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Hamilton becomes first city in Ontario to recognize citizens' right to live in a healthy environment

February 26, 2015

City joins Vancouver, Montreal and 20 others in standing up for citizens' right to clean water, fresh air and safe food

The City of Hamilton today became the first Municipality in Ontario to recognize its citizens' right to live in a healthy environment, passing a municipal declaration that protects clean water, fresh air and safe food, and gives people a say in the decisions that affect their health.

The David Suzuki Foundation's local lead organizer in Hamilton, Grant Linney, welcomed the news. "The people of Hamilton are proud of our history as a city of industry, but we also know we have to do everything we can to protect the people and places we love. That's what the right to a healthy environment is all about."

City joins Vancouver, Montreal and 20 others in standing up for citizens' right to clean water, fresh air and safe food

The City of Hamilton today became the first Municipality in Ontario to recognize its citizens' right to live in a healthy environment, passing a municipal declaration that protects clean water, fresh air and safe food, and gives people a say in the decisions that affect their health.

The David Suzuki Foundation's local lead organizer in Hamilton, Grant Linney, welcomed the news. "The people of Hamilton are proud of our history as a city of industry, but we also know we have to do everything we can to protect the people and places we love. That's what the right to a healthy environment is all about."

What will Canada do to save the monarch butterfly?

February 24, 2015

U.S. invests millions in monarch conservation; Canadian action eagerly anticipated

TORONTO — The David Suzuki Foundation is calling on governments and rail, road and hydro agencies across Canada to join the growing ranks of milkweed lovers who are rallying to support monarch butterfly conservation. Over the past month, U.S. federal and state agencies have made encouraging announcements, including a commitment of US$3.2 million for programs to grow milkweed — the plant monarchs depend on — in schoolyards and gardens and on highway roadsides from Mexico to Minnesota.

"We've lost almost a billion monarch butterflies in the past two decades, and the migration to Canada is in serious jeopardy," said David Suzuki Foundation director Faisal Moola. "We simply cannot afford to wait; it's time for Canada to step up conservation efforts."

Monarch butterfly populations hit a historic low last winter, plummeting from almost a billion in the late 1990s to about 30 million. While the population overwintering in Mexico increased to 56 million this winter, that still represents an alarming 95 per cent drop in two decades, which has led scientists to speculate that the monarch migration — one of the most awe-inspiring insect journeys on the planet — might come to an end.

The dramatic decline prompted the leaders of Mexico, Canada and the United States at the 2014 "Three Amigos Summit" to jointly commit to urgent action to safeguard the species. Trilateral working groups were subsequently created to formulate conservation plans. While U.S. and Mexican governments and agencies have been active this winter, monarch advocates eagerly await a made-in-Canada plan.

Two of the principal threats the monarch population currently are severe weather from climate change and the virtual eradication of milkweed from more than 165 million acres — an area larger than the province of Alberta — across its migratory route due to the widespread use of glyphosate-based pesticides.

The good news is that scientists like the University of Guelph's Tyler Flockhart have identified a massive opportunity throughout the monarch's migratory range: planting milkweed and pollinator-friendly native plants along road, rail and hydro corridors. This past month, Flockhart was awarded a prestigious Libre Ero Fellowship that will allow him to continue his internationally recognized research into population dynamics of monarch butterflies, including conducting research into the effectiveness and cost benefits of transforming infrastructure corridors into healthy corridors for pollinators like monarch butterflies.

"We are excited to be partnering with Dr. Flockhart on this important research," said David Suzuki Foundation species-at-risk expert Rachel Plotkin. "We hope this work will encourage hydro and transportation agencies throughout Canada to begin enhancing the corridors they manage by adding milkweed and pollinator-friendly plants to nurture our bees and butterflies."

In Canada, many groups have been actively promoting monarch and pollinator-friendly activities for decades, including milkweed planting and monarch rearing and tracking programs. In Toronto, the David Suzuki Foundation spurred the planting of more than 4,000 milkweed plants through its Got Milkweed campaign last spring — a popular effort that will occur again this April. However, the scale of response needed to ensure the continuation of the monarch migration is greater than these local efforts.

"It was encouraging that thousands of Torontonians 'Got Milkweed' last spring, and we hope butterfly and pollinator-friendly plants become a more common sight throughout our communities," Plotkin said. "While we're seeing great things at the local level, what monarchs need is political leadership and progressive agencies across the country willing to capitalize on the landscape of opportunity that our countless road, rail and hydro corridors present as potential butterflyways."

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For more information, please contact:
Jode Roberts at 647.456.9752 jroberts@davidsuzuki.org.

YWCA becomes 100th member of Better Transit and Transportation Coalition

February 20, 2015

Transit Improvements Important for Single Moms, Youth and Others Working on a Fresh Start

Vancouver — YWCA Metro Vancouver has joined the Better Transit and Transportation Coalition, highlighting the important role that transit plays — now and in the future — for many local families.

"YWCA Metro Vancouver offers programs and services across the region that benefit a range of clients, including single mothers and their children, students and jobseekers," said Janet Austin, CEO, YWCA Metro Vancouver. "It is crucial they have access to safe, reliable and convenient public transportation options across Metro Vancouver. These improvements will enable them to access the support they need to build better futures for themselves and their children, ultimately strengthening our communities."

Transit Improvements Important for Single Moms, Youth and Others Working on a Fresh Start

Vancouver — YWCA Metro Vancouver has joined the Better Transit and Transportation Coalition, highlighting the important role that transit plays — now and in the future — for many local families.

"YWCA Metro Vancouver offers programs and services across the region that benefit a range of clients, including single mothers and their children, students and jobseekers," said Janet Austin, CEO, YWCA Metro Vancouver. "It is crucial they have access to safe, reliable and convenient public transportation options across Metro Vancouver. These improvements will enable them to access the support they need to build better futures for themselves and their children, ultimately strengthening our communities."

Study shows abundance of natural wealth in Howe Sound

February 19, 2015

Vancouver — Howe Sound's watersheds provide an estimated $800 million to $4.7 billion in natural services to the region each year, according to a report released today by the David Suzuki Foundation. The report, Sound Investment: Measuring the Return on Howe Sound's Ecosystem Assets, shows an astounding trove of unrecognized — and undervalued — natural wealth in the Howe Sound region of B.C., comparable to industries such as mining and quarrying, which contributed $3.38 billion to B.C.'s industrial GDP in 2011.

Vancouver — Howe Sound's watersheds provide an estimated $800 million to $4.7 billion in natural services to the region each year, according to a report released today by the David Suzuki Foundation. The report, Sound Investment: Measuring the Return on Howe Sound's Ecosystem Assets, shows an astounding trove of unrecognized — and undervalued — natural wealth in the Howe Sound region of B.C., comparable to industries such as mining and quarrying, which contributed $3.38 billion to B.C.'s industrial GDP in 2011.

Transit and transportation plan critical to Surrey and region's economy and health

February 11, 2015

Better Transit and Transportation Coalition supports Surrey mayor and council on plan to cut traffic, improve transit south of the Fraser

The Better Transit and Transportation Coalition fully supports Mayor Linda Hepner and Surrey council in their campaign for a Yes vote in the upcoming transportation plebiscite. The BTTC represents more than 90 business, student, environmental, health and labour groups.

In an event at Surrey city hall on Wednesday, Mayor Hepner and council members formally launched their campaign to support the Mayors' Council Plan, which seeks to increase the PST in Metro Vancouver by 0.5 per cent to fund badly needed improvements to transportation networks across the region. The Mayors' Council, which launched its own campaign last month, developed the infrastructure plan to accommodate current and future needs, with one million new residents expected to move to the region by 2040.

Better Transit and Transportation Coalition supports Surrey mayor and council on plan to cut traffic, improve transit south of the Fraser

The Better Transit and Transportation Coalition fully supports Mayor Linda Hepner and Surrey council in their campaign for a Yes vote in the upcoming transportation plebiscite. The BTTC represents more than 90 business, student, environmental, health and labour groups.

In an event at Surrey city hall on Wednesday, Mayor Hepner and council members formally launched their campaign to support the Mayors' Council Plan, which seeks to increase the PST in Metro Vancouver by 0.5 per cent to fund badly needed improvements to transportation networks across the region. The Mayors' Council, which launched its own campaign last month, developed the infrastructure plan to accommodate current and future needs, with one million new residents expected to move to the region by 2040.