November 13, 2018, in her last annual report issued two days before the termination of her office the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, (ECO), Dianne Saxe, issued an eloquent plea to bolster protection for southern Ontario’s besieged forests. Forming Chapter Three of her Back to Basics, the report was expressively termed, “Southern Ontario’s Disappearing Forests.” Here Saxe wrote, “Conserving forests must become a top priority in land-use planning, and creating the conditions for healthy urban trees must become a top priority in urban planning.”
Au Sierra Club Ontario, notre travail est concentré sur la protection des écosystèmes des Grand Lacs, sur l’expansion et la protection de la « Greenbelt », et de promouvoir l’adoption de l’énergie verte en Ontario. Le groupe travaille aussi sur des projets locaux, en collaboration avec d’autres communautés en Ontario.
Photo: Oka memorial (Quebec). Many of the Mohawks buried here are from families involved in the planting of the forest which took place between 1880 and 1920. Since for most of this period there were no tree nurseries geared to reforestation, the Mohawks had to gather pine seedlings from considerable distance to the north in canoes from forests where white pines still grew. Photo credit MaryLou Jorgensen-Bacher.
Today Niagara Region serves as a carbon sink thanks to its extensive wetlands south of the Niagara Escarpment. While over 90% of Southern Ontario’s wetlands have been drained, the degradation has not hit southern Niagara, where only 10% have been lost. These wetlands, mostly forested except the 1,500 hectare Wainfleet Bog, contribute to the cooling of our traumatically overheating earth.
The Objiway community of Eabametoong and Cree of Nestantaga in northern Ontario have found themselves on the front lines to avert catastrophe from climate change. They are anticipating a three-year struggle to oppose two new roads planned to accommodate mines in what has become known as Ontario’s Ring of Fire. The battle takes place via co-ordinated federal and provincial Environmental Assessments (EAs).
Two major environmental victories have taken place recently, derailing important parts of the war on the environment. Both victories saved programs to plant trees. Trees are critical to rescuing Lake Erie from massive algae blooms brought on by the twin evils of deforestation and phosphorus pollution.
Responding to an impassioned invite from teacher George Lehto, SCO members Leslie, Francine, and Aleks visited Charles E. Webster Public School in Toronto where they met with students from the school’s eco-club. Webster P.S. is an ecoschool which means they focus on learning via connecting with conservation, environmentalism, and develop gardening, tree planting, on their property.
Photo by Alex Walker
The Sierra Club Ontario has long supported the protection and re-naturalization efforts within the Rouge Watershed, specifically within the Rouge National Urban Park. The Friends of the Rouge Watershed (FRW) have been advocating for the continued protection of the Rouge, especially as it relates the Rouge National Urban Park (RNUP) Management Plan.
When the Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, announced the termination of an environmental assessment for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) West Corridor in December of 2015, those who cherish the earth in Ontario gave a great sigh of relief. The proposed 50 kilometer-long expressway planned to slash through entirely environmental and agricultural zones, much of which is protected by the Greenbelt. The plan was a salt tipped dagger on Lake Ontario.
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May 7, 2019
Reforestation and conservation cuts will only increase flooding and other environmental problems in an age when these problems are being amplified by climate change. We need to learn from past environmental mistakes if we wish to avoid repeating them.
By David Poch, Green Energy Coalition
On March 21st Ontario Minister of Energy, Greg Rickford, released Bill 87, entitled Fixing the Hydro Mess. But rather than sustainably reducing consumer bills in Ontario it will enlarge the economic and environmental mess that past energy policies are visiting on the province.
by Leslie Adams, SCO Executive Committee member
I hope that parents, school principal, and school board representatives in fact everyone! read this. This year April 4, 2019, is Healthy Schools Day (HSD) in Canada, every year Annually HSD highlights an important challenge to children’s health and the environment. Recognizing that awareness of an issue does not go far enough, HSD also outlines actions to take. The 2019 campaign focus is on the health impacts of diesel engine exhaust emissions and ways to reduce risk through exposure for the health of all.
Written by John Bacher, image by Danny Molneck
The name Bill 66 seems like a science fiction monster akin to Godzilla, which emerged out of the debris of nuclear contaminated post-war Japan. A similar scary beast has come forth today out of the fiendish populism of Ontario Premier, Doug Ford.
In a crucial time, when the land use planning policies he, himself, helped forge under three different parties, over 25 years, are under attack by the newly elected government of Premier Doug Ford, veteran land use planner, Victor Doyle, won a major victory.