Clean air, water and soil to grow food are necessities of life. So are diverse plant and animal populations. But as the human population continues to increase, animal numbers are falling. Habitat degradation and destruction, hunting and overfishing, the illegal wildlife trade, invasive species, disease, pollution and climate change are causing an extinction crisis unlike any since dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago.
There's nothing like the potential loss of Earth's rich biodiversity and planetary life support systems to make one feel, well, a little overwhelmed. Our individual actions can seem like small roles on a very big stage. But it's important to remember that our current crisis of biodiversity loss didn't result from one catastrophic event.
Without the forest and the economic activity it generates, the North Shore, the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and all the other forest regions of Quebec would not have experienced the same level of economic development that has benefited all Quebecers. However, forestry activity could fall sharply in the fairly near future.
We need to protect as much land as possible from all human activities so remaining wildlife populations have the space and resources needed to respond to predation and food supply challenges. The cost of restricting industrial development in B.C.'s forests would be expensive in terms of lost revenue, but it would save us having to micromanage every dwindling species.
All you have to do is bring Mather Nature indoors in the form of plants. For many Canadians, this isn't entirely a new concept. For decades, plants have been brought into the home and office to brighten up the mood and add some colour to an otherwise drab atmosphere. But the benefits are far greater than aesthetics.
If we disconnect from the natural world, we become disconnected from who we are -- to the detriment of our health and the health of the ecosystems on which our well-being and survival depend. Understanding that we're part of nature and acting on that understanding makes us healthier and happier, and encourages us to care for the natural systems around us.
Any mountain meal in Europe is likely comprised of some local ingredients. Taking it one step further, the Monti Sibillini National Park in Central Italy is offering a pure mountain taste. The project called "Menu of the Sibillini" has challenged restaurants in the park to create a dish whereby every single ingredient is from the park.
Someone recently asked me how I would invest a million dollars to help conserve Lake Erie. When I really thought about it, the answer became clear: if I had a million dollars to spend on Lake Erie, I'd hire a public relations firm to remake our collective perceptions and rebrand the world's 11th largest lake.
We've become impatient. We're so demanding that we're unwilling to slow down and ensure our major projects are sustainable for human society and the biosphere. Over the past century, we've burned increasing amounts of finite fossil fuels that were stored and compressed over millions of years, exacerbating conditions that lead to climate chaos.
In terms of statistics, 12 per cent grew antibiotic resistance and became marginalized from others. Twenty-eight per cent of the population chose a wealthy style, happily living in their gated biofilms. Half of all the bacteria decided to take a middle-class lifestyle, choosing an easy nutrient source and never engaging in any extreme activity.
Bees may be small, but they play a big role in human health and survival. Some experts say one of every three bites of food we eat depends on them. The insects pollinate everything from apples and zucchini to blueberries and almonds. If bees and other pollinators are at risk, entire terrestrial ecosystems are at risk, and so are we.
Improving the way we fish and grow seafood is critical to the survival of some of our planet's most threatened marine and freshwater species and environments. But a national sustainable seafood day is also a critical reminder that even through our everyday choices in what food we buy, we can have a profound impact on the future of life on our planet. And nowhere is that more true than at our fish counters.