Our Mission

Our mission is to foster sustainable communities and ecological integrity in the Ottawa River Watershed.

We are an incorporated, non-profit, charitable citizen-based organization representing all of Renfrew County, which is located in the upper Ottawa Valley of Eastern Ontario, Canada.

You will find an informative brochure about ORI under the 'Resources' tab.

New members, comments and suggestions are always welcome. Enjoy your visit!

Working Definitions of "Sustainable Communities" and "Ecological Integrity"

Our working definition of "sustainable communities" is communities that live inharmony with their supporting ecosystems, using carefully only those resources that the ecosystem can replace, and producing only those wastes that the ecosystem is capable of recycling.

Our working definition of "ecological integrity" is the plain language version ofthe definition prepared by the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks. It reads "An ecosystem has integrity when it has its native components (plants, animals, and other organisms) and processes (such as growth and reproduction) intact."

Our Vision

We look forward to a time when human activity in the Ottawa River watershed is in harmony with the environment, thereby supporting and enhancing the incredible beauty and diversity of life that is our watershed. Individuals and families enjoy a comfortable lifestyle while leaving a small ecological footprint on the environment that sustains all life.

At this time in the future that we envision, there are beautiful natural areas in both urban and rural settlements. We have learned to garden and landscape ecologically, and to invite many diverse and wonderful creatures to share the spaces that used to be devoted to monocultures. Roofs are planted with herbs, flowers and food producing plants, and provide habitats for insects and birds, while providing superior insulation value over the old style of roof that was covered with asphalt. The spaces around buildings are attractively planted in a variety of native plant species that require little maintenance while providing, flowers, herbs, food, and habitats for wildlife.

Within the watershed there are large connected wilderness areas, representing mature forest ecosystems of various types. Forests are deeply appreciated by all for the invaluable services they provide: abundant clean air and water to all life in the watershed. Protected areas include the sacred sites of the watersheds first people. There are opportunities for all who wish to visit these wilderness areas. A wonderful walking trail extending from the Gatineau Park to Temagami is enjoyed by many watershed residents every year, and also draws many visitors to the area. All the children of the watershed are enabled to spend time in the wilderness regularly and often, discovering many of their fellow-creatures and learning at a young age to respect and nurture all forms of life.

People travel from place to place in clean, quiet, environmentally-friendly modes of transport. There are fewer cars, and a great deal of unnecessary travel and rushing that was fostered by two-car households, has been eliminated.

The water in the Ottawa River and all of its tributaries is sparkling clean and potable. It is kept this way by careful use and recycling of resources. Composting toilets have largely replaced flush toilets, and any sewage is treated by living systems, which discharge only clean water into the watercourses.

Buildings in the watershed are highly energy-efficient. They are made to last, largely of local materials in ways that maximize comfort and aesthetics while minimizing the need for energy consumption. Building styles suitable to the climate, such as earth-bermed and straw-bale have been widely adopted. Existing buildings have been draft-proofed and insulated as much as possible so that they consume a fraction of the energy they used to in the days before the Kyoto accord.

Garbage dumps are obsolete. People in the watershed carefully use, reuse, and recycle all containers, packaging and other materials. Organic wastes are composted and returned to the tended areas on farms, in gardens and other planted areas.

Many of the resources people use in the watershed for feeding, clothing and housing themselves, are produced in the watershed or near to it, thus the local economy is strong and resilient. For example locally produced foods are widely available. Local diets reflect the changing seasons and bioregional attributes such as soil types and climate. Local cuisines are unique, reflecting the bioregion and the cultural heritage of residents.

Energy used in the watershed is renewable and non-polluting. Many options are available for meeting our energy needs such as wind, solar, micro-hydro, wood biomass, and biogas.

Celebrations of nature, natural events and relationships between families, friends and fellow-creatures have taken the place of consumption as the most prevalent pastime. Many opportunities are available for watershed residents to celebrate together.

The works of watershed artists are widely enjoyed and help people experience the joy, connectedness, and wonder at the beauty that surrounds us all. The history of the watershed is also appreciated by all and helps to contribute to understanding, stewardship and a sense of our place.

Finally, a new kind of decision-making has become universal in the watershed; it is one based on trust, cooperation, care and benefit to all creatures.