Wetlands Leadership Forum

On Thursday June 28th and Friday June 29th, I attended the Wetlands Leadership Forum, hosted by the David Suzuki Foundation.

In 2010, Pacific Parklands Foundation commissioned the David Suzuki Foundation to write the Natural Capital Review of the BC Lower Mainland. The Natural Capital Review assesses the economic value of natural capital and the essential ecological services that nature provides such as filtering our air and water, cooling our cities, protecting us from floods and storms, and absorbing and storing carbon. These ecological services are often undervalued in market economies. While we typically hear about the environment in scientific terms or in the language of the social sciences, this report uniquely assesses these services in economic terms and states the monetary value as clearly as possible.
Since the release of the Natural Capital Review, DSF has been working on a similar report that will focus more on water. In preparation for its release, DSF hosted the Wetlands Leadership Forum. Though wetlands are one of BC’s most valuable ecosystems, there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about what they are and certainly in regards to their worth. Wetlands provide essential ecological services including flood protection, a service that is evidently very important in the Lower Mainland. They also provide water filtration and carbon storage. Unfortunately, these ecosytems are disappearing.

At the forum, conservation and environmental communications leaders had the opportunity to listen to keynote speakers including Gaëtan Royer, Manager Metropolitan Planning, Environment & Parks, share our diverse experience and knowledge and make plans to work collaboratively to protect wetlands for the future. The Forum atmosphere was positive, forward-thinking and productive. If the calibre of people in attendance is any indication, the future of our wetlands definitely has a strong team fighting on its behalf!

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