Jamie Milroy 0

Help Voice Integrative School Save Ontario's Trees!

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Grade 1 to 8 Students of Voice Integrative School in Toronto are working to create bylaws that protect trees.

To whom are we petitioning?

The Ministry of the Environment of Ontario’s Provincial Government and all Municipal Governments in Southern Ontario, specifically those governing the Bracebridge, Muskoka, Muskoka Lakes, City of Kawartha Lakes and Simcoe regions.

What do we want them to do?

We want the Ministry of the Environment to mandate Ontario’s municipalities to implement strict environmentally sound forestry by-laws that would protect individual trees and forests, prevent mass clear-cutting and prohibit shoreline tree eradication. We want stringent by-laws limiting businesses’ ability to destroy forested areas for signage, parking lots, and big box stores. We also want firm by-laws, cutting limitations and permit requirements that would prevent private land-owners from removing trees for new building and aesthetic purposes. It is not only essential that these levels of government protect existing forests but that they implement practices and mandated programs to promote the growth of new forests in these regions. We also wish for accessible and clear literature about these practices to be readily available to the public.

Why is this important?

Trees are one of Ontario’s most valuable public resources. They give us clean water and air, provide wildlife their habitats, and absorb carbon. It is crucial that such a valuable resource be managed to ensure long-term health. Trees in Ontario are the lungs of the province, acting as filters to clean the air of pollution created in Toronto and other cities south of the border. Ontario is increasingly looking like the worst jurisdiction in Canada regarding tree protection. The average clearcut size in the United States is approximately 150 hectares. Meanwhile, Ontario creates clearcuts the size of 17,000 football fields. Ontario is home to the majority of the last old-growth white and red pine forests in the world. These ancient pine forests are home to wolves, black bears, and pine marten and other rare species like the endangered Eastern Cougar. Bird species associated with old-growth forests such as the pileated woodpecker, depend upon these forests for their survival. However, Ontario allows companies to harvest red and white pine, despite its endangered status. Currently, home owners and businesses are permitted to remove trees at their own will, or for massive road signs, or giant parking lots for their big-box stores. There are few, if any, by-laws in these regions that protect trees and forests from this desecration.

In Toronto there are by-laws that enforce the protection of trees. How is it that precious forested areas such as Muskoka have not implemented similar legislature?

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