For Immediate Release
Dr. Faisal Moola, Science Director, David Suzuki Foundation - (647) 993-5788
Dr. Jim Pojar, Report author and senior ecologist - (250) 847-9429
Protect Nature to Protect Us
New report and accompanying letter signed by top international scientists and environmental thinkers urges government to integrate nature conservation into provincial climate action strategy.
VANCOUVER - British Columbia's fight against climate change should focus on
conserving at least 50% of its land base using new strategies for
nature conservation and carbon storage, says a new peer-reviewed report
by senior ecologist Dr. Jim Pojar.
survival is intertwined with nature's survival, and climate change is
forcing us to re-evaluate the way we protect nature,” said Dr. Pojar.
“A minimum conservation target of 50% is what's necessary to give our
plants and animals a fighting chance to adapt, while also keeping and
drawing more carbon out of the atmosphere so that over time we can slow
and reduce climate change.”
The 50% figure emphasizes expansion
and connection of existing protected areas plus development of new
buffer zones and restoration areas, allowing sustainable resource
development while providing refuge for species and ecosystems across a
changing landscape. Additionally, because forestry economics are
changing dramatically, BC should look to opportunities opening for
conservation as a means of re-inventing the industry of the future.
are precedents for large-scale conservation in Canada. Ontario and
Quebec have made commitments to protect more than 50% of their Northern
Boreal regions, and BC has its own successful examples to build on,
including Haida Gwaii and the Great Bear Rainforest. Benefits of
large-scale conservation include greater clarity for where and how
resource development occurs, as well as economic and social benefits
like ecosystem services (e.g. clean air and water) and new markets for
carbon and conservation.
Accompanied by a letter signed by
several of the world's top environmental thinkers, including Dr. James
Hansen, Dr. Michael Soulé and Bill McKibben, and released to coincide
with the UN's International Year of Biodiversity, the report is the
second in less than a month to suggest that BC needs to change the way
it manages its environment in response to climate change.
a small price for being too early, but a huge penalty for being too
late when it comes to fighting climate change,” said Dr. James Hansen,
world-renowned climatologist and adjunct professor at Columbia
University. “Our efforts for mitigation and adaptation will be
meaningless unless they include immediate and substantial protection of
the natural systems that sustain us.”
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