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Moving Toward a Zero Plastic Waste Canada
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Moving Toward a Zero Plastic Waste Canada

Nature Canada, along with 30 other leading nature conservancies and environmental organizations, signed a joint Declaration on Plastics. This declaration highlights that 2018 is the time for a national waste reduction strategy, and that it, if implemented correctly, could lead Canada to zero plastic waste by 2025. Plastic pollution is incredibly harmful to the environment and wildlife across Canada and in the oceans that surround us from coast, to coast, to coast. While many Canadians recycle their plastics – this is not enough. In Canada, less than 11 per cent of all plastics are recycled – meaning nearly 90 per cent of plastics end up incinerated, or in our landfills, lakes, parks and oceans. Once in the environment, plastics contaminate ecosystems, kill wildlife, and leach toxic chemicals. If we intend to reverse the negative impact that plastics have on the environment and wildlife – we must act now. Canada needs strong waste policies that hold producers responsible, keep problematic plastics out of Canada, and dramatically increase the reuse and recycling of plastics.


The signatories are calling on the Canadian Government to take decisive action with recommended actions to reduce and reverse the impact of plastic pollution on the environment and wildlife: 1. Work with provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous governments to develop policies that keep plastics out of the environment; 2. Establish consistent definitions, standards and measurement protocols; 3. Following the example of microbeads, take priority steps to declare problematic plastics (such as single-use plastics) toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), and take preventative action to minimize environmental and human health risks by 2020 4. Build circularity into the federal government’s public procurement policies; 5. Demonstrate international leadership by championing a global treaty, built on the successful precedent of the Montreal Protocol. View the joint Declaration on Plastics here.
At the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, four countries endorsed a G7 ocean plastics Charter. Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the European Union signed onto an agreement to reduce the amount of waste in the world’s oceans, and to cut down on the use of single-use plastics. This charter calls for these countries to reduce their use of plastics, and, where alternatives are not available, to find ways to include more recycled materials in the plastics they do use.
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Read more about the G7 Summit Plastics Charter here The Globe and Mail: U.S, Japan decline to sign G7 agreement to reduce plastic waste in oceans The Star Halifax: Advocate says G7 charter needs plastic-reduction targets Global News: Canada reducing (but not banning) use of plastics at G7 in Quebec

BC Nature and Nature Canada Make Final Oral Argument Before Joint Review Panel
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BC Nature and Nature Canada Make Final Oral Argument Before Joint Review Panel

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="320"]Young Grizzly Bear Young Grizzly Bear by Tom Middleton[/caption] BC Nature and Nature Canada made their final oral argument last week on June 17 before the Joint Review Panel, which is considering the future of the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. These nature conservation groups are urging the Panel to conclude that the Northern Gateway application is incomplete, and therefore must be rejected. Under the National Energy Board Act, the Panel can only make a recommendation to the federal cabinet if it concludes that the pipeline application is complete. Even if the Panel recommends against the project, cabinet can reject the Panel's recommendation. However, if the Panel concludes that the application is incomplete, there is no recommendation to cabinet, and cabinet cannot approve the project. BC Nature and Nature Canada have been joint intervenors in the Northern Gateway review process for two years. During that time, they have led evidence on the project's potential impacts on the SARA listed woodland caribou and on terrestrial and marine birds, and have cross-examined Northern Gateway experts at four witness panels for a total of 25 hours. The nature conservation groups contend that Northern Gateway's environmental assessment is deficient and incomplete for a variety of reasons. These include its failure:

  • to properly assess impacts on SARA listed woodland caribou,
  • to provide a detailed baseline inventory of wildlife species impacted by the project,
  • to analyze consequences of oil spills on marine bird populations, and
  • to properly estimate the likelihood of an oil spill from tankers along the BC coast.
"The Exxon Valdez oil spill has shown us the catastrophic impact a spill can have on the marine bird species in the Pacific coast, some of which have yet to show signs of recovery after more than two decades," says Rosemary Fox, BC Nature's Conservation Chair. "Northern Gateway's claim that marine ecosystems recover within an average of five years after an oil spill shows that they have not learned anything from the Exxon Valdez experience." In its recent written final argument to the Panel, the Province of British Columbia recommends against approval of the project. This argument is based mainly on the inadequacy of information Northern Gateway has put forward regarding oil spill response, prevention, recovery, and mitigation. "We support the BC government's stance against this project. Northern Gateway's spill response plans are woefully inadequate," says Ian Davidson, Executive Director of Nature Canada. "However, Northern Gateway's application is also deficient in many other areas, such as baseline inventories of globally and continentally significant marine bird populations and Important Bird Areas impacted by this project," Davidson says. "In our opinion, the only reasonable conclusion that the Panel can draw is that the application is incomplete, and therefore must be rejected."

UPDATE – Version française – Your thoughts on the state of Environment Canada’s protected areas?
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UPDATE – Version française – Your thoughts on the state of Environment Canada’s protected areas?

Hello Readers! Bonjours lecteurs! Yesterday I posted information about a survey that Nature Canada is conducting to determine naturalists' and nature enthusiasts' views on the condition/state of Environment Canada's protected areas. To be more specific, I posted information on the English version of this survey. Mais, veuillez noter qu'il y a aussi une version française du sondage disponible içi. Once again, the French version of Nature Canada's survey is available here. Thanks for your interest! Merci infiniment de votre intérêt!

Your thoughts on the state of Environment Canada’s protected areas?
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Your thoughts on the state of Environment Canada’s protected areas?

Hello Readers! Have you ever visited one of Canada's National Wildlife Areas or Migratory Bird Sanctuaries? These sites make up Environment Canada's network of protected areas and complement our national parks system and provincial/territorial protected areas networks from coast to coast, to coast. Eventually, Marine Wildlife Areas will also make up Environment Canada's network, with the Scott Islands off of northern Vancouver Island slated as the first addition in 2012. Regardless of how you answer the above question, Nature Canada would like to know your views on National Wildlife Areas and Migratory Bird Sanctuaries. In fact, we're in the process of conducting of survey of naturalists and nature enthusiasts across Canada (and beyond) to better understand their views on the condition/state of these areas. Simply follow this link if you'd like to participate in the survey. Time to complete the survey shouldn't exceed 25 minutes and will vary depending on your level of familiarity with Environment Canada's protected areas. Nature Canada will use the results of this survey to inform a formal report on the state of Canada's National Wildlife Areas and Migratory Bird Sanctuaries (to be completed this fall). The report will build on previous work we've done on this theme, including Conserving Wildlife on a Shoestring Budget (2002) and Wildlife In Crisis (2004). Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the survey and/or Nature Canada's protected areas program. Photo 1 - A. Teucher, CFB Suffield National Wildlife Area

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