Nature Canada welcomes downpayment on nature commitments in fiscal update
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Ottawa, Nov. 30, 2020) — Nature Canada welcomed the major investments in tree planting announced in the fiscal update as a critical downpayment on the Government of Canada’s ambitious nature protection goals.
“The investment in tree planting is a welcome downpayment on funds that need to flow to reach the federal government’s historic commitments,” said Graham Saul, executive director of Nature Canada. “During the pandemic, we’ve seen how nature takes care of us. It’s time to move ahead on taking care of nature.”
Nature Canada has looked forward to the government investing in pledges to double protected areas of Canada’s land and ocean to 25 per cent by 2025 and to nature-based climate solutions, including planting two billion trees over a decade.These pledges enjoy widespread public support according to polling.
He also emphasized the tree-planting program must be rolled out carefully to maximize benefits to wildlife and climate, while providing long-term safeguards against industrial logging.
“Nature Canada welcomes today’s announcement but federal investments in nature must include protecting critical ecosystems,” Saul said. “Partnerships with Indigenous, provincial and territorial governments are essential to creating effective protected areas–and partnerships take time.”
Tree planting, restoring grasslands and wetlands and expanding protected areas are important long-lasting ways to restore wildlife habitat, protect intact ecosystems and increase Canada’s nature-based solutions to climate change.
Investments in nature are foundational to the strength of the economy and the wellbeing of Canadians, creating jobs in tourism and other hard-hit sectors while protecting essential life support systems.
“We will be looking in coming months for smart, substantial investments that protect our crucial land and ocean systems while supporting job creation, economic recovery and health in urban, rural and Indigenous communities across the country,” he said. “Nature can’t wait.”
The government announced $3.9 billion over ten years, starting in 2021-22, to support the implementation of nature-based solutions to climate change, including planting two billion trees and enhancing wetland, peatland, grassland and agricultural carbon sequestration potential.
Proposals by Nature Canada, as part of the Green Budget Coalition, would require an additional $4.8 billion over five years to fulfill Canada’s commitment to reach the target on protected areas, including through Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and Indigenous guardian programs.
Graham Saul is Executive Director of Nature Canada. He has worked on social and environmental justice issues for more than 25 years in Canada and abroad and is the former head of Climate Action Network Canada and Ecology Ottawa.
Nature Canada has been a voice for nature for more than 80 years. We are a charitable organization advocating the conservation of land and the protection of waterways, and oceans to help stop the loss of species. We facilitate mobilization among more than 900 nature organizations and 100,000 nature-lovers while helping Canadians connect to nature. Learn more at naturecanada.ca.
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