While the report of the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, released last Monday, will be duly ignored by pundits and politicians for whom science is a “Chinese hoax”, the dire assessment of the degraded state of the ecosystems which support human life as we know it, could not be clearer. We can deny, but we cannot escape.
We can’t “have our cake and eat it sustainably” forever. “Business-as-usual” endangers us all.
Ever-growing human numbers and the demands they make have destroyed “75% of terrestrial , 40% of marine ,and 50% of freshwater environments.” The scientific consensus is that any serious attempt to address the current course of planetary degradation requires “strengthened laws and enforcement, dramatic social and economic incentives, increased monitoring, and integrated decision-making.”
In 1992 the Conservative government of Canada progressively spearheaded the recommendations of Rio to set aside 15 % of the world’s lands and 7 percent of oceans. 27 years ago, that was a proportional response to the state of the planet, if our impacts could be made “sustainable”. Unfortunately we have failed to meet 35 of the 44 “Sustainability Targets.” To protect biodiversity and the services that sustain our economies we now need to double protected land areas, and quadruple marine protection.
In the Comox Valley this means that the fate of our freshwater resources can no longer be left to the whims of interested parties to further their particular interests.
The current formula of “stakeholder negotiations,” haggling over how to maintain “business-as-usual” are inconsistent with the urgency at hand.
Comox lake and the watersheds it encompasses are our greatest reserve of biodiversity. To preserve the services it provides, Comox Lake needs to be set aside once and for all as an ecological and conservation area integrated in Strathcona Provincial Park, for our common good.