Océans en santé. Communautés en santé

What’s a healthy environment worth to Canada?

September 20, 2013

Question: What is nature worth? Answer: Over $230 billion for Canada last year.

That’s according to internal Environment Canada briefing notes that say more than thirteen percent of Canada’s $1.8 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) depends upon healthy ecosystems. The 2012 briefing notes, which were acquired through the Access to Information, Act, also warn of “significant biodiversity loss” due to unsustainable resource development, invasive species, climate change and pollution.

“Despite this knowledge, our government continues to cut funding for scientific research into understanding and preserving the irreplaceable ecosystem services that nature provides free of charge,” says Sharlene Shaikh, Living Oceans’ Ecosystem Services Analyst. “We need to understand how industrial activities are affecting nature’s truly priceless gifts such as the ocean’s role in seafood security, oxygen generation and climate stabilization.”

Sharlene Shaikh, Living Oceans’ Ecosystem Services Analyst

The best way to safeguard the ocean is to ensure that no business or industry practices adversely impact the communities and species that rely on a healthy ecosystem. That’s why Living Oceans is at the forefront of building ecosystem-based management (EBM) into marine planning in Briti­­­sh Columbia. EBM should ensure nature’s ability to protect our cities from storm damage, provide food security, and maintain resilience to climate change—all for free.

We’re making EBM a reality by advising the Marine Planning Partnership made up of coastal First Nations and the Province of B.C. Despite Environment Canada’s internal briefing notes that stress the importance of ecosystems, the federal government is conspicuously absent from these conversations.