Ontario’s Greenbelt seems made for the theme of this year’s World Environment Day, ‘Connecting People to Nature.’ The Greenbelt permanently protects nearly 2 million acres of land stretching from Niagara to Northumberland and north to Tobermory. It encircles Canada’s most populous region, providing fresh food, water, and opportunities for active, local recreation. Half of the Greenbelt is some of Canada’s best agricultural land, and the rest boasts natural features including the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
In celebration of Earth Day in Ontario's Greenbelt, the April 22 edition of the Toronto Star features protecting farmland, growing smartly, and growing our Greenbelt to protect water. Plus, learn about the value and significant benefits of the Greenbelt's natural capital. If you missed the print edition, catch up on your weekend reading with this two-page feature.
By: Debbe Crandall, Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM)
Fifteen years ago this Saturday, April 22—Earth Day—I climbed to the top of Mount Wolfe, one of the high points of the Oak Ridges Moraine, which happens to be my back yard. I remember standing there, dancing a victory jig and shaking my fist in the direction of Toronto and Brampton and the sprawl which, for the time being, had been stopped—at least for the lands in the Oak Ridges Moraine.
Photo courtesy of Pete PatersonRead more
An amazing 9.2 million people (or 3 million households) live within 20 kilometres of Ontario’s Greenbelt—that’s over a quarter of Canada’s whole population! 20 kilometres is the distance we consider to be “near home” for nature-based recreation, 73% of which occurs within this radius.
Recently we set out to determine what recreational activities people are engaging in across the Greenbelt, and how much the Greenbelt’s waters and forests contribute to the well-being of our region—an assessment of value known as natural capital.Read more
In celebration of National Soil Conservation Week, we are showcasing two of our current Greenbelt research projects.
National Soil Conservation Week 2017 runs from April 16th to 22nd, and focuses on the importance of proper land stewardship for the benefit of all resources—especially soil—under our care. Led by the Soil Conservation Council of Canada, it’s an annual effort to highlight continuing successes in soil management, while at the same time keeping soil health top-of-mind for both farmers and the public.
Photo courtesy of Ontario Farmland TrustRead more
Download the presentations from our March 2017 workshop on natural capital valuation, including:
- Valuation framework and results from "Ontario's Good Fortune";
- lessons from Peel and Oakville pilot projects in the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative;
- an update on the development of provincial accounts;
- and a tactical analysis of how best to use natural capital accounting.
By: Felix Whitton
Today is World Water Day, when we recognize the importance of clean water supplies in our communities and across the world.
The Greenbelt protects nearly 8,600 hectares of water and over 100,000 hectares of wetlands, including the Oak Ridges Moraine—the 'rain barrel' of Ontario—and the headwaters of 65 rivers and streams that supply clean water to millions of residents.
Photo by Jean Simard
However, the Greenbelt could stretch even further and protect at-risk areas beyond its boundaries. That is what a coalition of more than 120 community groups is calling for with the #GrowOurGB campaign.
In celebration of World Water Day, here are three reasons why we need to grow our Greenbelt!Read more
New Assessment of the Greenbelt’s Natural Capital Finds Ecological Goods and Services Are Worth Billions to Residents of Ontario
By: Tom Bowers, Senior Research and Policy Analyst
The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is pleased to release our latest report, Ontario's Good Fortune: Appreciating the Greenbelt's Natural Capital produced by Green Analytics. The report assessed the value of final services provided by the Greenbelt that Ontario residents benefit from, including, flood protection, recreational opportunities and clean drinking water. It finds that in addition to storing over $11.17B of carbon, the Greenbelt provides $3.2B annually in ecosystem services to residents of the region (approximately 9 million people).Read more
By: Auriel Haynes, Blackwell Children's Garden, Malvern
Into the Greenbelt gave the children and some adults from Blackwell Children's Garden, all from the Malvern area, the great opportunity to visit a ''pick your own'' farm. Their excitement was palpable as we prepared to leave for Murphy’s Country Produce. The bus left Malvern on a cool but sunny morning. The drive to Hamilton itself was exciting, as the kids seldom get go on long drives just for fun.Read more