A translation by Judith Turcotte
I had taken a break in the publishing of my blogs to allow me to finish my novel, FFQ For Québec. The novel is now available in French and in English. At the time of the book launch, many of my readers surprised me by asking when I would resume to publish my blogs. The question became an incentive in resuming my blogs on the St. Lawrence River, this often ignored part of our environment.
More than 80% of the population of Québec live on the shores of the St. Lawrence and its tributaries. They settled there to get around, to drink its water, to exploit its riches, to refresh themselves and as a convenient place to get rid of their sewage and garbage. It is difficult to understand the logic behind the idea of dumping sewage in the river and spending millions to then sanitize the contaminated water to be able to drink it. Despite this incongruity, we are in admiration before the beauty of our majestic St. Lawrence.
It is true that our river is beautiful on the surface, however, because of the self-indulgence of mankind, we are indifferent to the consequences of our actions on the quality of its waters and even more so on the life that exists below its surface. The river we admire hides a living environment. Our actions have an influence on the capacity for the life of the animals and plants existing there. This indifference is explained by our dependence on the paternalistic state that our politicians have sold us in making us believe that the government had solutions for everything and we feel we don’t have to worry; the government will take care. We realize today that this is not the case and the St. Lawrence River is a good example. The government sees the evidence: the arrival of the red-spotted crayfish, the arrival of the Asian carp, the damage caused by the zebra mussels and much more. The civil servants, wildlife specialists, are able to explain how these species arrived in the river and speculate on the consequences of their arrival on native species but these same specialists remain silent with regard to finding solutions to these tragedies taking place below the surface of our St. Lawrence River.
The St. Lawrence River was baptized by Jacques Cartier who sailed there for the first time on August 10th the birthdate of Laurent of Rome, a martyr and a saint. Did Cartier have a premonition? Saint Laurent of Rome is considered the patron saint of the poor. Our poor St. Lawrence requires our attention and for good reason: there are hundreds of stories happening below its surface and we can no longer ignore it.
My intention is to publish blogs on these stories which I hope will raise awareness of our St. Lawrence River, its attractions, its aquatic life, its gastronomic potential and the changes sustained by its wildlife and vegetation. I hesitated for a long time before embarking on this project for fear of not being taken seriously. I am not a scientist and have no expertise neither in environment nor in zoology, nor in geography. I am but a concerned citizen who has finally decided to give himself the right to write on a subject even if I am not a specialist.
I have finally overcome my imposter syndrome and hope that in reading my blogs, interested people will correct me where appropriate or even better, will add comments and make suggestions.