Biodiversity –– the Wealth of Natural Riches

The word “Biodiversity” has become prominent in the press and in our daily language. What does it mean?

 

Often it just means how many kinds of plants or animals –- the number of species. A common aim is to conserve the highest number of species. But a large number of species with only few individuals of […]

Beauty in Our Future

“When did we say yes to beauty being discarded deleted and demeaned? Where is the agreement that beauty is optional – not urgent for us to thrive? We have not signed up. Have we learned the price of everything yet know the value of nothing?

 

How could we have missed understanding that beauty is a strength […]

Absolute Ownership –– A Myth in Need of Updating

Some acquaintances react rather badly when they hear “first nations and settlers”. They don’t like being called “settlers”. Their reaction reflects a widespread failure to accept the fact that the lands, that we now call “our lands”, were previously called “our lands” by other folks who were here before our ancestors.

 

When our ancestors invaded these […]

The Kennebec Wetland Complex – A Provincially Significant Wetland

In 1993, when Ontario’s wetlands were being surveyed and catalogued, Rob Snetsinger was contracted to do a wetland in what was then the Township of Kennebec.

The protocol for this work dictated that if another wetland was encountered within 750 metres of the one being surveyed, they should simply be counted as one complex wetland. Snetsinger […]

Successful Stewardship

Successful stewardship or land care means attending to the goals of the people on the land in ecological, economic and cultural considerations. Stewardship is not really very different from care of communities on the land so that the resilience of their ecosystem is safeguarded. An outstanding characteristic of stewardship or ecological land care is that […]

Cats and Birds

A recent study by Environment Canada published in Avian Conservation and Ecology estimated that human activities accounted for about 270 million bird deaths in a year. Cat predation accounted for about 75% of the total bird deaths – just over 200 million. At the same time, some bird species in Canada have declined by up […]

Effects of Impoundments

We have many dams on Ontario streams (1,596 medium and large dams*). Too often, discussions of watershed management suggest only control structures such as dams, but few fundamentals such as watershed habitats, particularly headwaters, and stream conditions. Dams don’t just control floods; dams have other impacts both upstream and downstream.

 

Impounding water upstream of dams and […]

Sustainability is Not Only About Humans

Recently, the Globe and Mail gave Canada’s colleges significant, welcome publicity. But the marketing program labeled “sustainability” is questionable. Policies, teaching and research in the colleges that is flagged “sustainability” actually only addresses reducing negative human impacts on our natural ecosystems. These college programs are about damage prevention, not sustaining our natural riches or the […]

Evidence and Decisions

A policy or a management decision about the environment has two major components. Simplified, we can call these content and process. Content deals with the evidence about the issue while process is about how a decision is reached and applied.

 

Over the span of several recent Canadian governments, decisions about our environment have given higher priority […]

Weighing and Marketing the Evidence

It is now a common opinion that discussions of environmental (ecological) issues should be based on evidence. Considering current sources of information from social media flashes and TV clips, one must ask: what constitutes evidence? And how should we weigh or value various types of evidence?

 

Knowledge is produced from research by several groups with differing […]