The following statements can be attributed as quotes from Ron Thiessen, Executive Director of the Manitoba Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society:
Manitoba needs a plan to protect nature.
CPAWS Manitoba is calling on all political parties and candidates in the upcoming provincial election to commit to developing an action plan that will protect 30 percent of Manitoba’s lands and waters by 2030.
We need to protect our lands and waters today to make sure nature and people can thrive in the future.
Canada has already committed to protecting 30% of our lands and waters by 2030. But the federal government can’t get there alone. Manitoba needs to step up and do its share.
Nature Protects Our Health and Our Economy
Nature provides every Manitoban with priceless services that are crucial to our health and underpin the stability of our economy.
Forests and wetlands clean the air we breathe and filter the water we drink. This natural infrastructure also protects our farms, homes and businesses from flooding. And it helps protect us from the impacts of climate change by absorbing greenhouse gases from the air.
The 30% by 2030 conservation target isn’t an arbitrary number.
It’s the bare minimum that scientists say we must protect if we hope to preserve a healthy future for our planet — and ourselves.
That’s why Canada joined 196 countries in signing a pledge to protect 30% of the world’s lands and waters by 2030 at the United Nations Conference on Biological Diversity last December.
Canada cannot reach the 30% target without support from the provinces and territories, which have Crown jurisdiction over lands and natural resources.
British Columbia and Quebec have already committed to the 30% target for their respective provinces. Our provincial government needs to step up and commit to delivering an action plan that will protect 30% of Manitoba’s lands and fresh waters by 2030.
Protecting Nature Should Be Everyone’s Priority
Sweltering heat waves and orange skies smothered in wildfire smoke don’t have to become our new normal.
There is still time for humanity to rein in climate change if we act quickly and decisively.
Conserving the forests, peatlands and wetlands that absorb carbon from the atmosphere is an essential component of mitigating climate change while also addressing the mass extinction of wildlife.
The science is clear. It transcends partisanship. We must come together on 30% protection by 2030.
Scientists have issued repeated warnings that nature is in a state of crisis, threatened by habitat loss, pollution, unchecked development, and climate change. The solution to this crisis is neither some other government’s problem, nor some other electorate’s issue.
That is why we are asking all of Manitoba’s political parties to put nature in their
platforms for the upcoming provincial election.
Strong Public Support for Protecting 30% of Manitoba by 2030
More than 3,300 Manitobans have signed postcards and sent emails to provincial political leaders urging them to commit to protecting 30% of the province by 2030 since the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) launched its public mobilization campaign in May.
A recent poll found that 83% of Manitobans want to see protected areas in our province increase from the current 11.1% to 30% by 2030.
Only 9% of respondents said they oppose the move, while 8% had not yet formed an opinion. The random sampling of 1,000 adults residing in Manitoba between May 31 and June 13, 2023 had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
Support for conservation in Manitoba is both “broad” and “intense,” Probe Research found in the poll commissioned by CPAWS Manitoba.
A hefty 59% of Manitobans said they would be more likely to support a political party that pledges to nearly triple protected areas in the next seven years.
We Can Get To 30% by 2030 if We Act Quickly.
Much of the work has already been done to identify which areas to protect in Manitoba.
The following opportunities represent 40.6% of the province. With strong provincial leadership and support, enough of these opportunities can be realised in time to achieve the target of at least 30% of Manitoba’s natural lands and waters protected by 2030.
11.1% OF MANITOBA IS ALREADY PROTECTED
Manitoba has protected 71,561 sq. km. That’s 11% of our province. We’re ranked 7th out of 13 provinces & territories for the percentage of lands and waters protected.
AREAS OF SPECIAL INTEREST (CANDIDATE PROTECTED AREAS): 11.3% OF MANITOBA
The Manitoba government identified Areas of Special Interest (candidate protected areas) more than 20 years ago. The areas selected represent the enduring features found within ecoregions that still need to be captured in Manitoba’s protected areas network. There are 120 candidate protected areas remaining which total 73,746 sq. km.
SEAL RIVER WATERSHED INDIGENOUS PROTECTED AREAS INITIATIVE: 7.7% OF MANITOBA
The Seal River is one of the largest ecologically intact watersheds in the world. It is teeming with 3,000 beluga whales, 400,000 barren ground caribou and massive flocks of birds. CPAWS is working with the Seal River Watershed Alliance of Dene and Cree peoples to protect the entire watershed: a whopping 50,000 sq. km.
The governments of Manitoba and Canada are working with the Alliance on launching a joint feasibility study.
OTHER INDIGENOUS-LED CONSERVATION INITIATIVES: ~10.3% OF MANITOBA
There are at least seven other Indigenous-led conservation initiatives underway in Manitoba with study areas spanning at least 67,000 square kilometres. Delineating the boundaries for these areas is presently underway. These opportunities could collectively protect as much as 10.3% of Manitoba.
Nature Protects Our Health and Our Economy
Plummeting animal and plant populations – from bees to birch trees – cost the world $4 trillion to 20 trillion per year in lost natural services like crop pollination, water purification, flood protection, and carbon sequestration between 1997 and 2011, a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found.
Conservation doesn’t just protect our food and water supplies. It also drives economic growth.
Protecting 30% of the world’s lands and waters would “support around 30 million jobs and $500 billion of GDP in ecotourism and sustainable fishing,” with benefits outweighing the costs by a 5:1 ratio, a report from McKinsey & Company found.
What is a Protected Area?
Protected areas in Manitoba include land, freshwater, or marine areas identified for the purpose of biodiversity conservation where logging, mining, hydroelectric development, oil and gas development, exploring for and harvesting peat, and other activities that significantly and adversely affect biodiversity are prohibited by law or other effective means. (Source: Manitoba’s Protected Areas Initiative, MB govt)
About CPAWS Manitoba
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s grassroots voice for wilderness. We are solutions-oriented, and we get results.
With nearly 60 years of success, we played a lead role in protecting over half a million square kilometres: an area bigger than the entire Yukon Territory!
Our mission is to permanently protect at least half of Canada’s lands and waters for future generations of people and wildlife.
CPAWS Manitoba has helped establish 23 parks and protected areas in our province: an area larger than Lake Winnipeg at nearly 26,000 square kilometres.
CPAWS Manitoba has been a champion of wilderness and parks in the province since 1991. We ensure the voice of conservation is heard on issues affecting our parks and wilderness areas.
We are also dedicated to connecting people with nature.
More than 15,000 people registered for our group hikes, paddle nights, webinars and other Nature Club activities in 2021 and 2022. More than 12,000 children and students have participated in our Outdoor Education Program since May 2021.