CPAWS welcomes Prime Minister’s reaffirmation of federal commitments to protecting more of Canada’s land and ocean, and to nature-based climate solutions
Ottawa, Ont., June 9, 2020 – CPAWS welcomes the Prime Minister’s statements on World Environment Day (June 5, 2020) and World Oceans Day (June 8, 2020) that the Government of Canada is still committed to delivering on their promise to protect 25% of Canada’s land and ocean by 2025 and 30% by 2030 and to implement nature-based climate solutions. We are grateful that the health of the natural world is recognized by the federal government as essential to the well-being of Canadians, now and in the future.
As we tackle COVID-19, we must remember that the nature and climate change crises have not gone away, and must be addressed now to ensure a healthy, livable planet for our children and grandchildren. In fact, scientists have been quick to note that safeguarding nature is also critical to preventing future pandemics, making this work more important than ever.
Completing networks of well-designed and well-managed protected areas is key to reversing the on-going collapse of biodiversity. Destruction of habitat is the primary driver of biodiversity loss on land, and overexploitation is the primary driver in the ocean. Evidence shows that at least 30% and as much as 70% or more of ecosystems need to be protected to safeguard and restore the health of the planet. Conserving and restoring nature can also make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ecosystems, helps people and wildlife adapt to climate change.
During the current pandemic, nature has been more important than ever in the day-to-day lives of Canadians who have flocked to natural spaces seeking comfort, inspiration and hope . Putting nature at the heart of government priorities as we recover from COVID-19 and the associated economic crisis is essential to tackle the biodiversity and climate change crises, provide clean air, water and secure food sources, and will also support Canadians’ physical and mental health, contribute to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, and support jobs and our country’s economic well-being.
The federal government, in partnership with Indigenous governments, provinces, territories, NGOs and others, has made significant progress on nature conservation and climate action over the past four years. CPAWS urges all involved to redouble their efforts to deliver on these commitments, recognizing the multiple benefits that protecting and restoring our land and ocean will deliver to all Canadians, now and in the future.