Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Annual Ontario Environment Report Out Today

Gord Miller, Ontario's Environmental Commissioner, came out with his annual report today.

I'll read it - haven't yet although I'm not looking forward to it as the media release that accompanies the report is disturbing.

Basically,  Miller's argument is that the province has lost momentum on addressing the pressing environmental issues.

The report, Engaging Solutions, notes there has been "no shortage of talk about the problems such as climate change, waste diversion, and the loss of biodiversity.  But when it comes to doing something there doesn’t seem to be a lot actually happening, says Miller.

For example:
  • On Waste:  The MOE  has written four different reports and discussion papers outlining options for increasing waste diversion in the province" but little action has resulted.
  • On Species at Risk:   We are "not doing enough to protect and recover species at risk."
  •  On Funding:  Good legislation has not been accompanied by the  additional resources needed  "to oversee and monitor new legislation while also covering ...core responsibilities."
  •  On the Great Lakes:  Lengthy negotiations "threaten to paralyze progress towards further" clean-up.  Meanwhile the Americans are making investments.
What most disturbs me is Miller's comment that the "lack of action is not accidental" and is rather "actually the goal of critics of environmental protection."  We can't move forward when responding to people who say there are no problems “by going back to the research findings to debate and explain it all over again." 

These delays open us up to the legitimate criticism that ours is "a culture of inaction and procrastination," the Commissioner concludes.

For the full report, visit http://www.eco.on.ca.  It won't be the most uplifting read.

I'll have more to say later in the week.