The Environmental Commissioner, Gord Miller, has released a special report on Species at Risk. It’s an excellent, thorough and balanced report, with a comprehensive overview of the challenges ahead. He gives the province fair credit for adopting the Species at Risk Act, 2007, but notes the huge gap between its promises and effective action. The new Act has a scientific core, but its implementation is subject to numerous exemptions and other types of “flexibility”. Depending on the resources and determination with which it is implemented, it could be a great innovation or could fall far short of actually protecting species.
Habitat destruction is the principal threat to about three quarters of the world’s threatened biological diversity; endlessly growing human demands for land, water, and resources. Fundamentally, conservation of species at risk is about land use- keeping enough land wild and intact, protected from human exploitation. It’s a scandal that a country as large and unpopulated as Canada has done this so badly; the challenge is orders of magnitude greater in most other parts of the world.