Protecting Nature Is A Walk In The Park
Manitoba has the opportunity to lead the world in protecting nature and acting on climate. That’s an impressive message to hear, right? Amidst the gloomy stories of worldwide wildlife population collapse and climate chaos, the story of Manitoba can be a shining beacon of light. We at the Wilderness Committee want you to take this incredible message forward into action in the new year.
Here’s another grand Manitoba fact: there is more wilderness in the province than most countries in the world. We certainly like our lake life and outdoors, but I don’t think most in the province recognize that our expansive nature is so special.
In my wilderness story I distinctly remember sitting on the bus, rolling past Kluane National park as I moved down from the Yukon, heading back to my home in Lake Louise in the grand mountain parks, and thinking about my youth in the east side of Lake Winnipeg--the Heart of the Boreal. These three wild areas are each globally significant and magical in their own right, yet Manitoba’s wilderness is simply not recognized or protected as it needs to be. We can change that, and we will have to, because the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in October told us we need to protect more nature.
The IPCC report stated we have 12 years to halve our fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions or face dire climate catastrophes, and we have the tools to do it. Manitoba’s existing electricity network is the envy of most countries in the world because it is sizeable, renewable and low emission.
Plug-in electric vehicles that can be used for long distance driving debuted in 2018 and will lead our transportation makeover. Improved insulation for housing will account for major emissions cuts and will create employment opportunities while helping us meet global commitments. There is even a new plug-in electric tractor from John Deere to assist with the agriculture sector emissions. With these steps, we also need a halt to fossil fuel expansion and to implement a necessary price on carbon pollution.
Together with a host of allies collectively known as Manitoba’s Climate Action Team, the Wilderness Committee will help transition us into a global leader in a zero carbon future.
Bringing It All Together in Manitoba
We’ve never been given a clearer warning than the IPCC report in October. We need to act on climate, and we will. But the other tenet of the IPCC report says we need forests and biodiversity to lower our greenhouse gas buildup--we need nature and wilderness.
We’ve recently reported that our beloved Whiteshell Provincial Park is threatened by destructive mining activity. We have heard nothing from the Manitoba government about stopping this atrocity. Instead, we got a news release encouraging Manitobans to take walks in parks. If you haven’t yet, please write to the government and tell them you want Whiteshell protected.
Acting to protect our parks and moving forward on increasing protected areas in Manitoba (as outlined in our educational report Keep It Wild) is what the IPCC says we need. From indigenous traditional territories--protected according to their wishes--to protecting the shores of our waterways running through private agricultural land, to properly protecting our parks, we know what the solutions are.
In the New Year we are going to come together...together...in Manitoba and move on climate and nature. I know there is the will, and I know there is a path forward. I’d like to share the three simple mantras that will move us forward as world leaders:
Need More Nature.
Act On Climate.
Peace on Earth.
Happy holidays from the WIlderness Committee in Manitoba.