In Canada and around the world, most wetlands are in trouble.
We have not been good stewards of our planet's wetlands. Although they cover only about six per cent of the Earth's surface, wetlands are one of the most impacted habitats. The global loss of wetlands is staggering. Since 1900, more than 64 per cent of the world's wetlands have been lost, with about 50 per cent of this loss occurring since 1970.
If you used water today to brush your teeth, cook or quench your thirst, you should probably thank a wetland! World Wetlands Day, celebrated every February 2nd, is an opportunity to learn about the value and importance of wetlands to Canadians. If you're wondering why you should care, consider what wetlands do for us.
Under no net loss, the loss of one acre of habitat displaced by development is replaced with one acre of the same habitat. In theory, we should end up with the same features and functions as we had before, and have no loss. Unfortunately, no net loss rarely works this way.
A University of Saskatchewan biologist says many wetlands across the Prairies are being contaminated by a relatively new
News of the devastating floods in Alberta hit Canadians hard. While calls are mounting for the need to rebuild and strengthen infrastructure such as dikes, storm-water management systems and stream-channel diversion projects, we've overlooked one of our best climate change-fighting tools: nature.
Here's a surprise for you. You may already know that the list of the world's largest and most important wetlands includes the Amazon Basin and the Pantanal of South America; the Nile River Basin and Congo Basin of Africa; and the Mississippi River Basin in the United States. But did you know that list also includes two boreal wetland systems right here in Canada?
Even with David Black's proposal for an oil refinery on a hill 25 kilometres north of Kitimat, residents here know that the Enbridge Northern Gateway debate has gone on for years and will go on for many years to come. The hottest issue in Kitimat this summer is water, not oil. For us, this summer can be summed up by saying: "Water, water everywhere, but you can't get there from here." As environmentalists worldwide celebrate the beauty of Douglas Channel, and decry the dangers that tanker traffic could pose to the channel, many people in Kitimat are cut off from the waterfront.