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The ban means that the government cannot hand out any new offshore oil and gas licences in Arctic waters. And without a licence, a company cannot apply to drill for oil or gas. In essence, the ban protects both the sensitive Arctic environment and vulnerable communities by stopping risky projects before they start.
Across the globe, freshwater wildlife populations have declined 81 per cent over the past four decades. That's more than twice the population decline for land-based or ocean wildlife. In Canada, some of those freshwater species at risk include Atlantic salmon, white sturgeon, freshwater mussels, nooksack dace, the northern leopard frog, and seven of eight freshwater turtle species.
Most of us couldn't imagine that it would come to this, at least not in our lifetime. The Arctic is changing from a white, ice-covered, predictable environment to one that is increasingly unstable. And because of the tight linkages between Earth's systems, changes in the Arctic will reverberate around the world.
We are consuming more than nature can deliver. And wildlife is paying the price. A mass migration has already begun as wildlife move in reaction to changing seasons, to find water, to escape wildfires, to go where sea ice once prevented them from going.
Marine mammals such as the North Atlantic right whale are threatened by shipping collisions and entanglement in fishing gear. Beluga whales are threatened by chemical and noise pollution, as well as loss of habitat. And all species in Canada will feel the effects of climate change, which is happening faster than species can adapt.
Just out for a swim, you?
Recently, the Gitga'at, with other First Nations, won a slim victory against the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline project, which would have seen 200 tanker ships filled with bitumen passing each year across their territory.
Government representatives and community leaders joined dozens of policy, utility and legal experts in one room for the first time to talk about the realities of weaning Arctic communities off dirty diesel fuel, and onto habitat-friendly renewable energy.
Canada has its own commitments to live up to: to protect five per cent of Canada's marine territory by 2017 and 10 per cent by 2020. We know we can get there. We just need to get going.
The little brown bat, northern long-eared bat and tri-coloured bat, whose ranges extend to Wahnapitae First Nation, are some of the hardest hit by the disease. All three are listed as endangered due to the sudden and dramatic declines in their populations.