Biodiversity Loss: Holding on to Nature as Best as we Can
by argea on October 7, 2016 - 10:38pm
Biodiversity loss is a worrisome topic. We are losing species at a rate 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than we would without humans on the Earth (1). We can tell we are the problem and yet we will not bother to come up with a solution. Summits and conferences are booked to elicit action, but no one wants to put in the effort required to make a difference in our world; more likely no one wants to take the blame. We are not living sustainably. If we want to save our precious Earth, then we need to start acting now.
Greg Lowan-Trudeau gave a different perspective on biodiversity loss and the repercussions of government legislature on this topic in his article “The Time has come to Restore Protection of Canadian Ecosystems”. He refers specifically to Goal 15 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which encourages the protection, restoration and sustainable use of ecosystems and forests to reduce biodiversity loss.
As an indigenous person, Greg Lowan-Trudeau is hopeful that this goal will reduce the negative impacts many resource companies have caused by infringing on Aboriginal rights. But as a Canadian citizen, he worries that the Harper government has already caused outstanding devastation during their reign. By passing bills C-38 and C-45, they did away with much of the legislature protecting wild areas. The Harper government’s key motivator for reducing the protection of these lands was to ensure the potential for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline which President Obama rejected. We are now left with no pipeline, and a lack of protection for Indigenous territories and conserved land.
Our course on “Management of the Biophysical Environment” taught us that the state has their own agenda, and that the government enables their agenda. The government hoped to use their material power to gain access to lands. Passing bills C-38 and C-45 allowed the government to change legislation in their favour, making it easier to take land that was previously protected.
The Keystone XL pipeline was a prominent worry up until late 2015. The changes to bills C-38 and C-45 created increasing worry as they did away with much of the protection of conservation lands. Now in the post problem stage, the denial of the pipeline’s construction has lessened the public interest in this problem. By rejecting the proposal for the pipeline’s construction, President Obama inadvertently provided Indigenous territories and conservation lands with some more time. Now that the Harper government is no longer in power, the Liberal government has a chance to make some changes to legislature to provide these lands the protection they need.
Uncertainty in this issue caused many conflicts to arise. Value conflict arose from situations where the general populace valued their land while the government only saw it as an opportunity to generate income. The government lost the trust of a great deal of the population when they passed bills C-38 and C-45; the bills were written in such a way as to hide their real agenda from the public. Sadly, this resulted in behavioural conflict as the nation no longer trusted the government to build the pipeline in a moral and unselfish way. One thing was for certain however, and this was that the destruction of all this land would no doubt result in a loss of biodiversity.
We got lucky. The rejection of the pipeline allowed us the chance to save our land. Although it would have ensured greater income to the state, the pipeline would have had negative repercussions on much of Canada’s population and biodiversity. We have been given the time now to ensure changes are made to our legislature. Now let us make the most of it.
Lowan-Trudeau, G. (2015, November 10). The Time has come to Restore Protection of Canadian Ecosystems. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/development-unplugged/protect-canadian-ecosystems_b_8510172.html
1. World Wildlife Fund. (2016). How Many Species are We Losing? Retrieved from http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/biodiversity/biodiversity/