Common Waters

November 7, 6:30PM
at Surf the Greats

As a direct response to the recent Climate Strikes that have successfully gathered so many people who care about their environment and the implications of climate change, Surf the Greats and Water First are organizing a special event to disseminate ideas, ignite discourse and affect change.

Join us for a PechaKucha presentation by renowned environmentalists and activists from leading organizations in the environmental field. These community leaders and organizations have been working hard towards environmental protection while empowering communities across the globe. Speakers will present their own initiatives while addressing the power of community as a key tool in environmental stewardship.

Following the presentations, participants will engage in a panel discussion to answer questions from the audience. There will be refreshments from a local brewery and plenty of time for mingling before and after so you can learn more about each organization.

Our organizations and panelists include:

Fridays for Future

Fridays for Future Climate Strike Greta Thunberg

Fridays For The Future is a nonviolent global movement founded by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish activist. Climate Strikes are carried out every Friday in over 120 countries around the world, by young people who are concerned for their future, demanding action on climate change. This movement aims to collectively engage not only young people but every generation in the fight against climate change. Each chapter of the movement is specific to local needs, it is run by local youth, and events look different city to city. Canadian movements see Indigenous reconciliation, involvement, and justice as necessary pillars in the fight against climate change. This is the movement’s goal moving forward.

Fridays for Future Climate Strike Greta Thunberg Cecilia la Rose

Speaker: Cecilia la Rose

Cecilia La Rose is a 15-year-old climate activist and one of the organizers for the Fridays For The Future movement in Canada. Growing up most of her free time was spent in nature, canoeing Ontario’s many lakes, and exploring parks both local and abroad. She has always been an avid birder and lover of native plant species. To this day, she is actively involved in shark conservation and the protection of migratory bird species in Ontario. This love of nature has been the driving force behind her work where the end goal is to inspire and engage young people to mobilize against climate change. Cecilia currently resides in Toronto, Ontario.


Swim Drink Fish

Swim Drink Fish Lake Ontario Waterkeeper Swim Guide

Swim Drink Fish was founded in 2001 to connect people with water. We inspire people to know and safeguard their local waters by giving them platforms that unite science, education, policy, social networks, and storytelling.

Swim Drink Fish focuses on the confluence of water, people, and technology. Water, because communities need swimmable, drinkable, fishable water to thrive. People, because people who are connected to water are more likely to protect their water bodies. And communications technology, because the web has the power to inform and engage enough people to protect all waters.

Today, Swim Drink Fish is an internationally-recognized charity that connects over 3-million people to their local waters.

Swim Drink Fish Krystyn Tully

Speaker: Krystyn Tully

Krystyn Tully is Vice President and co-founder of Swim Drink Fish. Tully became involved with environmental organizations as a student, then developed a special passion for local water issues while working as a researcher during the Walkerton Inquiry. She has honours degrees in Radio and Television Arts and Public Administration and Governance, both from Ryerson University.

Since co-founding Lake Ontario Waterkeeper with Mark Mattson in 2001, Krystyn has written or edited more than 500 articles about water and environmental policy. She has appeared before numerous municipal, provincial, and federal government committees.

Tully’s favourite projects at Swim Drink Fish combine technology and storytelling. She spearheaded the creation of Swim Guide, a mobile app and website that connects 3-million people with clean, local beaches in 9 countries. Most recently, she has been developing Great Lakes Guide, a platform dedicated to the Great Lakes. Through these projects and others, Krystyn has been able to help win back some lost natural spaces and to strengthen a vanishing waterfront culture.


Great Lakes Business Network

Great Lake Business Network

The Great Lakes Business Network is a network of business leaders committed to protecting the Great Lakes region from threats to the natural environment. The Network strives to be the leading business voice for protecting the health and vitality of the Great Lakes and the economy, businesses and communities that depend upon them. The Great Lakes Business Network focuses on fact-based, non-partisan, and pragmatic advocacy to help set and advance a Great Lakes agenda that ensures the health of our shared waters.

Great Lakes Business Network Freshwater Alliance Raj Gill

Speaker: Raj Gill

Raj Gill, Great Lakes Program Director at the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, is working with local business partners to expand the Great Lakes Business Network in Ontario.


Water First

Water First

Water First is dedicated to resolving water challenges in First Nations communities in Canada. Through education, training, and meaningful collaboration, they are supporting sustainable water solutions to last generations.

Through Water First’s programs, their goal is to increase knowledge, interest and competence in water science among Indigenous youth and young adults. They aim to inspire and support young people to acquire the skills necessary to pursue careers in the water sciences.

Water First’s programs address drinking water and environmental water challenges, as well as gaps in education opportunities in First Nations communities. Through collaborating with First Nations on a variety of water focused education and training programs, Water First has seen the significant impacts of our approach and the long-term, sustainable solutions witnessed in individuals and communities.

Water First John Millar


Speaker: John Millar

John Millar is the Executive Director and founder of Water First. Water First is a charitable organization dedicated to resolving drinking and environmental water challenges in First Nations.

John has twelve years experience running Canada-wide, non-profit, First Nations focused education and training programs. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph, studying community development and the biophysical environment, and gained his master’s degree at the University of Victoria with a focus on non-profits and government policy.

John has worked with numerous NGOs abroad, in the fields of education and water. At the University of Guelph John worked as a degree program design consultant and lecturer, he is now a Board Member of the University of Guelph Institute of Development. John started Water First in 2009, in the back of his home, in Creemore, Ontario. Water First now has 20 staff and has collaborated with over 40 Indigenous communities in Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec & Labrador.


Environmental Defence

Environmental Defence

Environmental Defence challenges and inspires change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

At Environmental Defence, we believe big change needs big ideas. And it needs the collaboration of individuals, industry and government. Because of this, our work is focused on:

1. Empowering Canadians to take action in their own daily lives

2. Working with industry to build a clean, prosperous economy

3. Encouraging government to enact policies to protect Canadians’ environment

Over the years, with your support, we’ve seen some major wins; from the protection of the Greenbelt, to the banning of the toxic chemical BPA in baby bottles, to the founding of the Green Energy Act Alliance to our most recent effort to get rid of the toxic and useless microbeads that are fouling our lakes.

Now, as momentum shifts and we see the world moving away from dirty fossil fuels towards a clean economy, and consumers are making waves with industry as we demand cleaner products for our families, we are more hopeful than ever.

Environmental Defence Kelsey Scarfone

Moderator: Kelsey Scarfone

Kelsey was raised in Northern Ontario, where forests and lakes surrounded her every move. From an early age, her parents and grandparents demonstrated how to respect the natural environment and live off the land. This passion for nature followed her to post-secondary studies at Laurentian University’s School of the Environment. Her undergraduate degree sparked a passion to keep learning more, so she made the move to Ontario’s banana belt to complete a Master of Sustainability Science at Brock University. There she studied water stewardship in weak governance zones around the world. Kelsey is passionate about the human right to water and conserving our precious Canadian freshwater resources. She brings experience with the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry, and work with northern communities in water science education programs to Environmental Defence and to Blue Flag. She is proud to work for an organization that champions science and environmental sustainability.