2020 OPA Winter Sward

Musings - Winter 2020 ( Continued from page 8)

OPA Conference [KWC in 93] indicated that the biggest concern with the environment then was that the buffer system that made changes happen slowly over longer periods of time was gone, and the time between highs and lows was much shorter and more frequent. That is more easily seen these days. “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Aldo Leopold We’re destroying our Earth’s forests faster than ever before, without even realising it. 476 trees are being chopped down every second across the planet. Brazil’s tropical wetlands are being destroyed by fires [again] and clear cutting. According to the New York Times, a record amount of the rainforest in Brazil has been burned this year. An ‘unprecedented’ amount up to 10% [over 20,000 square kilometres] has been lost due to set fires in some cases, since their leader Balsonaro took office in 2018. In addition to the above loss, the Amazon has also had huge losses again due to severe drought and some being set to clear land for agriculture. Products are pushing much of the removal of trees. From cookies to cosmetics - our supermarkets are full of things fuelling the global deforestation. But now Europe is considering a new law to ban forest-killing products, and it could transform the global supply chain. Earth can’t wait much longer. US President Donald Trump just allowed cutting of one half of the Tongass National Forest Reserve in Alaska, 5 days ahead of the US election. This will make it legal for logging companies to build roads, and remove timber through 9.3 million acres of old-growth forest. This park also hosts salmon runs and imposing fjords that were protected by Bill Clinton in 2001, and safeguarded because it is one of the world’s largest temperate rainforests. Native populations have objected but not likely to have much impact as Trump wants to “open Alaska,” in his words.

forested, natural and environmentally sensitive areas before turning them into housing or industrial areas. So it is easier and less expensive to develop “to help business.” Doug Ford is also now changing the Conservation Authorities Act with the Ontario budget presented November 6th after a year and half review. According to a colleague, Doug Hevenor and Conservation Ontario, which is an overall organization representing all Conservation Authorities, instead of reducing red tape, the changes may make it worse by delaying permit approvals. They have been making changes for almost 2 years and thought they were making significant improvements. The Ford government has taken on more ministerial powers, developed rules for board appointments and reviewing all non mandatory programs and services. The question is, in whose eye is the evaluation? Ford is sounding like the leaders south of us. With the rate of development, I am not sure how we could do much more or faster in this part of Ontario. Our local KW Record supports the conservation mandate and chastises handing developers an easy path to development while not examining the environmental consequences. The Ontario government slashed funding for authorities by up to 50%, and now are suggesting that they will allow developers to bypass the municipal planning process, environmental assessments and meaningful public input. This is a time we need a healthy approach to our environment more than ever. Rising global temperatures have caused a 44 square mile chunk of the Arctic’s largest ice shelf in Northeast Greenland to break off and disintegrate. This part of the Spalte Glacier has been melting for 10 – 15 years but has accelerated due to temperatures rising above the rate of the rest of the continent. The National Geographic suggests this enormous loss in the Arctic affects the entire planet, as the melting ice is impacting the saltwater ocean’s ecosystem and the animals that inhabit it, and causing sea levels to rise. In July 2019, Alaska water became entirely free of ice as all ice within 150 miles surrounding Alaska had completely melted due to a scorching record setting hot month.

Ontario has removed many of the environmental assessment regulations needed to examine


Page 9

Ontario Parks Association

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