As a part of a Global mission to secure Earth’s biodiversity, Canada has committed to having 17% of land and inland water protected by 2020. Because Canada has 10% of the world’s forest, 25% of the world’s wetlands, and 20% of the world’s fresh water, achieving this goal will be influential across local and global scales.
Thanks to a grant from the Gosling Foundation, The Couchiching Conservancy is asking supporters to take the 17% pledge. You can add your name to show that you support and value the protection of Canada’s natural areas. Over five hundred people have already added their name to the pledge. And we are not surprised – after all, who wouldn’t want more protected land? If you need a little more convincing, here are five reasons you will want to sign the 17% pledge:
- Take part in a global mission: The pledge to protect 17% of land originated as a global goal set in Japan in 2010. Representatives from 110 countries all over the world met and committed to fulfilling the ‘Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Targets‘. .To access these targets you can find them online at (https://www.cbd.int/sp). So let’s show that Canadians still want to be global leaders in the conservation movement, and sign the 17% pledge.
- Support your local land-trust –The Couchiching Conservancy: We acquire and protect ecologically sensitive land, and keep it natural so that it can be a refuge for wildlife for generations to come. The Conservancy has been able to help bring more than 12,000 acres under protection in this region in the last decade, and contributes 2.1% to the 5.9% of protected land in this region. This was done by not-for-profits without drawing funds from the local tax base. However, without community support and interest, funding is much harder to come by, that is why showing your support by signing the pledge is essential.
- Save biodiversity and maintain natural corridors: As we reach the 17% goal here in Ontario we will be creating essential interconnected spaces for migratory animals to use. The Conservancy is already providing a safe refuge for 26 of the 39 species at risk, in our region. As properties come under protection we will link-up with other parks and land trusts across the province, and eventually the country, to be able to safeguard biodiversity here in Canada. By signing the pledge you will be the cornerstone on which we build this very real opportunity to protect diversity.
- For people; for all of us who live in and visit this region: We are stewards of this environment and we want kids to forever chase butterflies, catch frogs, and climb trees. Take a minute to think about your favorite childhood memories. Go on now, do it…Do you remember how wonderful it was to to have that feeling of freedom and discovery that can only come from immersion in nature. For adults time in nature is just as essential, it helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Sometimes you need to recharge, get away from your responsibilities and find a quiet spot where you can hear your own thoughts. Without action to conserve the landscape, we will lose the best place we have to get away from it all. Another great reason to help us protect land by signing the 17% pledge.
- So that natural green space is more accessible: Currently, 12.4% of land in the province is protected. The vast majority of this land is in northern Ontario where it does not face the same threats and pressures that habitats face in central and southern Ontario. By supporting protection in our region we can make green space more accessible for wildlife and people.
Here are only five, of dozens of reasons, why you should support the 17% pledge.
Aiesha Aggarwal and Courtney Baker are Engagement Organizers with the Couchiching Conservancy.
Sign the 17% Pledge to Protect Nature
Our provincial and federal governments have committed to bring at least 17% of the landscape under conservation by 2020. With only four years left to reach the target, Ontario has just 12.4% conserved in the Great Lakes region, and most of that is concentrated in the north.
In this region, non-government land trusts have brought more ecologically sensitive land under protection than any other organization in the last decade, helping to protect more than 12,000 acres.
Local land trusts are a practical, cost-effective way to bring important natural areas under protection and hold them in trust for the public for today and for future generations.
We invite you to lend your support to the Couchiching Conservancy by adding your name as a supporter of our efforts to protect this region’s vital lands – lands that are threatened daily due to many human activities –urban sprawl, climate change, resource exploitation, and invasive species to name a few.
I believe land trusts such as The Couchiching Conservancy play a vital role in helping Ontario meet its 17% conservation commitment by 2020 and I support the Conservancy’s vision of a prosperous, healthy region laced with clean lakes and beautiful, interconnected natural spaces.