’s biodiversity.

Read on


The C.I.EAU de Laval (Centre d’interprétation de l’eau) promotes the protection and responsible use of water.

Read on