We support the vision of Ontario’s Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009, which is to make Ontario a world leader in the development of clean and renewable energy. To guarantee that this vision is realized, it must be implemented in a way that does not compromise the protection of Ontario’s wildlife and wild spaces.
Landscape Resilience and Adaptation
Leaders in the green energy field – whether government or industry – must strive to be “green”. This means protecting the landscape to reduce the impacts of climate change.
We work to maintain a high degree of biodiversity through our nature reserve system and our Greenway Program. Policy and regulations under the Green Energy Act should require green energy project leaders to consider and address impacts of proposed projects on wildlife and the habitat they depend on.
Without interconnected natural areas, 20 to 30 percent of the earth’s plants and animals may face extinction – the largest mass extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs more than 65 million years ago. The possible intensification of natural disturbances such as fire, flood and drought will further threaten biological diversity.
In Ontario, the impacts of climate change are predicted to include:
- Increased and more severe insect infestations and disease outbreaks
- Fluctuating water levels
- Higher temperatures
- Changes to plant and animal distributions
- A rise in extreme weather events.
Ontario Nature supports the United Nations appointed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s call for climate change adaptation strategies that maintain or establish linkages among natural areas that allow species to move and adapt as habitat changes. Without such areas to allow species to move and adapt, species will be less likely to survive.
A big picture approach to land use planning is required, one that retains connections among remaining wild spaces through a network of connected cores and corridors.