In the past 50 years, climate change has become the challenge of our era, a challenge that crosses borders and spans generations — a challenge that could lead to environmental salvation or destruction, depending on major decisions made now. Fossil fuel burning, deforestation, industrial agriculture, and other human activities are heating our atmosphere, raising sea levels, expanding deserts, and destroying species, seen most starkly in the Arctic and on coral reefs in the last 10 years.
Ways to help the environment
Part of the solution is to ramp up care of the world’s land and water systems in order to maintain life on Earth for future generations. We need to nurture the health, diversity, and sustainability of our vast world by protecting parks, forests, fresh-water systems, and coastal and marine climates – all of which play crucial roles in the survival of the planet. For example, more than 90% of the impact of greenhouse gases is due to carbon dioxide and methane from human activity, mainly from Canada, the U.S. and other industrialized countries. Our economies and lifestyles are contributing to more intense hurricanes and blizzards, and more wildfires, droughts, floods, and weather extremes, which in turn, harms more human and animal life.
In Canada, one of the largest countries in the world in terms of geographic area, solutions include educating the public and advocating for environmental issues at local, national, and global levels, because the work can’t happen in isolation. The world is an ecosystem, with one part relying on others, but because of Canada’s unique climatic conditions and abundant natural resources, we have a special role to play in the world in ensuring the sustainability of our environment for generations to come.
More actively solving pollution problems would help. Only 11 per cent or so of Canada’s plastics get recycled for instance. The rest ends up in lakes, parks, landfills, and oceans — leaching toxic chemicals and wrecking ecosystems. We must rise above talking only about littering and recycling and take action to reduce the destruction of other species.
How Canadian environmental charities are supporting sustainability
Hundreds of charities in Canada are doing just that, trying to decrease pollution, slow down climate change, and find long-term solutions to environmental problems. Their essential work, as a group, needs support to preserve habitat and life on our planet. Individually, charities tackle challenges from different angles:
- working on land-preservation efforts, including slowing down the exploitation of our rapidly vanishing natural resources;
- maintaining natural parks, trails, and watersheds, as well as forest conservancies, wildlife societies, and much more;
- identifying and protecting endangered species and preserving biodiversity, especially from the effects of nonstop, excessive noise pollution and toxic chemicals in our soil, water and air;
- protecting and restoring flora and fauna, such as bees, coral and hard-to-detect species;
- developing alternative or renewable energy sources that can be scaled up for use in cities;
- researching environmental issues affecting provinces and territories and telling the public about them;
- and restoring and rehabilitating habitats for specific ecosystems of birds, fish, and wildlife.
Given the many budget cuts in governments’ environmental programs and the reduction of environmental oversight over the past decades, many charities provide important leadership and services in their regions, often acting as catalysts for local action and national advocacy. Working with communities, volunteers and youth, they contribute to resource-management programs, watershed plans, conservation awareness, ecological studies of marine mammals and marine ecosystems along Canada’s coasts and rivers, and much more. They help to balance the needs of humans with the needs of nature.
You can help conservation efforts to protect the environment
Together, we can protect the environment for this generation, and for generations to come! To support this effort, CanadaHelps has launched the Protect the Environment Fund to support more than 500 charities working to protect our environment through the conversation of parks and forests, watersheds, wildlife habitats, and more. Donations are pooled together and distributed evenly amongst the charities in the Fund to provide wide-reaching programs and long-term solutions.