If you can turn on a tap in your home and get safe, clean water, count yourself lucky — not all Canadians have this same access. In a move that helps bring this issue to light while helping to counter it, Vancouver-born actor Ryan Reynolds and Gossip Girl OG star Blake Lively recently donated $500,000 to an Indigenous-focused safe water charity.
Water First Education & Training Inc. is a charity that focuses on attaining sustainable access to safe, clean water in Indigenous communities in Canada — offering internships and running local programs training Indigenous youth to bring safe water into their communities through water treatment plants.
In a statement published in the Hollywood Reporter, Reynolds said: “All the individuals involved, whether they are operating water systems or monitoring their local water bodies, are critical.”
“We appreciate Water First’s focus on supporting young, Indigenous adults to become certified water operators and environmental technicians,” Reynolds added. “These folks are helping to ensure sustainable access to safe, clean water locally, now and in the future. Blake and I are thrilled to support this important work.”
Related: On a budget? Here are 11 ways you can still support social justice issues in Canada.
Why supporting clean water access is important
The Water First website notes that 15 per cent of First Nation communities in Canada and 35 per cent of communities in Ontario are under a drinking water advisory — while many of these communities have called for the need for more young, local, qualified people to support these ongoing issues.
On their announcement of the donation, Reynolds took to Twitter to share a joint statement with Lively: “Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right, Canada is home to over 20 [per cent] of the planet’s freshwater… There’s no acceptable reason Indigenous communities should not have access to safe, clean water.”
Related: What is climate feminism — and why Indigenous women should lead the solutions.
Canada honoured Reynolds with the Governor General’s Award in 2021 for his generosity and support of Canadian causes such as the Canadian Red Cross and countless others.
Needless to say, this was not the first generous donation from a fan-favourite Hollywood couple — and we hope it won’t be the last.
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