Coming Out of This Pandemic, a New Relationship to Wildlife Is Needed For Nature And People

“At the root of the current (COVID-19) crisis, and fundamental to the solution, are our relationships with the other species that share our planet.”

Something Our Niagara Regional Councillors Should Consider Before Voting on New Measures to Protect What is Left of our Region’s Precious Natural Heritage

An Article by Dan Krause for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (with permission from the Nature Conservancy to share it on Niagara At Large)

Posted November 23rdd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Brief Foreword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper – 

As our Niagara Regional Council, including the mayors of Niagara’s 12 municipalities, prepare to decide how far our Regional government should go in protecting and preserving what is left of our natural heritage, all of our municipal leaders should take what scientists around the world have to say about the bond between healthy natural heritage systems and the health of you and I, our families, our friends and our communities.

What is at stake? Why do we need new measures to protect our remaining woodlands, wetlands and other natural places from predatory developers? It is for places like this -Waverly Woods, now a target for condos, along the Lake Erie shores in Fort Erie, Ontario. File photo by Doug Draper

Our Regional Councillors, including Niagara’s local mayors, are scheduled to consider how far they should go in protecting what is left of our natural heritage at a special meeting of the Region’s council this coming December 1st.

Please – I URGE YOU – contact your Mayor and your directly elected members of Niagara Regional Council as soon as possible and urge them to support the strongest measures of protection – Option 3C –  in a draft of a new Official Plan for the Region that is now under consideration.

Niagara At Large will have more to say about this in the days ahead.

Now here is the Article from the Nature Conservancy of Canada – 

Bee on flower (Photo by NCC)

COVID-19 has brought us unprecedented health and economic challenges. It will test the resolve and resiliency of each Canadian and our nation. Crises have a way of unveiling truths, flaws and misconceptions in any society. Our immediate crisis is reinforcing the importance of family, community, health care and food security.

But at the root of the current crisis, and fundamental to the solution, are our relationships with the other species that share our planet. National Wildlife Week is an opportunity to reflect on how we value all species, including our own, and our connections to the natural world.

Lower Big Creek near Norfolk, ON (Photo by NCC)

The good news amidst the current crisis is that while society adapts to a new normal, nature is continuing to provide us with critical services. Wetlands are filtering drinking water and holding back floods. The roots of willows and cottonwoods are binding soil and keeping it from eroding along rivers and streams.

Budding urban trees will soon ramp up their service of purifying air and shading our streets and homes. All point to nature’s critical role in our well-being. And that we need nature’s services now, more than ever.

Many of the fruits and vegetables grown in Canada are pollinated by non-native honey bees that are shipped around the world. As these shipments are stalled, the role of local native pollinators has perhaps never been more important. While native bees, butterflies, beetles and other insects may never fully replace honey bees on our farms, their conservation and restoration in our agricultural ecosystems will help to strengthen future food security.

Perhaps the most important services that nature provides are the health benefits that come from connecting with the natural world. There is clear evidence that spending time in nature improves our well-being. Many people are practicing safe physical distancing outdoors. But even just looking at pictures of wildlife, virtually exploring nature and making plans to visit natural areas once it is safe to do so can help nurture our mental health.

Tree blossoming (photo by John Brighenti, CC-BY-2.0)

There’s little question that COVID-19 was transmitted to people in wildlife markets. Growing calls to shut down the illegal trade of wild animals, including endangered species, will support conservation and reduce the probability of future outbreaks. But the loss of nature and disease is not just limited to foreign places. In North America, the rapid spread of Lyme disease has been linked to human-caused alterations to food webs and habitats and climate change.

The fact is, biodiversity loss and climate change don’t just result in a loss of nature, they create uncertainty that threatens our security, economy, well-being and unnecessarily pushes our society into dark and uncomfortable corners. The health and security of nature are the health and security of all of us.

If there is a silver lining in our current situation, it may be that this time of physical distancing represents an opportunity to renew our connections to the people we love, our communities and to nature.

In every community across Canada, birds are still migrating, wildflowers are blooming and many animals are preparing for their next generation. This time offers an opportunity to learn about the extraordinary wildlife that shares our country and communities. If you have a backyard, it’s an opportunity to explore how nature can be welcomed back home in the place you live.

Nature is the foundation of our society. Once we emerge into a post-COVID world, we will have an opportunity to rebuild this foundation. In the south, wildlife and habitats can be restored, while in our northlands we can conserve some of the planet’s last wilderness. Caring for nature is caring for ourselves.

Discovering, knowing and sharing your relationship with nature is critical. Use this time to connect with nature. Help your children to find this connection and a love for the natural world. This relationship will change you. And you can change the world.

Who We Are – The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading national land conservation organization. A private, non-profit organization, we partner with individuals, corporations, foundations, Indigenous communities and other non-profit organizations and governments at all levels to protect our most important natural treasures — the natural areas that sustain Canada’s plants and wildlife. We secure properties (through donation, purchase, conservation agreement and the relinquishment of other legal interests in land) and manage them for the long term.

Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast.

For more information on the Nature Conservancy of Canada and heroic work it does to protect and preserve natural heritage systems across our country, click on – https://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/

Niagara At Large will be posting more on this in the days leading up to the Region’s December 1st special council meeting. This image courtesy of Biodiversity and Climate Action Niagara, a coalition of citizen groups across our region, dedicated to protecting and preserving our natural heritage.

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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