The Association for the Safeguarding of Lake Geneva (ASL) has been working for over 40 for the preservation of the largest lake in Europe. You got it – we are, of course, talking about Lake Geneva! At Equestrio Foundation, we have decided to contribute in our own way to the protection of this local jewel by financing amusing video spots aimed at raising awareness about the lake’s ecosystem. Let’s dive into the heart of the project!
Lake Geneva, a gift of nature
Lake Geneva, truly an inland sea nestled in the heart of the Alps, is the pride and joy of the entire Lake Geneva region, Swiss and French shores alike. Throughout history, from Julius Caesar to the present day, both town and life have been flourishing in this precious geographical setting. At one and the same time a commercial asset, a place of leisure, an object of contemplation, a source of drinking water, a thermal regulator… Lake Geneva provides exceptional services to everyone.
And yet…we are spoiling it. The balance that determines the destiny of the lake has become extremely fragile. Demographic pressure, macro-waste, micro-plastics, chemicals, micro-pollutants and climate change all have a serious impact on the biodiversity of its waters, banks and rivers.
A priceless biodiversity
The biodiversity of the lake? We bet, that like us just a few months ago, you have little idea of the incredible diversity of Lake Geneva’s ecosystem ! To know it is to want to protect it a little more.
From swans to green collars and coots, Lake Geneva is home to 130 different species of birds that feed on aquatic plants, algae, reptiles, molluscs, fish and shellfish. It is also (and quite logically!) a place of life for fishes. 30 species to be precise, including perch, trout, pike and… the unfamous catfish (sorry about this somewhat unsettling info!). Finally, it harbours a veritable aquatic forest composed of over 18 types of plants which serve as breeding grounds for fishes and which release some of the oxygen allowing us to breathe.
An ecosystem at risk
From its depths to its surface, Lake Geneva is full of life. But a life threatened by humans…
Since the 1960’s, the ecosystem of Lake Geneva has been threatened increasingly by various types of pollution, including 50 tons of plastic waste per year and nearly 14 million microplastic particles floating on its surface. Lake Geneva is, in proportion, almost as polluted as the oceans.
The fauna and flora of the lake are also suffering from the impact of global warming, which has caused the surface water temperature to rise by 2°C in 46 years. Moreover, the increasingly mild winters have hampered the mingling of deep waters and surface waters, a natural phenomenon which used to occur every 5 to 6 years with the help of cold temperatures and wind. This leads to water stagnation between a depth of 130 to 309 metres.
On the other hand, this same lack of mingling increases the accumulation in the lake’s depths of phosphorus generated by human activity such as agriculture. According to Frédéric Soulignac, a researcher for the International Commission for the Protection of the Waters in Lake Geneva, this phosphorus could rise to the surface of the lake during the next mingling episode and cause a significant production of algae, a source of bacteria.
Taking action to preserve our local natural heritage
Faced with this worrying situation, key environmental protection groups such as the ASL have been aware for several years now of the need to take action to preserve the quality of the water in Lake Geneva.
Since 1980, the Franco-Swiss association has been taking action in the field and has organised numerous awareness campaigns to motivate people to protect this natural heritage. These initiatives have borne their fruit and there has been a remarkable improvement in the quality of the lake’s water symbolised by the return of the emblematic pike to Lake Geneva.
These positive results can only confirm the importance of taking action and pursuing the effort.
This is why Equestrio Foundation has decided to support the ASL by funding a series of videos produced in collaboration with Swiss comedian Thibaud Agoston and distributed on social networks. The aim is to raise awareness in an entertaining way to the biodiversity of Lake Geneva among the general public with a particular focus on young people.
Our financing of 10 000€ covered the entire creation, production and broadcasting for 2 video clips in 2021. We have already renewed our partnership for the same amount to produce 4 new videos in 2022.
Friends of birds, ducks, plants and of all the treasures of nature. Fans of stand-up paddle, wake or contemplation. Lovers of the lake and its Swiss or French shores. Do not hesitate to contribute to this project so that people and nature can continue to peacefully make the most, together, of this magnificent lake.
Episode 1 👇