Biodiversity Summit: Solutions

During the course of our two-day 2012 Summit, we encouraged participants to provide us with their ideas, suggestions, and questions on the topic of Biodiversity. Their comments were captured under the headings of “Revelations”, “Solutions”, and “Questions Unanswered”; they are provided below for public consideration and to help continue the dialogue.



Have more ways to alert people about the issues of losing biodiversity and interesting ways so people will take into consideration and will take action.

When it comes to technological innovation and public networking, youth are your greatest resource. Target the education system with public sector e-science sites.

Science should inform those on the ground doing the work; move this upwards to develop goals & direction for actual work.

Groups (scientists, environmental groups, etc.) need to invest in and create professional social marketing strategies (based on known and successful behaviour-change models for the general public and policy-makers) to create social and political changes needed to protect and preserve biodiversity. This would be similar to what has been done with recycling, now a widely-accepted social norm.

Biological and environmental science findings alone are not sufficient to lead to effective policy changes. The insights of aboriginal wisdom, along with the humanities, social sciences and the arts are also needed to encourage people to adopt, develop, and act on policies and goals.

Get involved with your community at a grass roots level to effect change. Pay close attention to what is happening locally. Guard against feeling hopeless in the face of climate change.

Crowd sourcing of biodiversity/ecological monitoring & measuring [should be employed], like

I noticed that in one of the charts that Justina Ray displayed the percentage of people that were aware of the loss of biodiversity and that only 14% of North America is aware of this. So work to get more funding; people need to be informed of what is happening.

Knowledge = Caring = ACTION

Raise further awareness, keep hitting close to home. Encourage people younger. Be short, precise and informative. Community action – teach about the area and the importance of biodiversity in it. Keep doing your part and encourage other to do theirs.

Education: let’s start to fix problems now, and raise future generations to think with their grandchildren in mind.

Sea lamprey – why can’t we sell them to the European market where they are a delicacy (e.g., France)?

Adopt the precautionary principle – and apply it! -> If in doubt, don’t do it!

We need youth (and non youth) that understand the importance of biodiversity to be encouraged/supported to enter into politics.

Less fighter jets; more $ for research and wildlife reserves.

Defeating Tory’s environmental agenda must be a priority. Unite the “left leaning” parties.

Tony Clement is our MP. He is head of Treasury Board and on the inside with Harper. Most of us voted him back in because of the economic benefits he brought to Muskoka. He needs a clear message from us that the current government policy is unacceptable and undemocratic. He will lose his seat unless he represents us, our environment!

The government is not always constructive. We can make change without them, and can deal with more than one challenge at a time, as the public. We do not have to rely on others.

If everyone who is concerned about biodiversity and how it is being changed, writes to their government, the government then may start to prioritize differently. They may see that biodiversity is more important to both the people and the environment and start taking action to change the downward trends within ecosystems.

It is pathetic that the federal government might get away with the omnibus. We need to speak out en masse.

Balance natural capital accounts through market-based financial incentives in lockstep with tax incentive.

More money must be allocated in government budgets for continued research on biodiversity loss; this does have economic value in the long term!

We must continue to work on putting a dollar value on the environment. People have to start realizing the long-term economic consequences of treating the environment as of little value.

Move away from an economy focused solely on growth.

Scientific research needs to continue in order to provide adequate data on which to base appropriate long-term solutions.

Eliminate the omnibus bill; changes in the processes of political systems must be made to ensure that transparent, evidence-based decision making is applied to policy implementation. i.e. eliminate the ability to hitch legislative changes to confidence (or other) related legislation.

Any biodiversity protection plan must be legally binding. To be effective it cannot be an option.

Promote European statistics – Red Lists as warnings – 15 year window. Stress need for measurement. No value without measurement.

Replace income strategy on agricultural land with low economic significance.

If you’re going to have to build wildlife provincial parks to save species at risk, why keep building human modified areas (cities)? Build only buildings or cities that are needed and make them green.

Let’s promote sustainable development or de-growth rather than “business as usual”. Aren’t we rich enough yet?

Any land that hasn’t been logged should be protected FOREVER. We should have sustainable forestry everywhere and build everything we can out of wood – carbon sequestration.

Pick the areas we want to preserve and make it clear that NO DEVELOPMENT is allowed there, period.

What is the educational background of most politicians? Add a basic Environmental Science course as a required course for all university/college/high school degrees.

Reverse the burden of proof: put the burden of proof on developers to show that developments will not do any harm to species and/or ecosystems.

Create natural corridors through Muskoka to facilitate south to north movement of species in response to climate change.

Link conservation/park reserves for safe movement of living creatures.

Since we can be classified as “wilderness” in some parts, why not protect the areas that have more of a need to protect certain species? This can help build these at risk species population within their own ecosystem.

Provide underpass/overpass opportunities for wildlife along transport corridors.

Like the idea of harnessing  “citizen scientists” to monitor species and climate.

“Redefine quality of life”. “Simple living is becoming extinct”. Slow down industry, agriculture etc. Smaller farms. Minimize pollution from manufacturing.

New insights can support traditional knowledge & visa versa. Look to indigenous communities, open dialogue. There is living knowledge about how to do this (Living in a sustainable way, building healthy communities).

The relationship between the consumptive habits of an average affluent individual and biodiversity loss is unclear. Certification schemes might help to change consumer habits.

Sustainable farms coexist with natural ecosystems. Urban agriculture.

Utilize permaculture principles when looking at a problem or challenge. In other words use what is available nearby.


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