Beaches World Tour Conference Brings Together Global Beach Experts



    Climate change, health and water quality, and sustainable tourism focus
    of two-day international conference

    TORONTO, Oct. 10 /CNW/ - Experts from more than 35 countries are
gathering in Toronto over the next two days to showcase new research and
innovative solutions to key problems facing coastal areas and beach
ecosystems: climate change, health and water quality, and sustainable tourism.
Hosted by Environmental Defence and the Foundation for Environmental Education
(a European-based organization), the Beaches World Tour 2007 conference brings
together scientists, researchers, government officials, grassroots groups and
activists who are working to protect shorelines.
    "Beaches and coastal areas are often the first to feel the effects of
environmental problems, like climate change. There's a lot we can learn from
other countries who are tackling difficult environmental issues and coming up
with new ways to protect their coastlines," said Sarah Winterton, Programme
Director, Environmental Defence. "Sharing what works is really what this
conference is all about."
    "We're honoured that Toronto was chosen as the host city for this tour,"
said Mayor David Miller. "We take great pride in our waterfront and beaches
and look forward to sharing our successes and best practices with delegates
from around the globe." Mayor David Miller is giving the keynote presentation
at the conference today at 1:00 p.m.
    Beaches World Tour 2007 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Blue Flag
program, an international award for beaches and marinas that meet 27 strict
criteria. Blue Flag, run by the Foundation for Environmental Education
internationally and by Environmental Defence in Canada, certified more than
2,600 beaches around the world in 2007. In Canada, nine beaches were awarded
the Blue Flag: six on Lake Ontario in Toronto; Sauble Beach and Station Beach
on Lake Huron; and, Wasaga Beach on Georgian Bay. Blue Flag Canada is
supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of
Ontario.
    "With 20 years of experience, the Blue Flag has shown that eco-labelling
is a fantastic tool to improve the environment and raise awareness among local
residents and tourists visiting beaches and marinas around that world that are
flying the Blue Flag," said Jan Eriksen, President, Foundation for
Environmental Education (FEE). "The Blue Flag standards must be met by beaches
and marinas every year, in keeping with our philosophy for all of our programs
that we must continue the work to increase our knowledge and protection of the
environment."
    Blue Flag beaches will be featured throughout the second day of Beaches
World Tour 2007 with presenters showcasing best practices at world-class
beaches in dozens of countries, including Morocco, Brazil, Puerto Rico,
Iceland, France, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Jamaica.

    Beaches World Tour 2007 is Wednesday, October 10 - Thursday, October 11,
2007 at the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel (525 Bay Street). A
full list of speakers, keynote presenters and workshops is available on the
Blue Flag Canada web site at www.BlueFlag.ca.

    About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental
Defence protects the environment and human health. We research. We educate. We
go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, safe food and
thriving ecosystems. Nationwide.

    About Blue Flag (www.blueflag.ca): The Foundation for Environmental
Education (FEE), based in Denmark, owns and operates the Blue Flag Program.
Since 1987, Blue Flag has grown to include more than 2,600 beaches in 36
countries. Environmental Defence is the Canadian National Operator of Blue
Flag. Our goal is for beaches across Canada to meet national Blue Flag
standards, ensuring that Canadians enjoy clean beaches.

    About the Ontario Trillium Foundation (www.trilliumfoundation.org): The
Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario. 2007
marks the 25th Anniversary of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. For the past
quarter century, it has supported the growth and vitality of communities
across the province. OTF continues to strengthen the capacity of the volunteer
sector through investments in community-based initiatives.




For further information:

For further information: or to arrange interviews, please contact
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232, (647)
280-9521 (cell)


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