“They don’t understand how the loss of habitat and species is having a direct impact on our quality of life.” – Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner
Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks with a member of the public in a partially flooded area of Constance Bay northwest of Ottawa on April 26, 2019. Photo by Kamara Morozuk
Four days after Doug Ford’s government spelled out 20-pages of weakened protections for Ontario’s species at risk in an omnibus housing bill, an 18,000-page report by over 450 scientists — who spent over three years creating a first exhaustive portrait of humanity’s devastating impacts on nature as a result of rapid urban development — conveyed one shocking fact: over one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction.
We can stop this, the United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report says, but it will take “transformative change” in every aspect of how humans interact with nature.
This change is not coming from the Doug Ford government, critics say, who are “sprinting the other way” by bolstering a status quo the UN assessment says desperately needs to change.
The Ford government is “sending in the bulldozers,” says Greenpeace Canada’s Shane Moffat, by giving way for developers to actively avoid species-at-risk protections. “The report really makes clear if we’re going to prevent this crisis of biodiversity, that means an end to business as usual … We don’t see a sign of that in Ontario. In a way, what Doug Ford is doing is worse than business as usual.”
Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said the report — which was based on thousands of scientific studies, and is the most comprehensive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe — is “frightening news.” Among its long list of astonishing findings, the report found that three-quarters of the world’s land area has been significantly altered by humans and 85 percent of the world’s wetlands have vanished since the 18th century, leading to the largest mass extincting the world has seen since the age of the dinosaurs.
Schreiner says the fact that it is the Ford government’s housing bill that guts endangered species protection suggests that “they don’t understand how the loss of habitat and species is having a direct impact on our quality of life.” MORE