Mississauga Mayor Asking United Nations to Protect Great Lakes


Published October 14, 2017 at 8:15 pm


Insauga previously documented the efforts by governments in the region surrounding the Great Lakes, from both Canada and the United States, fighting back against the Trump administration’s attempts to curb back funding for an important joint Canadian-American program to maintain the integrity and cleanliness of the water in the Great Lakes, the largest source of freshwater on the North American continent.

The Trump administration has been implementing policies or introducing plans that seem to offend nearly every segment of society, and the environment is no exception. Even members of Trump’s own Republican Party have rejected his proposed cuts to his own government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as from online petitions from group such as the Sierra Club.

Instead of backtracking, like on some of his other “policies,” Trump has instead doubled down on his curbing of environmental protection. Recently, the United States announced they were withdrawing from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) because of allegations from Trump that the group carries a very “anti-Israel bias” and that it has become too politicized.  

As a result, we have seen municipal leaders from around the Great Lakes pushing back with their own response. Recently, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, a cross border, bipartisan group of mayors working for clean water for both countries consisting of 131 U.S. and Canadian cities and mayors representing over 17 million people committed to the long term protection and restoration of the Great Lakes, released a statement to designate the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie was quoted in this press release, stating the following:

“The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River represent the largest concentration of fresh water on the planet. Their importance is greater than any one political administration or policy. Now, more than ever, we must push ahead with achieving the UNESCO designation to make sure that everyone, governments included, understand the importance of this biosphere to our survival as a people on both sides of the border.”

If the mayors from both Canada and the United States are successful in getting the UNESCO designation, it would be one of the largest UNESCO Biosphere Reserves on the planet. Biosphere reserves designate areas of global biodiversity and importance and emphasize the value of shared human and natural use of land.

This is an idea worth pursuing because, unlike the Trump administration, Canada doesn’t view the United Nations with skepticism and understand the organization’s role in bringing together international partners to do things that are beyond the reach of a single government, such as environmental protection. As a joint venture, Mississauga would not be alone in bearing any monetary costs should there be any that arise.

With Mississauga being an actual waterfront city, ensuring that we have clean water and environment is essential for future generations that plan to call this community, not to mention the Great Lakes region, their home.

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