David Suzuki Foundation reports the Ontario Greenbelt contributes $2.6 billion to local economy

Toronto, September 9, 2008 – A new report released today by the David Suzuki Foundation with support from theFriends of the Greenbelt Foundation has found that Ontario’s Greenbelt contributes $2.6 billion worth of non-market ecological services to the province each year, an average value of $3,487 per hectare. “This is an incredible figure,” said Dr. David Suzuki, co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. “It’s a good reminder to decision-makers that if we don’t protect our greenspaces, we’ll end up paying a higher price in the future, not just with our health and the planet’s health, but economically as well. Ontario’s Greenbelt is a world-leading example of how to grow our communities in a balanced way.”

The report, Ontario’s Wealth, Canada’s Future: Appreciating the Value of the Greenbelt’s Eco-Services, quantifies the value of the ecosystem services such as water filtration, flood control, climate stabilization (i.e. carbon storage), waste treatment, wildlife habitat, and clean air. “This report celebrates the Ontario government’s foresight to protect the Greenbelt and inspires us to embrace its growth,” said Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “The Greenbelt distinguishes Ontario, and Canada, as an environmental innovator.”

“It’s less expensive to preserve the natural environment and the benefits it provide us, than to replace it with a man-made infrastructure. The highest economic value the environment affords us is when it is left undisturbed,” said report author Sara Wilson of Natural Capital Research & Consulting.

Covering more than 1.8 million acres, the Greenbelt was established to safeguard key environmentally sensitive land, watersheds, and farmlands that provide essential ecosystem services and quality of life for this densely populated area of Canada. This protected region includes green space, farmland, communities, forests, wetlands, and watersheds, including habitat for more than one-third of Ontario’s species at risk.

Ontario’s Wealth, Canada’s Future can be downloaded from www.davidsuzuki.org/publications andwww.greenbelt.ca.

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The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is a not-for-profit organization created to help foster our Greenbelt’s living countryside by nurturing and supporting activities that preserve its environmental and agricultural integrity.

The David Suzuki Foundation uses science and education to promote solutions that conserve nature and help achieve sustainability within a generation.

Media contact: Sara Wilson, Principal Natural Capital Research & Consulting Cell: (604) 865-1911, sarajwilson -at- dccnet.com 
Burkhard Mausberg, President Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation Tel: (416) 960-0001 ext. 300, bmausberg -at- ourgreenbelt.ca 
Rachel Plotkin, Biodiversity Policy Analyst David Suzuki Foundation Cell: 613-796-7999, rplotkin -at- davidsuzuki.org

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