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Nature is sending us a stark warning

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Feb 2nd, 2024
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ONTARIO NATURE

Hello,

Did you know more than 18.4 million hectares burned across Canada in 2023 as of November 2, 2023? This shattered the previous single-year high mark of 7.1 million hectares, which was set in 1995.

Canada’s wildfires made international headlines in 2023. The greenhouse gases they have released are estimated to make up more than one-quarter of the world’s total emissions for the year. The heavily polluted air quality gives biologists further incentive to consider the impact of megafires on wildlife. Read our feature article, “A Burning Issue”.

Smoke drifting across the country also reminds us that everything is interconnected and local—and human beings influence nearly everything. That is the message that Indigenous communities and ecologists are sending when they call for more pragmatic strategies in dealing with invasive species. Read our Last Word article, “The War on Invasive Species.”

Record-setting fire seasons are partly due to short-sighted forest policy. Similarly, number-based tree-planting programs may be misguided, reducing biodiversity in some of Ontario’s most imperilled ecosystems and potentially contributing to forests’ vulnerability to wildfires. Read our feature article, “Not Seeing the Forest for the Trees.”

Such a dire time will contribute to society’s growing eco-anxiety. To cope, I look to stories like the joy-infused profile of the eastern hog-nosed snake. Read our feature article “The Performer.”

We would do well to adopt this sense of wonder in all the moments we spend outdoors. Just as it makes us aware of global challenges, thinking locally encourages us to celebrate nature’s smaller wonders.

Read about this and more environmental content that inspires and informs in the winter issue of ON Nature magazine.

Sincerely,

Caroline Schultz, Executive Director

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