Sustainability

In order to preserve our planet, we need to learn to live in harmony with nature. On both the national and the local level, the Sierra Club Canada Foundation is engaged in promoting ways to live in a sustainable fashion.

Come run with Sierra Club Canada Foundation and fundraise for the Planet!


Do you have a passion for the environment and want to do something to help stop Climate Change? Would you love to be part of something bigger and make an impact in your community? Are you looking to get back in shape and achieve your 2017 fitness goals? Or... do you just simply enjoy running for the fun of it?

Red Flags Waving for Rouge National Urban Park

The following article was written by Stephanie Hulse, Sierra Club Ontario's Environmental Outreach Coordinator.

Did you know that in the heart of Ontario’s Greenbelt - a swath of federal protected conservation land that reaches from Niagara to Northumberland (also known as the Greater Golden Horseshoe) - is a national park under threat from a range of sprawl-related issues?

It's finally here: Greenbelt Plan 2017!


The (Greenbelt Plan's) amendments uphold the Greenbelt's most central legacy: its permanence.


The following article was written by Thaia Jones, Sierra Club Ontario's Greenbelt Campaign Chair.

HERE AT LAST! 

On May 18th Minister Bill Mauro, Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, officially presented the new Provincial Greenbelt Legislation. Two years after so many of us wrote submissions or attended Town Hall meetings to discuss the Crombie Report on Greenbelt and Growth Plans for the Greater Golden Horseshoe's Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review, the results are finally in!

But was it a WIN for environmentalists and the Greenbelt? Or was it a LOSS? Or a bit of both?  Environmental groups are still dissecting the complexity of details to find the answers.  Even then, we won’t be sure until the legislation is gradually turned into implementation and implementation is accompanied by the effective monitoring and enforcement strategies that have been stipulated.   

That being said, the overall results are promising. The general consensus is that the new legislation is an improvement over the old, with greater protections for boundaries, more attention to curbing sprawl and more rigorous environmental assessment required.  Monitoring and enforcement plans are to be designed and followed.              

The provincial announcement was low key, generating little public attention or interest, possibly giving the province plenty of leeway in how promptly and energetically to act. Nevertheless, it sent a clear message to municipalities and developers that boundaries would be considerably more difficult to breach and sprawl would be gradually curbed. 

The revised ratio of infilling urban development to greenfield(1) development is 60-40, with tight new restrictions on size and ease of growth around small communities.  This latter restriction was a last minute legislative alteration and was quite likely a response to the 45,000 petition letters received.  Unfortunately, the new ratio will be phased in between now and 2031, giving little help to beleaguered groups such as the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition who hoped for more immediate aid in slowing the rapid greenfield development in their area. 

Also very encouraging is the province’s continued expression of interest in growing the greenbelt beyond its current borders. Growth through 21 urban river valleys(2) and 7 coastal wetlands remains a definite promise, but interest extends well beyond this to additional packages that have particular hydrological or other importance and that may not be too challenging to designate. The province is seeking recommendations from Environmental Defence in identifying some possible packages.  Additionally, farm organizations are expressing increasing interest in exploring forms of protection for farmland increasingly threatened by sprawl, and their interest may lead to further countryside protections of one sort or another. 

In summary, the legislation is here, and overall it looks good.  We may cautiously count it as a win for the Greenbelt, and also a win for communities that might have found their infrastructure costly and unsustainable if they had succumbed to the short term allure of sprawl.  It is not such a pleasing scenario at present for developers, who lobbied hard for fewer rather than more restrictions.

But the process of implementation has not yet begun and this next phase will be as important to get right as was the legislation itself. Our next work is already waiting for us.  We must remain vigilant as new challenges emerge in interpreting the legislation, and we must find ways to encourage the province to keep up momentum as it works to turn its plans into realities.


Celebrating “National Indigenous Peoples Day”: A step in the right direction


The following article was written by Stephanie Hulse, Sierra Club Ontario's Environmental Outreach Intern.

Before I begin this blog, I must preface that I will be referring to all non- Indigenous Peoples living in the “land that is now known as Canada” as immigrant settlers.

Protecting whales and water on World Oceans Day and every day.

Few things are as spectacular and awe-inducing as a breaching humpback whale.

The sheer enormity of their body, with such strength and grace – blasting out of the water, seeming to defy the laws of gravity even just for a moment – is enough to take your breath away. It’s acrobatics and ballet on the largest scale, with a splash down that is out of this world!

It’s what they do, and it is what they have done for millennia.

Potential Revival of Mid-Peninsula Expressway Threatens Ontario's Greenbelt and Local Habitats

“A Politician only thinks of the next election... A Leader thinks of the next generation.” 

Patrick Brown, Ontario PC Leader, has shown support for the shelved Mid-Peninsula Expressway - representing a threat to Ontario's Greenbelt, including some of the local communities, green space, and wildlife habitat that it has been supporting ever since its establishment in 2005.

The following article was written by Dr.

Nature is Home at Canadian Parks Conference 2017

“Is there anyone among us who has the courage to stand and say, will tomorrow’s child know the wonders I see today?”

Wonders I’ve Seen by The Bills  (2016)


This year the Canadian Parks Conference 2017 was held in Banff National Park at the Banff Centre, overlooking Banff town and the Bow Valley from March 8-11..

Hosted by the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association with its partners the Canadian Recreation and Parks Association, and the Canadian Parks Council, the conference, which included many invited speakers and three hundred attendees, was an inspired four days of discussion.

Welcome home blue whales!

I'm devastated to report that the licence for oil and gas drilling has been approved in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and there’s not one thing whales can do to stop it.

We're not giving up and neither are they.

At this very moment – mile by mile, heading north – they’re coming back.

Over the next few weeks, blue whales will be making their way back to Canadian waters.

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. 

In Defence of the Gulf of St. Lawrence - Open Letter to Federal and Provincial Ministers

To the federal and provincial governments who have the jurisdiction over this issue, we submit this letter - signed by over 1400 people in under 72 hours. It is time to stand up for the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the people who border it's waters, and the thousands of species who call it home. 

See Media Release