Coalition In Ontario Call For Urgent Action To Protect Beluga Whales & At-Risk Species In Canadian Province

Belugas are currently listed as a species of special concern. This means the species lives in the wild in Ontario, is not endangered or threatened, but may become threatened or endangered due to a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats. (CNW Group, Ontario Nature)

People from across Ontario are declaring solidarity with species at-risk and are calling for urgent change in the way we affect the natural world that sustains us.

Twenty-eight authors, musicians, Indigenous Peoples, businesses and environmental organizations issued a joint statement earlier this week emphasizing humans’ collective responsibility to protect the natural health of Ontario, Canada and the planet.

A message that should resonate worldwide!

The statement was issued on the heels of the Government of Ontario’s public consultation on the Endangered Species Act, 2007. As the public awaits the government’s amendments to the act, its commitment to increasing “efficiencies for business” has prompted fears about the fate of plants and animals already imperilled throughout the province.

“The Ontario Endangered Species Act is meant to protect the province’s most vulnerable animals and plants. If we allow even more of their critical habitat to be opened up for business, it’s only a matter of time before that life support is cut off completely,” stated David Suzuki, co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. “The Ontario government has a responsibility to identify and protect species at risk. These species have already been waiting too long for our support. It’s beyond time to strengthen the act and improve its implementation, not go backwards by opening the door for more business.”

More than 230 of Ontario’s plant and animal species are in danger of disappearing, largely due to habitat loss and disturbance. Industrial activity and development are key drivers of that loss. The ESA already provides significant exemptions to industry; further weakening the act will only increase the threats to the province’s most vulnerable species.

The joint statement emphasizes the interconnection of all life and the importance of the persistence and recovery of species at risk for human health. It also highlights the limits to Earth’s capacity to sustain human activity, and the urgent need to change our approach to how we interact with nature.

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