The inspiration to become an environmentalist came at age three, watching a World Wildlife Fund commercial that showed a human hand reaching onto the deck of a wooden Noah’s ark and toppling over various animals.

 

The chilling image is memorable because it is so real: approximately one quarter of the world’s mammals are at risk of extinction.

 

The United Nations declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB). A focal point is the Convention of Biological Diversity — a major international agreement signed by 196 national governments.

 

The Convention set targets to reduce biodiversity loss by 2010, but precious little has been achieved. The IYB is a wake-up call to redouble our efforts.


Why?


Because just as the Convention states, biodiversity loss often compromises human well-being. Biodiversity — all forms of life on Earth — is crucial to the provision of many benefits people derive from nature, from food production (including crop pollination and pest control), water provision, and enhancement of recreation.


Canada played a key role in the 1992 signing of the Convention, and it’s time for Canadians again to demonstrate our moral leadership.


In the recent climate talks in Copenhagen, Canada was widely seen as a moral defector, a rogue nation.


The world will be watching Vancouver next month and Huntsville (which will host the G8 Summit) in June.


Let’s make sure that Canada has reason to stand proud.