Wildfire evacuees need fresh water, so this brewery put business on hold to give it to them.

Saskatchewan and the surrounding areas are burning. This beer maker is stepping up to help.

Welcome to Labatt, one of the biggest breweries in Canada.

The brewery is home to the distinctly Canadian Labatt Blue and other beers, and it just so happens to be the local arm of beer behemoth Anheuser-Busch InBev. (So if you've ever gotten drunk on Busch Light on the prairies of Saskatchewan, you can thank Labatt for hooking you up.)

But this month, they're taking all the alcohol and all the hops — all the everything, actually — out of their beer. And it's for a really good reason.


Labatt is pitching in to fight Canadian wildfires with fresh drinking water for evacuees and emergency workers.

A Labatt worker holds up a frosty can of H2O. Photo from Labatt used with permission.

Wildfires have been wreaking havoc on Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia all throughout the summer. These kinds of fires are nothing new to the region, but the number and intensity of the blazes this year is unprecedented.

In fact, there have already been more than 580 wildfires in the region this summer, compared to just 205 last summer. As of July 7, there were over 100 wildfires burning at the same time.

Flames roll through La Ronge airport in Saskatchewan. Photo from P.A. Firefighters/Twitter, used with permission.

Not surprisingly, these blazes are having an enormous effect on nearby residents.

So far, over 50 communities have been partially or fully evacuated, leaving more than 13,000 people with nowhere to go other than crowded evacuation centers.

And in times like these, clean drinking water is often one of the hardest resources to come by. Catastrophes of this magnitude can contaminate water sources and even destroy the infrastructure that allows access to that water.

Labatt may not be able to put out the flames, but they can make sure everyone has something to drink.

And not in a drink-to-forget-the-giant-raging-wildfires sort of way. They're scaling back their regular beverage production to produce cans of fresh emergency drinking water, hoping to ship over 2,000 cases to displaced residents and firefighters during the coming weeks.

That's a lot of water cans. And Labatt is ready to make more. Photo from Labatt used with permission.

They've actually done this before — they established a disaster relief program back in late 2012 and delivered tons of fresh drinking water during severe flooding in 2013 and 2014.

Remember this image next time you're deciding what to buy at the liquor store. Photo from Labatt used with permission.

"It's about people helping people and it's a large coordinated effort for us to respond quickly," Sharon Mackay, Labatt's director of corporate affairs, told Vancity Buzz.

"Our employees take a lot of pride in being able to help out."

"It's about people helping people and it's a large coordinated effort for us to respond quickly."

Let's hope our neighbors to the north stay safe until the fires die down. If you want to help, the local Salvation Army needs donations of summer clothing, socks, and underwear. You can also give money through the Red Cross once the disaster relief efforts move into recovery mode.

Oh, and let's hope they get the beer flowing again real soon, too.

More


Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared