According to a study published several years ago in the leading research journal Science, few places on our planet have been untouched by humans. Indeed, satellite images taken from thousands of kilometres above the earth reveal a world that has been irrevocably changed by human land use over the past few decades.
From Arctic tundra to primeval rainforest to arid desert, our natural world has been fragmented by ever-expanding towns and cities, crisscrossed with roads, transmission lines and pipelines, and pockmarked by infrastructure used to drill, frack, and strip-mine fossil fuels from the ground.
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Though Canada is still a nation known for its vast expanses of mountains, forests, ice and other wilderness, a new study released today by the David Suzuki Foundation reveals that even here, we're not immune from the precipitous loss of nature to heavy industry.
Scientists analyzed 40 years of satellite images to track the growing patchwork of clear-cuts, oil wells, fracking operations and thousands of kilometres of seismic lines, roads and oil and natural gas pipelines that crisscross the 56,000-square-kilometre Peace Region of northeastern British Columbia. It's home to threatened populations of caribou and grizzly bears.
The scientists found that if laid end to end, the roads, pipelines and seismic lines would wrap around the planet an astonishing four and a half times! For those who have had little contact with this region, the astounding scale and intensity of development that is revealed by the study's maps is likely quite surprising.
Local First Nations and the David Suzuki Foundation are worried that further expansion of heavy industry in the region will cause irrevocable ecological harm. We're particularly concerned about" a proposed third major hydroelectric project at Site C":http://www.peacevalley.ca/sitec/, near Fort St. John on the Peace River. If built, Site C would flood 3,173 ha of prime farmland and destroy sensitive wildlife habitat.
That's why the David Suzuki Foundation is standing with local farmers and ranchers, as well as the Dunne Zaa/Dane zaa First Nations, to oppose further destruction of this productive, ecologically important and picturesque valley with the construction of the Site C Dam and reservoir.
Click through to see footage from the seventh annual Paddle for Peace at which David Suzuki spoke about the Peace region.