Canada can be a leader in protecting nature
Our flag is a leaf, not stripes and boxes. Our coins are printed with animals, not buildings. Nature is a big part of the Canadian identity.
Around the world, our country is known for nature. This week is an opportunity to prove that we should be known for protecting nature.
Tomorrow, the Government of Canada is hosting a two-day summit in Montreal where environment ministers, Indigenous, NGO and business leaders from around the world will discuss how to scale up global efforts to save nature.
The science is deadly clear. The world is facing a mass extinction unlike anything we’ve seen since the time of the dinosaurs. On average, wildlife species on Earth have lost more than half their populations since 1970.
We know that one guaranteed way to protect nature is to increase the number of protected places, by creating wildlife reserves, national parks and marine protected areas secured by law.
This is essential for wildlife, but also for humanity. Oceans, forests, and wetlands are lifelines for us all—providing food, clean air and water, playing critical roles in cultures and economies, and are front line defenses in efforts to arrest climate change.
There is growing scientific evidence that globally we must conserve between 30% and 70% of land, freshwater, and oceans—Nature needs half essentially.
How to start?
Around the world, many countries – including Canada – have pledged to protect 17% of land and freshwater and 10% of oceans by the end of 2020. We’re not there yet – Canada remains below the global average now, but the government has made achieving these goals our “Target 1” and the 2018 budget announced an unprecedented $1.3 billion to help meet the target.
According to a release from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, key themes of the Nature Champions Summit are:
- identifying and overcoming barriers to nature protection
- Indigenous partnerships and incorporating Indigenous wisdom in stewardship activities
- the intersection of nature, oceans and climate change; and
- innovative financing for nature-based solutions
On Wednesday and Thursday, Nature Canada’s board chair Bob Peart will be in Montreal to take part in the discussions. He’ll also be representing every Nature Canada member who has signed a petition, written a letter or donated to the cause.
We’re excited to be part of the conversation about how to safeguard nature—now and in the long term.
We’ll be looking for continued action at home to double protected areas by 2020, championing Indigenous-led conservation as a central part of the solution, and leadership with others to build momentum for ambitious long term global conservation targets.
Canada has every reason to lead the way.
Connect with Nature Canada to get the latest updates and announcements from the summit – it’s going to be a big week for nature!