Canada’s Efforts in Conservation
by Andriwagner on October 7, 2017 - 10:34pm
Canada’s Efforts in Conservation
In 2017 Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) reviewed Canada’s progress in their commitment to the 2010 United Nations Convention on Biodiversity. The goal is to slow the progression of fresh water and land degradation by increasing the amount of protected land nation wide to 17 percent by 2020. Currently, Canada holds 20 percent of Earths forests, and 24 percent of fresh water. According to CPAWS, Canada is lagging in their commitments. Canada has increased their protected land by exactly 1 percent from 9.6 to 10.6 in ten years. This pales in comparison to the other top G7 countries such as Germany who has 38.7 percent of their land protected.
Canada recognizes the importance of protecting our natural habitats in order to ensure the survival of not only endangered species but humans as well. However, according to Eric Herbert-Daly, CPAWS national executive director, the problem lies within the lack of political will, the nations mentality, and ownership of responsibility.
Since the report, some headway has been made. For the first time since 2010 environmental ministers from provinces and territories have met with Catherine McKenna, the federal environmental minister, to discuss how to reach the 2020 goal of 17 percent in protected lands. The meeting signifies the beginning of a shift to a connected network rather than a separate collection of protected areas. This connection will help in mitigating climate change, by promoting complexity in ecosystems. Other efforts to reach this goal have included the implementation of government advisory panels for scientific sectors, and an Indigenous Circle of Experts. These are all positive aspects showcasing how Canada is making an effort to expand the area of protected land. Eric Herbert-Daly of CPAWS is confident that the goal of 17 percent is still attainable by 2020, but reiterates that this is more of a milestone than an end goal.
I believe this article expresses how Canada has a lot of work to do in order to achieve 17 percent of protected land and water areas, from our 10.6 percent current standing. It explains where our slow progress may stem from, the absence of environmental stewardships, and the lack of clarity with regards to role of the state. I also believe Canada is lagging due to lack of incentives, and a conflict in interest over land use. Preserving lands eliminates the potential for swift economic growth through the exploitation of these resources i.e. logging or commercial fishing. We have seen little change in the last ten years because Canada capitalizes on profits from forestry, and protecting more of them will inhibit their exploitation.
I trust that the proactive stance environmental ministers have begun to take such as assembling a panel on science and an Indigenous Circle of Experts which will include their traditional knowledge is a beneficial one. From this step in the right direction it will ensure proper consultation with aboriginals so to not infringe on their rights. In bridging government and Indigenous relationships by incorporating their Indigenous knowledge to expanding protected areas will lead to appease the aboriginal communities. I think this is important because Indigenous peoples have greater knowledge of proper land management use and avoid the idea of knowledge being stuck at a certain point in time and instead move and shape their way of life with the land. Through all these initiatives I think Canada is making a solid effort to deviate from their slow progress and this article does a good job to explain all of this.