Borrowed Credit

A recent documentary, “Living on Borrowed Credit”, takes a discerning look at the future of the Credit River and its brook trout populations. 

March 4, 2024 | | Notes from the Wild

Living on Borrowed Credit is a production of the Izaak Walton Fly Fishing Club and videographer Steve Noakes. It features astonishing underwater video recorded by Steve, along with some of his great bird videos. 

Though a beautiful production, the message of Living on Borrowed Credit is stark. The Credit River watershed, where many of us in the Headwaters region live, has been progressively degraded for generations. Living on Borrowed Credit illustrates this reality by telling the story of brook trout. These glorious fish have been eliminated from most of their original Credit watershed habitat. They now exist only in remnant tendrils of relatively pristine waters. 

But as Living on Borrowed Credit explains, we may soon lose even those remaining habitat fragments. The sewage treatment plant currently under construction in Erin will deliver 7.2 million litres of treated effluent into the West Credit River every day. The proposed quarry just north of Cataract will potentially compromise part of the main Credit north of Highway 24 in Caledon – one of the few reaches of the Credit watershed where brook trout still thrive. 

Perhaps the most poignant statement in Living on Borrowed Credit is this one: “The Credit River is not just water and stones, it’s our gift to the future.” A “gift,” of course, is something of value. If we further desecrate the Credit watershed, will we have a gift worth passing on?  

I despair when I think about the future of the Credit River watershed and, in fact, the future of Headwaters. I despair at our continued societal allegiance to unrelenting growth – growth that demands new sewage plants and growth that requires more giant holes to be excavated into the already heavily pocked Caledon countryside. 

Living on Borrowed Credit should make us feel uncomfortable. Then perhaps more of us will ask whether the congestion, pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change attending our feverish penchant for growth is truly worth it.  

About the Author More by Don Scallen

Don Scallen enjoys sharing his love of nature through his writing and presentations. Check out his blog "Notes from the Wild".

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