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Lands for life up for grabs



ENVIRONMENTAL ALERT!!!!

For your information 

A message from WWF/and Federation of Ontario Naturalists.
Check out their web page where most of this information resides and more.
http://www.web.net/wild  if your don't have time this the information here
is should be sufficient for you to take action as listed below.  You can
also call the Citizens Environment Alliance at 973-1116 we will be sending
representatives to the rountable meeting in London March 30, London
Convention Centre, 300 York Street - public is invited to speak between the
hours of 2:00 PM - 9:00 PM. 
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                          The Ontario government is racing to divide up a
                          huge portion of Ontario’s wild lands. Under its
                          Lands for Life program, the future of millions of
                          hectares of public lands — something close to 45
                          percent of the province and including all of our
                          most heavily forested regions — will be decided.
                          Much of this land may be handed over to the
                          forest industry under long-term (as much as
                          60-year) leases that can be easily renewed again
                          and again. 

                          But how will this process ensure a healthy
                          ecological future for Ontario and what steps should
                          we take to balance the impact of industrial uses on
                          wild places? It’s a question that should be at the
                          top of the agenda for the three regional Round
                          Tables (Great Lakes-St. Lawrence, Boreal East
                          and Boreal West) that have been given the job
                          under Lands for Life of deciding what areas should
                          be protected and what areas should be handed over
                          to forest companies for industrial harvesting.

                          The Round Tables have been given very little time
                          to complete this very large task — the government
                          is looking for answers by the summer of 1998. But
                          if conservation concerns are brushed aside in the
                          rush to decide on land uses for the Lands for Life
                          area, our unique natural heritage may be damaged
                          forever. 


As the Lands for Life process moves toward its conclusion, Ontario simply
does not  have an adequate conservation insurance policy in place. Only six
percent of the Lands  for Life area, for example, is protected in a way that
meets the standards of World  Wildlife Fund’s Endangered Spaces program.
That means that in 94 percent of the  Lands for Life area, habitat can be
destroyed by clearcuts, cut up by roads or  “developed” out of existence. 
     
When the Lands for Life round tables sit down to consider the options for
wild places, they will be faced with two choices: continuing to allow
industrial logging to dominate virtually all of our public lands or a
careful weaving together of different uses that ensures both a healthy
ecological and economic future for Ontario and for northern communities. 
     
Under the Lands for Life process, once we have made the decision to hand
public lands over to the large forest companies it will be very, very
difficult to turn back. Is the right answer for Ontario to convert the last
of our wild places to clearcuts or mine sites? Or should we look more
closely at the real value these places represent — the chance to develop
new, value-added businesses, to protect biodiversity and the habitat of
endangered species, and to know that wild places and wild things still exist
in Ontario?

1. Attend a public meeting. 
You don't have to be a well-versed public speaker to make a
presentation. As a resident of Ontario you have the right to tell the
round-table members how you feel about the Lands for Life process. But
you don't even have to give a presentation — 
just by attending a meeting you will show your support and concern for the
future of our public lands. Visit our web page about the round-table
meetings for dates and addresses.

2. Write your MPP, Minister of Natural Resources John
Snobelen and Premier Mike Harris. (E-mail Hon. John Snobelen (
nricmn@epo.gov.on.ca) or write him at Minister of Natural Resources, Whitney
Block, 99 Wellesley St. W., Toronto, Ont., M7A 1W3; fax (416) 314-1601;
e-mail Premier Mike Harris, or write him at
Legislative Building, Queen's Park Cres., Toronto, Ont., M7A 1W3; fax
(416) 325-3745; and to your MPP. If you don't know the name or address of
your MPP, contact Elections Ontario at 1-800- 668-2727.) remind them that
these lands belong to all of us tell them to make sure the round tables hold
hearings in all parts of  Ontario tell them that conservation concerns must
be at the top of the
round-table agendas suggest a target of 15-20% of the Lands for Life area,
including roadless areas, old-growth forests and wetlands, be protected from
industrial uses tell them the forestry industry should earn greater
management control of public lands by demonstrating a real commitment to
ecological protection of public lands tell Mike Harris and John Snobelen
that the Lands for Life process should be used to fulfill their party's
promise to create an ecologically sound system of protected areas in Ontario
and not just to set aside small token areas.

3. Distribute information about Lands for Life in your community. Lands for
Life has a very low profile but is a very important issue. Help us get the
word out. Contact us if you can distribute copies of Lands for Life
materials to your friends, family,neighbours or community.

4. Write a letter to the editor or an opinion (op-ed) piece for
your local paper. Emphasize the importance of protecting 15-20% of the Lands
for Life area, including roadless areas, old-growth forests and wetlands. We
have lots of background information, contact us if you'd like to receive some.

5. Volunteer to help.  Every person makes a difference in helping us protect
our public lands. Contact us for more information.

6. Add your name to our e-mail bulletins list.  The Lands for Life process
is moving fast — stay informed!
         
         
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Windsor & Area Social Justice & Ecological Network
PO Box 548, Windsor, ON  N9A 6M6
Voice:  519-973-1116  Fax 519-255-7361
E-mail:  riccawu@mnsi  (GreenPlanet)
web page (under construction) http://www.mnsi.net/~cea
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