• Background to Preparing a Communique

    Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on Earth. It encompasses all living things and their relationships to each other, and unites species, ecosystems, and ecological functions. Biodiversity is about being connected – all species, including humans, depend on each other to survive.

    Humans depend, directly and indirectly, on biodiversity for many things, such as clean air and water, food and fibre, climate moderation and a healthy economy. Without rich and complex biodiversity, these ecosystem services would be extremely expensive or impossible to replace.

    There are multiple threats to biodiversity, globally and locally. The threats include population growth, climate change, unsustainable use of the Earth’s resources (including water and air), invasive species, and pollution. Together, these fragment or destroy ecosystems, endanger species and cause ecosystem services to deteriorate.

    We need to start valuing and paying for the services that nature provides to society. What gets measured often gets managed. We need to manage risk to ecosystem services now, or pay later for ecosystem services lost. We need an economy in sync with ecological limits, which means market signals and economic incentives that direct us towards ecological sustainability. Just as governments and households strive for balanced budgets, so must we strive to live sustainably within natures’ finite capacity.

    Biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystem services are rapidly occurring at both global and local scales as a direct result of damaging unsustainable human activities. Yet, despite the biodiversity crisis, biodiversity is seldom given any obvious economic value. While some Canadians are concerned about biodiversity loss and profess to feel sad about it, the full magnitude of the problem, and the need for urgent action is not widely recognized.

    If you had 10 minutes with an important politician, what would be the single most important ACTION you would ask that person to carry forward regarding biodiversity loss?

19 Responses so far.

  1. Ben Boivin says:

    Biodiversity is being compromised daily due to unsustainable development. Are you aware of this fact? What are some positive solutions to retard the process in the short term and what can the government do to provide long term solutions?

  2. John King says:

    Global biodiversity loss – and, indirectly, the long-term health of all humanity, is far too critical and complex for politicians to manage alone!! The “scientific community” has been proposing solutions for years – it’s time to listen and act on their recommendations”.

  3. Casey Cook says:

    Referring to the Prov. Policy Statement & Official Plans of Communities, why is there approvals being granted for development in significantly sensitive wetlands and shorelines? Being a member of the OBBN, collecting reference sites, to protect & gain data on a lake with “over threshold” phosphorus levels, it is most upsetting to have large development & by-law amendment approvals granted to people on shoreline properties. The current protocols notify only the immediate neighbours of the property, this type of activity affects the entire community and most importantly the ecosystem surrounding the region.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Please think beyond the dollar signs when you talk about zoning and development.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Make it mandatory for waterfront owners to return the waterfront to its natural state.

  6. Anonymous says:

    A proactive septic system inspection program “with teeth”

  7. Mary McCulley says:

    Identification followed by OP and Zoning By-law protection of large natural areas and connecting wildlife corridors are very important to biodiversity. The problem holding back politicians from approval is, of course, any private land contained within identified parcels. Incentives beyond land trusts are necessary.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I would ask that person to take the proposed changes to the Fisheries Act off the table. The bigger action for that person to carry forward and promote within government is the management of ecosystems, not isolated threats and single species of economic importance. Of course there are some key messages that have to accompany these actions.

    Governments are responsible for protecting ecosystems for sustainable use for future generations. We should be building on past successes in developing an ecosystem approach to managing environmental threats such as that embodied in the 1978 version of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement that carries through to the present and the 1986 Fish Habitat Policy of Fisheries & Oceans.

    The current proposals to change the Fisheries Act to protect species that are only of commercial, recreational or aboriginal importance is setting back ecosystem management in Canada 30 years. Protecting only these species does not protect biodiversity and ignores the fact that biodiversity can’t be protected without the protection of habitat for all species, ensuring stability in food webs and protection of food supply for all species, not just those of economic interest.

  9. traceyrast says:

    Today, the third Friday in May, the United States celebrates Endangered Species Day; they do this in schools, parks, and various community organizations to raise awareness of the potential loss of animal and plant species. While, unfortunately, every day is endangered species day around the world, perhaps Canada should join in on this one day to educate the public and increase awareness of what is at risk and what we individually and collectively can do to prevent further loss. Knowledge and sensitivity can assist the protection of biodiversity in our country, while regulations and policing are insufficient.

  10. Virtually the only industry left in Muskoka is the tourism/hospitality industry. People want to come to Muskoka for the beautiful lakes and scenery and the wild life that is a visible part of their experience. If we ignore or destroy the biodiversity that exists we not only loose the critters but we loose the tourist/vacationer’s reason to come here.

  11. Sustaining heterogeneous watersheds over time that have at least 30% natural cover, including adjacent to waterbodies and watercourses, will go a long way to conserving both terrestiral and aquatic biodiversity.

  12. Allyn Abbott says:

    Human overpopulation is at the root of most environmental issues, including loss of biodiversity. I would ask the politician to support Planned Parenthood.

  13. I am inclined to think that what we have lost is the biodiversity of politicians. We used to have more politicians that valued the environment. Now they toe the party line and federally that means nothing gets in the way of pipelines so we all loose for a few dollars more. How do we get politicians elected who respect our basic environment.

  14. Lori Sild says:

    Institute programs that will reinitiate extirpated species in our area such as tree planting of native species. Have developers replant every tree that is taken down for the purpose of building in order to obtain permits.

  15. Don Clement says:

    I apologize for going beyond the question asked, but I do so for three reasons: 1. To phrase the question so that most politicians could understand and respond is too limiting. 2. To think only re single actions is counter-productive. 3. Politicians generally do not respond to individuals, but only to the “people power” they can see in movements – case in point, what is unfolding in Quebec.

    Therefore, I will share my thoughts, personally, and in writing, at the conference.

  16. John King says:

    Further to Allyn Abbott’s (May 31st) comment. First, I totally agree with Allyn’s statement regarding overpopulation and the solution recommended!! Secondly, one of the primary conclusions documented in the famous 1987 Brundtland Commission report stated “global overpopulation was the -common denominator- to all environmental and climate change issues”. Gro Harlem Brundtland (the Prime Minister of Norway at that time) was a remarkable visionary with respect to current/future environmental impacts!! But “we” didn’t listen to her wisdom – now look where we are.

  17. KEEPING WHAT WE HAVE should be the priority of those concerned about a “greener future”. The knee-jerk reaction of politicians has been to spend our money to industrialize even more insanely and in the process yield ground (and water) to multinationals.

    In Ontario the Green energy/economy Act should be called the GREED Energy Act since it relies almost entirely on bribery to achieve an end not even based on due diligence and sound science.

    Not only have billions of dollars been wasted but the social and cultural fabric of our communities has been shredded. Good stewards of the land have been treated to name-calling upon objecting to energy sprawl adding to the threats of urban blight.

    The GEA should be repealed and an apology issued for the Province’s destruction of municipal level Democracy.

    A true conservation ethic must be restored and that must start with eliminating waste driven by “groupthink”, aka consensus science, instead of sound and unbiased cost/benefit analysis with evaluation/accountability measures rigidly enforced.

    I look forward to meeting Don Clement, and others who think outside the box.

  18. The biggest “Threat” to our lands and properties is not the fake rhetoric of “environmental non-governmental Organizations”, it is the actions of our provincial Government in the dismantling of our Democratic Rights at our Municipal level with the GEA Bill 150 AND the dismantling of our Endangered Species Act with Bill 55 that will “allow” Wind Turbine Developers to get off “scot-free” for killing endangered wildlife like Eagles, Bobolinks, Hawks or anything else that gets “shredded” by these fake Green Machines!

  19. Jane Zednik says:

    “If you had 10 minutes with an important politician, what would be the single most important ACTION you would ask that person to carry forward regarding biodiversity loss?”

    The single most important action to prevent further loss of biodiversity would be to scrap the Green Energy Act and start over. The unfettered, unregulated proliferation of large scale wind and solar plants pose the biggest threat to the province’s biodiversity of flora and fauna since the days of pioneer land clearing. Large scale wind and solar plants are being plunked down in some of the most sensitive fragile ecosystems right across the province industrializing once pristine areas and fragmenting natural heritage corridors.

    Full environmental assessments are not required for the projects and as such, a vast array of species of flora and fauna will be displaced and/or extinguished.

    Large scale wind and solar projects require miles of access roads, transmission corridors, the removal of native flora and pose threats of contamination and interference with surface and groundwater resources.

    100 acre plus solar plants fragment large tracts of the countryside and fragment natural corridors of movement because these facilities are fenced. Wind power plants placed without any thought to bird or bat migration routes will decimate these populations. Birds and bats will prove no match for wind turbines multi-ton blade radii of 72,000 square feet.

    There has been no consideration under the Green Energy Act as to the cumulative effect the 100s of approved projects will have on the various ecosystems of Ontario. The proliferation of industrial energy projects touted as being of ‘environmental benefit’ are everything but.

    Indeed as stated…’We need to start valuing and paying for the services that nature provides to society’ .

    That means not endorsing Nature’s wholescale destruction in the misguided belief that the criss-crossing of Ontario with large scale wind and solar plants will somehow protect the environment – nothing could be further from the truth.

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