OTTAWA – Canadian Environment Week highlights the importance of conserving and protecting Canada’s abundant natural resources. This year’s theme, Ecosystem Restoration, promotes awareness and action to protect the natural environment while encouraging conversations on biodiversity, climate change and protecting natural spaces.
“Sustainability and ecological wisdom are two of the six core values shared by Greens worldwide,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. “Understanding that humans and every other species of animal and plant are integral and interdependent parts of a living planet is central to any Green Party platform, as are each of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“Living in a country as rich in natural resources as Canada, it’s important to not take for granted the beauty and abundance of the natural spaces that surround us. Indeed, we must remain vigilant in protecting them and use every opportunity to seek the counsel and collaboration of Indigenous Peoples, whose knowledge and deep-rooted connection to terrestrial, aquatic and marine environments can provide critical guidance towards sustainability in the face of climate change.
“The climate crisis is already causing more wildfires, flooding and droughts across the country, while erratic weather patterns threaten the habitats and migration patterns of many species. Ecosystems involve a multitude of complex interactions among an incredible variety of species, and are vulnerable to seemingly imperceptible changes. Inherent in every tundra, watershed, forest, meadow and grassland is natural capital that is invaluable to the overall health and wellbeing of all life. It is time we factor in the intrinsic value of an ecosystem before greenlighting extraction projects that destroy them.”
A recent study by the Nature Conservancy of Canada identified nine Candian ecoregions in crisis due to loss of habitat and climate change. Old-growth forests in British Columbia, which provide immeasurable benefits such as carbon sequestration and biodiversity, are currently under threat from logging. Green MP Paul Manly (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) recently urged the federal government to work with First Nations and the province to protect these threatened areas.
“The climate emergency impacts everything,” said Ms. Paul. “Greens are deeply concerned that Bill C-12, the federal government’s climate accountability legislation, lacks substantial emissions targets or a credible climate action plan. We cannot support the bill in its current form but we will continue to vigorously advocate for a more robust Green Recovery Plan that brings us in line with our international partners and sets us on a path to the clean energy economy of the future.
“As summer approaches, and pandemic restrictions are somewhat eased across the country, I encourage everyone to spend some time outdoors in nature. As Senegalese forestry engineer Baba Dioum famously said: ‘In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.’ Let’s find time this week to strengthen our connection and commitment to nature.”
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