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.

Trump's lump of coal

Breathing is easier “beyond coal.”

In 2007, before the shut down of the coal-fired power generating plants in Ontario, there were 29 smog days and 11 smog advisories in Toronto.  It seemed that almost every hot day there was choking smog.  At that time, I couldn’t even escape to my cottage in the Kawarthas.  That same year, there were 21 smog days and 8 smog advisories in Peterborough County.

Can’t We Just Say No?

Joint US / Canada Sierra Club Meeting 2005

Thirteen years ago, I was hired as a consultant to provide expert advice on the impacts of the Digby Quarry. The local community had become alarmed about the quarry when they heard about plans to build a marine terminal at the site. Clearly, the quarry, which was originally 3.9 hectares –the size of quarry that eludes environmental assessment in Nova Scotia –was going to be much larger than they had thought. Turned out, a 120 hectare quarry was planned, located 50 metres from the shoreline.

Urban Sustainability Blog #4: Minimizing Waste In and Out of the Home

Our last post in the urban sustainability series saw us giving advice on how to take advantage of alternative modes of transport to help reduce single-occupancy vehicle commutes in Ontario. Now, we are switching gears to focus on another growing problem in societies of all shapes and sizes: waste. Waste accumulation is leading to pollution on a massive scale, leading to severe consequences for wildlife and humans alike.

Greenbelt: The LPAT Appeal To Rescue Thundering Waters Forest

At 9:46 AM, August 13, 2018, in the Niagara Falls Clerk’s Department, Dr. John Bacher filed a letter of appeal against Amendment 128 to the Niagara Falls Official Plan. The amendment aims to pave over 120 of the 500 acre Thundering Waters Forest. Most of the forest is considered provincially protected wetland barred from development. At the same time, much of the amended lands is known as the Riverfront Community consisting of an unusual savanna complex dominated by a native shrub species, the Dotted Hawthorn. (Photo: Martin Munoz)

Urban Sustainability Blog #3: How to Reduce City Footprint

As we have discussed so far, human beings have a profound impact on the environment. Throughout history, in different capacities, we have affected our natural surroundings in changing ways as technology evolved. As the world continues to become more urbanized, city-specific issues are some of the hot-button topics of the moment. (Photo: Ryan Searle)

Urban Sustainability Blog #2: Human-Environment Interaction in Ontario

Human activities have a profound effect on the environment. It is no secret that climate change, airborne pollution, the melting of the ice caps, plastic waste in the oceans, and various other disasters are advancing at alarming rates due to human operations in natural environments. With that said, plenty is being done to mitigate and reverse this damage; people are finding ways to embrace renewable energy, employ a circular economy model to reduce waste, and preserve wildlife all over the world, to name a few.  (Photo: Berkay Gumustekin)

Urban Sustainability Blog #1: Introduction and History of Urbanization in Ontario

The words “city life” tend to paint a certain picture in people’s minds. We think of public transportation, crowded streets, touristy places, and overall concrete jungles. There’s an exciting way of life that comes with living in cities, but this excitement could come at a cost by taking a bigger toll on the environment than one would imagine. Today, approximately 80% of Canada’s population (approximately 29 million people) lives in urban areas. Some 10 million of these people live here in Ontario, and about 6.9 million live in the Greater Toronto Area alone.

Greenbelt: Celebrating Greenbelt Expansion in the Niagara Region

Despite enormous pressures from developers and municipalities in the Niagara Region, the provincial government denied all requests to shrink and dilute the Greenbelt. This was done in two locations. One was in Grimsby south of the Niagara Escarpment, in an area that is increasingly being used for tree fruit and grape crops. Another is in a corridor from Lake Ontario to Lake Gibson, along the Twelve Mile Creek. 

Province Proposes to Rescue Huronia Through Greenbelt Expansion

"Protecting Water for Future Generations" warns that increased storm water discharges created by urbanization "adds sediment to streams that can negatively impact fish and other aquatic species" and also "increase water temperature, affecting the survival of fish species such as brook trout that need cold water". It stresses that Brook Trout will not survive in warmer water created through the ecological degradation associated with urbanization.

Canadian Youth Unite for Lake Erie at AquaHacking Challenge 2017

As the African proverb goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together”. This was quoted by one of the judges to conclude the 2017 AquaHacking semi-finals competition. It epitomized a powerful theme for an evening that involved bringing people and organizations together that had been working to develop integrated water governance by promoting technological innovation in this sector. Moreover, to engage future leaders by bringing water problems to the forefront of public and private sector agendas and fostering commitment to solving them. 

"Canada's Oceans: Towards 2020" - Protecting Canada's Oceans through the Power of Science, Art, and Policy

"Let's change our national motto - "From sea to sea" forgets that we have three oceans; the Arctic is largest part of our coastline. We're an ocean nation, if our youth grow up knowing that, it will change how we do things... 'From sea to sea to sea'!" - Geoff Green, Executive Director and Founder of Students on Ice

Sierra Club's Urban River Valley and Greenbelt Celebration Goes On at Mississauga's Environmental Appreciation Evening

"...The more we all know about and love the ecosystem that embeds and surrounds us, the more we feel that we are a part of it, the more we will see ways to enjoy, protect, and enhance what we have..."