We believe that when the heart is engaged, the mind and body will follow. That is why, since our founding in 1939, Nature Canada has been connecting Canadians to nature, trying to instil in them a nature ethic – a respect for nature, an appreciation for its wonders, and the will to act in nature’s defense.
In fulfilling our mission, Nature Canada operates under these guiding principles:
- Humans are an integral part of nature. We are dependent on and kindred to its diverse forms. By protecting nature, we protect and enrich ourselves.
- Protection of nature requires a strong commitment to environmentally responsible living, in every person’s daily activities.
- Our strategies for protecting nature are based on sound science, ecological knowledge, and a passion for nature.
- We are committed to regular networking, effective communications, and coordinated action on issues of national significance with naturalists and others who care about nature.
Canadians agree that a lot more needs to be done to protect our environment from the effects of climate change. Nature Canada, as a member of the Climate Action Network, offers this seven-point strategy to help the federal government do more to fight climate change, Canada’s most profound environmental challenge.
- Implement a climate plan that effectively reduces all major Canadian sources of GHGs, unequivocally re-commits to meeting all Canada’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol and sets science-based targets for the longer term.
- Prepare regulations that set absolute emission targets for the biggest industrial polluters and apply no later than 2008. Energy efficiency regulations for appliance and equipment manufacturers and others must be aggressively strengthened in the same timeframe.
- For the automotive sector, regulate GHG emissions in a stringent manner.
- Announce aggressive national objectives and adequate supporting funds for the deployment of low-impact renewable energy in the electricity, heating and transportation sectors.
- Restore and expand the EnerGuide for Houses grants program.
- Increase investment in research on climate impacts and adaptation in line with the recommendations of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences.
- Invest in effective programs to educate Canadians about climate change and engage them in solutions.
Nature Canada is a member of Climate Action Network Canada, a network of over 40 member organizations, including conservation, major faith and labour organizations. Members work together for federal, provincial and local government action in defense of the climate.
Reconciliation Principles For Our Work With Indigenous Peoples
To achieve our mission to defend and advocate for nature, Nature Canada partners with governments, organizations, business and individuals that support our vision. To this end, Nature Canada works to advance the reconciliation agenda and the rights of Indigenous Peoples within the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Nature Canada recognizes that the policies of Canadian governments have deprived Indigenous Peoples of their rights to exercise control over their traditional territories, and we recognize that nature conservation efforts have at times contributed to this overarching injustice. We are engaging in an internal reconciliation process, as well as an external process to ensure that as we undertake our programs we avoid exacerbating previous injustices.
We believe that our work can simultaneously advance Nature Canada’s goals and support the efforts of Indigenous Peoples to re-exert their rights over their traditional territory. On occasions, where Nature Canada takes different views on policy issues from Indigenous leaders, those views will be communicated with utmost respect and protocol.
Nature Canada’s work is guided by the following principles within the context of our overarching mandate to defend and advocate for nature. Throughout the process of reconciliation, Nature Canada endeavors to grow awareness and bridge understanding of the relationships and rights held between peoples and nature.
Species at Risk
When Canada enacted the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) in June 2003 to address the mounting threats to Canada’s endangered species, it was an important day for wildlife protection in North America.
Nature Canada has called on the federal government to choose recovery over extinction for our species at risk. Decisive implementation of the Act is required to ensure Canada’s species receive the protection they deserve.
Check out the work we are doing on Species At Risk here.
Nature Canada supports the development of wind energy in Canada, coupled with conservation measures to reduce all forms of fossil fuel consumption. But wind energy must not be produced at the expense of wildlife. Wind turbines and wind farms should not be located in places – such as Important Bird Areas – where birds congregate, migrate and breed. All wind farm proposals should be subject to an environmental assessment prior to development in order to evaluate their impact on all wildlife, including birds and bats. Regulators such as the provincial and territorial governments should adopt policies and guidelines that exclude wind energy projects from Important Bird Areas and other areas that are known to be of importance to birds and bats. Any wind farms that already exist within migratory corridors or bottlenecks should be subject to the best practices for mitigating their impacts on birds, especially during migration season.
Nature Canada does not advocate on the subject of hunting. Rather, it supports the maintenance of healthy populations of all wildlife species. Nature Canada opposes hunting of any species listed as endangered, threatened, or vulnerable in Canada, and also opposes trophy hunting where it may upset the social balance of populations by removing the dominant animals. We also believe there should be large protected areas where hunting is prohibited.
Nature Canada has long advocated that wildlife management focus on ecosystem protection — an approach supported by “A Wildlife Policy for Canada,” adopted in 1990 by the Wildlife Ministers’ Council of Canada. However, traditional wildlife management has focused on game species at the cost of others. Surveys show that currently only 8.4 percent of Canadians hunt, while the number engaging in non-consumption uses of wildlife has risen to 85.5 percent. Modern wildlife management needs to reflect this shift in use patterns, as well as the recognition by scientists of the need to manage ecosystems rather than individual species in order to protect the long-term health of Canada’s natural environment.
All hunting activities should be carried out according to laws and regulations established with public input. Strict anti-poaching regulations should be enacted and enforced with effective penalties. Hunting, where it occurs, should not jeopardize the health of hunted populations or the systems of which they are a part. All hunting should be carried out in a manner that avoids animal suffering, and regulated to ensure that hunted populations are able to maintain themselves. For example, the hunting or disturbance of individuals that are pregnant, nesting, or caring for young should be prohibited. Consequently, it is important to monitor when, where, and how hunting takes place.
Hunting activities should be carried out in a manner that minimizes impact on all wildlife species and the environment as a whole. Nature Canada opposes the use of lead shot, particularly for the hunting of waterfowl. Hunting should also be conducted in a manner that ensures the outdoors remain safe for everyone. Hunter training programs emphasizing ethics and safety should be mandatory for everyone.