The Water Issue

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March, 2012
CanadaHelpsRiding on Hope
The Otesha Project’s Monthly Journal
March 2012: The Water Issue

Did you know?

The average Canadian consumes nearly 6,400 litres of water every day. Much of that water – over 90% – is embedded in the food you eat, the clothes you wear and the products you use every day!
 Learn more at

Back The Tap!  Bottled Water Free Day is 14 days away.

BWFD 2012
On March 15 2012, campuses and communities across Canada will be mobilizing to take action to kick the bottle and back the tap! The Otesha Project backs the TAP and we want you to be a part of it! We must work together to continue to take a stand in support of public water and against the privatization of our water resources.

Thus far, 21 campuses, 85 municipalities and 8 school boards have taken action and played an active role in rolling back bottled water consumption and have chosen to back the tap!

How can you play an active role in Bottled Water Free Day?

- Encourage your members, networks, friends and colleagues to sign the pledge at

- Organize an event in the build-up to and on Bottled Water Free Day. Materials and ideas are available at the website

- Contact your city councillors, school board trustees and university/college presidents and ask them to make the Bottled Water Free Day Pledge

- Join the Water Works Tour this fall and let your Friend Leagues know about it.

Otesha’s First Water Works Tour
water works tour

This September, water warriors will take to their bikes to explore critical water issues: from conservation to watershed protection to the importance of aquatic ecosystem health. From debating the importance of water as a public commons to brainstorming ways to reduce your water footprint, this tour is sure to get your mind -and legs!- in high gear. 
The Water Works tour begins in Kitchener-Waterloo this September and ends in Ottawa. Apply today – spots are reserved on a first applied, first considered basis!

Website of the Month

bottled water

Alright, we’ve got a confession to make...we’ve got a bit of an Annie Leonard crush this month (you might have noticed if you’ve been following our Facebook posts!). If you haven’t yet seen her video series, prepare yourself for a new obsession. 

The Story of Stuff Project has multiple videos that take pressing environmental and social issues, debunks the myths surrounding them, explains them in an engaging way, contextualizes them in the greater system in which they exist, and finally, shows the viable alternatives! 

This month, add The Story of Bottled Water to your must watch list!

Otesha is Crazy for our Katimavikers

ashton and vince

In the new year, Vince and Ashton joined the team at Otesha HeadQuarters. These two superstars are participants in Katimavik, a youth volunteer-service program. We’re lucky to have them contributing their time and talents for a few months. 

It’s hard to imagine where we’d be without Vince’s translation wizardry and Ashton’s artistic prowess! See the Rising Tide backdrop for our “Feel what it’s like to ride on an Otesha tour” photo (in the Birthday Gratitude section)? All Ashton!

Check out this image from UN World Water Day on litres of water needed to produce different foods!

water for food

Fluffy flakes of frozen H2O are floating down past the window here at Otesha HeadQuarters, and we’ve got water on our minds. March is the month of World Water Day, Canada Water Week, Bottled Water Free Day, and the time to check out Otesha’s first ever Water Works Tour!


Big Bluesfest News!

BluesFest PosterWe at The Otesha Project are excited to announce that we are an official beneficiary of the 2012 Bluesfest 
Line-Up Party! We are grateful to the Line-Up Party committee for supporting us through their event. 

Be the first to hear the line-up at this year's Bluesfest! The Line-Up Party will be taking place on Tuesday April 24th at the Canadian War Museum. Support local youth projects - Otesha will be showcasing the talents of our youth that night as well! We encourage Otesha supporters to gather friends and attend the event - Otesha will receive 1/3 of funds raised that night!

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit:

Otesha 10th Birthday!Birthday Gratitude

Thanks to the support of our wonderful Otesha community, our 10th birthday party was a great success! There is so much gratitude to give... for the charming venue thanks to the Raw Sugar Café, for the fantastic live music thanks to the musical talents of Marnie Johnstone and local band, Urban Static, and for plenty to celebrate thanks to all who have been a part of Otesha’s first 10 years!  
Riding on the Rising Tide TourKeeping with the theme of a 10th birthday party, there were fun activities abound: face painting, pin the pedals on the bicycle, a bike station/
photobooth, and a pannier packing contest that didn't happen because we were having too much fun already. Thanks to everyone who came out to hear more about our bike tours and to celebrate Otesha's 10th with us!

We ♥ Innovative Bike Initiatives

Live and Ottawa and Like to Bike?! Check out RightBike. Right Bike is a community-owned and neighbourhood-based Bike Share service that operates in the following Ottawa communities: Westboro and Wellington West. RightBike maintains a fleet of purple bikes for residents, visitors, and shoppers in the neighbourhood to use for short trips. For the price of a modest membership (or daily) fee, members of the public can ride a RightBike around the Wellington St-Richmond Rd corridor, between Mountain Equipment Co-op and Somerset Square in Hintonburg.
right bikes

Right Bike is a member of the Causeway Group of social businesses, a growing network of socially-minded, not-for-profit ventures focused on transforming disadvantaged lives through training and employment. Check-it Out!

O-lumnus Spotlight

Living From the Heart

LauraIn January 2012, I attended the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) national conference in Ottawa. At this latest EWB conference, I especially enjoyed running a workshop entitled "Leading from the Heart", in which I used guided visualizations, reflections, and artwork to invite participants to explore their unique style of heart-based leadership. Being at the conference brought back a slew of memories of the overlap that EWB and Otesha have had in my life. In fact, I first heard about EWB while I was on the very first Otesha tour, when I met Levi Goertz and Chad Hamre, two Otesha folk who had co-founded an EWB chapter at their university. After biking across a few provinces with those guys, I had a sense that I wanted to check out other things they were involved in, and after the tour I looked into EWB in Toronto. Next thing I knew, I was bringing my Otesha experience to EWB by acting as the Sustainability Coordinator for EWB's 2004 national conference (at which Otesha presented). I ended up working at EWB for the next three years, and remain involved with the organization.

And now, in 2012, there I was at the EWB conference, and alongside a table full of books about EWB's first decade, I saw a table full of Otesha books. Shortly after EWB celebrated its ten year anniversary, I'm receiving invites to Otesha's 10th birthday bash. I've donated to both organizations, been paid staff at both organizations, volunteered at both organizations, referred friends to both organizations, facilitated workshops and retreats for both organizations, and my coaching/therapy practice includes clients who have been involved with both organizations. While EWB and Otesha have different missions and mandates, I find both of them to be full of energetic, enthusiastic, passionate people who long for a better world and who are willing to put themselves on the line to create it. It's a privilege to have been part of both of these groups.

** Laura McGrath is an Olumni of the 2003 cross-country tour. Now based in Ottawa, she works with clients all over the world to help smart people live from their hearts. You can learn more about her coaching and therapy work at

Postcard of the Month

After every Otesha presentation, we invite our audience members to change the world by committing to one new hopeful action. Each individual receives a postcard, writes the action on the back, and if they complete the action, they mail it in to our office.  Here's one of our favourites from this month:

 “Take out the recycling! (like a boss)”
- Jenna, 20, Ottawa ON


The Otesha Project | 153 Chapel St., Ottawa, ON   K1N 1H5  |  email:   |   T: 613-237-6065