Hands Off

Protecting a Natural Laboratory




The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is working to preserve a tract known as the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), a world-renowned freshwater research facility in Northwestern Ontario that takes research out of the lab and into the environment, where scientists can isolate the effects of specific pollutants on aquatic ecosystems.

Over the past four decades, research conducted at the ELA has provided scientific evidence of the environmental effects of acid rain, phosphorous and other pollutants that has informed policy around the world. With new pressures like climate change and poorly understood emerging contaminants such as chromite, nanoparticles and endocrine disrupters, the logic for continued support is strong.

IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan emphasizes the mission is to be an independent, world-class research facility for freshwater ecosystems science, maintained “in the public domain and in the public interest.”

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Migrating Trees

Three-quarters of American tree species have shifted to the West since 1980 due to dryer conditions in the East and changing rainfall patterns.

Plutonium Problem

To safely dispose of 56 million gallons of nuclear waste dating back to the Second World War, the Department of Energy might replace a glass-log encasement plan with a cement option.

Bat Banter

Computer algorithms helped Israeli researchers decode the language of Egyptian fruit bats and discover that bats exchange information about specific problems.

Tuna Turnaround

Levels of toxic mercury in Atlantic Bluefin tuna declined 19 percent between 2004 and 2012, a drop that scientists attribute to a shift from coal to natural gas and renewable energy.

Buzzing RoboBees

Harvard researchers have invented tiny robotic bees that may be able to eventually pollinate the crops that are under threat because of vanishing bee colonies.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags