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Monthly Villager Feature: Building Resilience

A picture of the Ron Reid Nature Reserve taken by the Ganaraska Hiking Club on a recent visit.

We were sitting around the lunch table at the office laughing and joking about building resilience in children yesterday. Enjoying a laugh with coworkers and friends can really lift your spirits, especially funny stories of kids.

That same day I went home, and after reading a few heavy articles on the fires in Australia, cried a little. It has the same tragic toll of any disaster, like any other fire, earthquake, or tsunami around the planet, but these fires have really shaken me.

I don’t know if it is the sheer scale of the area affected, the seemingly unmoved Australian Prime Minister who thought he could exist outside of the crisis, or the coverage and reporting on toll on the animal population that is different. Whatever it is I am feeling it down deep.

What a difference in a day.

These opposite points of my day coalesced in me thinking about the resilience The Couchiching Conservancy’s work provides for our region, and it gave me hope for the future. Frankly, it made me feel a lot better, like a warm hug.

“It made me feel a lot better, like a warm hug.”

I know that the resilience that organizations such as Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ontario Parks and The Couchiching Conservancy build will allow our community to continually thrive. Tree planting and the creation of pollinator gardens are necessary steps toward the future, but preserving what we already have is invaluable.

The forests wetlands, grasslands and more owned and managed by The Couchiching Conservancy will allow us to move forward. Nature reserves provide us with better flood control, shelter from extreme heat, higher agricultural yields thanks to the maintenance of pollinator habitat and diversity, and a network of wildlife corridors that also act as carbon sinks. This is necessary and welcome green infrastructure in the modern world.

“This is true resilience; the ability to rebuild.”

With these luscious, green cushions in place, our region can prevent short term events, such as tornadoes, from becoming long term disasters.  This is true resilience; the ability to rebuild.

The science is clear, the planet is warming at an accelerated rate which is affecting global weather patterns and therefore affecting life on earth.  However, the science is also clear, by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, focusing on conservation and working to demonstrate that the people have the political will to change we can come out of the environmental crisis further ahead as a society than we were when we entered it.

This is an opportunity to gain wisdom, and enter a new phase of humanity – one where all species have a safe home, that is well loved and respected. How ever you look at things, we need to keep up this work to keep our region resilient for our kids.

Welcome to 2020. The year we turn things around.

Courtney Baker is the Administrative Assistant at The Couchiching Conservancy.