In a society where many people draw significant value from consumerism and the never-ending need to buy and own more things, perhaps the most radical decision we can make is to give back to the causes that matter the most to us.
This is the premise behind Giving Tuesday, a global movement representing a day of radical generosity. This year, the tenth anniversary of Giving Tuesday takes place on November 29, and at Ontario Nature we are raising funds to protect wetlands, which are vital for conserving biodiversity and for minimizing and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
Wetlands are Wonderful
Wetlands encompass a variety of ecosystems, such as bogs, fens, swamps and marshes, that are permanently or seasonally saturated with water. These valuable ecosystems provide habitat for a wide range of biodiversity, including the over 20 percent of Ontario’s species at risk that depend on wetlands for their survival.
Wetlands also provide myriad benefits that contribute to sustaining human and all other life, such as flood control, nutrient cycling, water purification and drought mitigation (just to name a few). Their carbon storage and sequestration values also position wetlands as exceptional nature-based climate solutions. One report prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources estimated that wetland ecosystems provide more than $50 billion worth of services per year in southern Ontario alone!
Despite their numerous benefits, over 72 percent of historical wetland area has been lost from southern Ontario, and wetland losses continue to occur across the province. Wetland losses will only be accelerated if the Government of Ontario moves to accept the erosion of environmental protection and sustainable watershed planning proposed in Bill 23 which was tabled on October 25. Among its many damaging changes, Bill 23 would overhaul the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System, making it more difficult to designate and protect wetlands as provincially significant.
The immense value provided by Ontario’s wetlands and the imminent threats they face is why we’re asking you to support our work to protect these critical ecosystems.
Ontario Nature Works for Wetlands
The team at Ontario Nature has had a long-standing and on-going role in wetland protection through a variety of approaches, such as:
Providing on-the-ground protection for over 630 hectares of marshes, swamps, bogs and fens, and wetland-depended species at risk (including Blanding’s turtles, least bitterns and black ash) through our system of 26 Nature Reserves which also contribute 3,124 hectares of natural areas to the federal target to protect 30 percent of Canada’s lands and waters by 2030;
Facilitating public engagement on wetland policies through Action Alerts (e.g., our most recent alert addressing Bill 23) and providing resources that equip readers with the knowledge needed to comment on contentious policy issues (e.g., our report about wetland offsetting titled “Navigating the Swamp”);
As a charitable organization, Ontario Nature depends on the generosity of our members and other partners to conduct this important work. To help us continue standing up for wetlands across the province, please consider donating to our Giving Tuesday campaign to contribute to our goal of raising $30,000 for wetlands. Donations up to $7,500 will be matched by our friends at Quest Nature Tours.
If you want to learn more about these valuable ecosystems, we invite you to attend our Working Together for Ontario’s Wetlands webinar sponsored by the Zita and Mark Bernstein Family Foundation on Tuesday, November 22nd.
Sarah Hasenack (she/her) joined Ontario Nature as a Wetland Conservation Intern in Spring 2022. She has a passion for the protection and appreciation of nature fostered through years of family camping and hiking trips, which is now backed up by a Bachelor and a Master of Science in Environmental Sciences completed at the University of Guelph.