Health & Wellbeing

Human health is intimately connected to the health of the planet. We need fresh water, clean oceans, and natural spaces that contain a rich array of animals, insects and plants. Promoting education about and recreation in our natural spaces has been a part of the Sierra Club philosophy since it was founded in 1892.

ACTION ALERT: Act Now to Protect our Greenbelt from Costly Urban Sprawl


Going from Greenbelt to a ‘Swiss Cheese belt’...

On Monday March 20th, the development industry hosted a lobby day at Queen’s Park to drive home the message that land in and around the Greenbelt is essential to avert the growing housing crisis in Toronto and the GTA. However, we know this is not accurate. 

The Ontario Greenbelt is a great success, but is its future secure?


The following article was originally published in August 2016 on Sierra Club Canada Foundation's blog.

At almost 2 million acres, it’s the world’s largest permanently protected greenbelt.  Dan McDermott, who is just stepping down as Chapter Director of Sierra Ontario after many years, weighs in on the Greenbelt’s successes and his concerns for its future as it reaches the ten-year review point.

Great Lakes Protection

The Great Lakes hold 1/5th of the world's fresh surface water supply and currently provide drinking water to over 42 million people. The health of these lakes is critical. The Great Lakes Campaign works to address the concerns related to the Great Lakes Basin, water conservation, and pollution prevention. The specific problems in the Great Lakes have changed over time, but the broader issues have remained – those of deteriorating water quality through industrial and municipal uses, fluctuating water levels, flooding, and shoreline erosion.

Remembering Dan McDermott - Former Chapter Director, Sierra Club Ontario

Dan McDermott (May 6, 1947 - January 4, 2017)

 

Dan McDermott, Sierra Club Canada’s Ontario Chapter Director for 13 years, passed away peacefully on January 4th 2017. It is wonderful to see his influential life mentioned in these posts, which have featured in the news recently with reflections and thoughts on Dan’s life, what he dedicated it to, and his passing three weeks ago.

 

Make Muskrat Right - It's On all of Us Now

Over the past few weeks,  protests about the potential for methyl mercury contamination downstream of the Muskrat Falls development in Labrador made national headlines. Sierra Club Canada Foundation has voiced strong opposition to the Muskrat Falls project for years, and tried to show the damage it will cause to wildlife and the Grande River, and the people who live downstream. We also tried to demonstrate that this type of mega-hydro development was not needed to meet our climate objectives, and there were plenty of less damaging, less expensive alternatives. All to no avail. Till now.

Contact Premier Wynne to voice your support for a fully protected and growing Greenbelt

There are positive proposals within the four draft provincial plans, including the Greenbelt plan, open for public comment until October 31st, Urban River Valley additions to note one example. There are also some alarming proposed changes that would allow land to be taken out of the current Greenbelt and handed to the developers. Section 3.4 Settlement Areas of the Greenbelt draft contains an outline of a proposed process that could do just that and subject the Greenbelt to being turned into a Swiss cheese belt.

Shipments of Liquid Nuclear Waste Scheduled to Begin Soon

Authorities in Canada and the United States are preparing to ship approximately 150 truckloads of liquid nuclear waste from Chalk River, Ontario to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The material is a mixture of bomb grade uranium together with a witches’ brew of highly radioactive fission products dissolved in nitric acid.

Active Transportation

Through the leadership of Sierra Club member David Laing and a keen group of local cyclists, Bike Brampton is in it's third year of operation. June is Bike Month, and Bike Brampton's signature event is Bike the Creek. Over 500 cyclists participated in this year's third annual Bike the Etobicoke Creek event on June 18. Bike the Creek is a FREE event aimed at encouraging people of all ages to discover the joys of cycling. Four route options were offered this year, suiting all ages and levels of expertise from first time to seasoned participants. 

Norval Quarry

The Proposed Norval Quarry is located within the Greenbelt in North West Brampton, a small area rich in natural heritage along the Credit River valley. The proposed shale extraction site has a tributary of the Credit River running through it, along with other Provincially Significant wetlands, and Significant Woodlands. Fish habit restoration by the MNR & CVC is on going in this tributary, to restore spawning trout habitat. Existing and future residential homes neighbor the quarry operations, as well as religious and educational institutions.

Grow Our Greenbelt

Sierra Club Ontario's Greenbelt Campaign is currently focused on Protecting and Growing the Greenbelt. Building on support from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Sierra Club Ontario has been making advances in protecting threatened ecosystems in Peel and Durham Region.

Coal Fire Plant Phase Out

In Ontario, coal power plants supply approximately 10% of the energy used to power factories, homes and businesses. However, the negative environmental effects of burning coal are well known: increasing CO2 and methane concentrations in the atmosphere and release of toxic heavy metals.

Waste Diversion

The manner in which we deal with our ''waste" is a key part of the foundation of a sustainable world.  Isn't sustainability another word for balance? We must learn how to use the world's resources such as wood, rocks, metals and oil in a more balanced manner.

Great Lakes Protection

Our Great Lakes Campaign committee is looking at environmental education programs for water conservation and advocating for stronger policies for pollution prevention. We work collaboratively with the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter in the States to implement solutions dedicated to restoring and protecting the health of these lakes.

Other concerns are acid rain, airborne toxics, depletion of wetland areas, increased demands on the shoreline land base. The impacts associated with the introduction of exotic species, and climate change, as well as drug residues in sewage effluent and the discovery that flame-retardants leaking from computers and mattresses are building up rapidly in the tissues of many animals living in the lakes.

Pesticides

What are Pesticides?

Pesticides (herbicides, vermicides, fungicides, and rodenticides)  are poisons designed to kill insects, plants, fungi, moulds and rodents.  Pesticides contain “active” ingredients (the chemicals intended to kill), and so-called “inert” ingredients.  These are considered trade secrets, and although in many cases they can be even more toxic than “active” chemicals, most consumers are completely unaware they exist.  Even when used as directed, pesticides have many negative side effects on human health and the environment.