(MONTREAL) – Today, Greenpeace Canada blocked the intersection in front of Minister Steven Guilbeault’s office to celebrate nature and paint a mural calling for better nature legislation. The goal of this artistic festival is to draw the minister’s attention to the urgency of the biodiversity crisis and to make him commit to passing a new Nature and Biodiversity Act. The design of the mural developed by artist named Abeer represents the interconnectedness of living creatures in the natural world and appeals to protecting nature here and now.
It is loud and clear that wildlife around the world is in crisis, and Canada is no exception. Worldwide, around 1 million species are on the brink of extinction. In Canada, over 1200 species are currently listed under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), and yet this number only continues to increase.
However, the decade-defining biodiversity summit – the Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) – is coming to Montreal at the end of this year. The opportunity to be a host country for this global event is definitely a big honour but also comes with great responsibility – the whole world will be watching us. Indeed, Canada’s contribution to nature protection is essential since it hosts approximately a quarter of the Earth’s wetlands and boreal forests, 20 percent of its freshwater, and the longest coastline in the world.
Canada was the first industrialized country to sign the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992. However, since then our federal government has missed virtually every biodiversity target it has set for itself. In our new report released this summer, Protecting nature – protecting life, we clearly document how our current biodiversity laws are ineffective and are calling for a new Nature and Biodiversity Act that would help to resolve systemic failures.
And so today Greenpeace Canada and its supporters are using an artistic medium to remind Minister Guilbeault that Canada must show up to the CBD as if life on Earth – including ours – depends on it. Because it does. We need him to commit to passing a Nature & Biodiversity Act that redefines our relationship with nature, prioritizes Indigenous People’s rights, and ensures equitable access to nature for everyone.
Salomé Sané, Nature & Food campaigner, Greenpeace Canada, said:
“Today, Greenpeace Canada and our Montreal supporters gathered in front of Minister Steven Guilbeault’s office to celebrate nature through art and music. We created this space to show that we can all advocate for nature protection in our own ways. Through our mural, we wanted to demonstrate how nature, culture, and justice are all related.
But, specifically, we came here to demand action from the federal government. We want Minister Steven Guilbeault to commit to a Nature & Biodiversity Act that will ensure our commitments to preserve nature and respect Indigenous rights are met. By showing up in front of his office in Montreal or by supporting us online, people are delivering a simple message: nature is in crisis, and it is urgent to act now. Enough nice words, Minister Guilbeault, it’s time to pass strong biodiversity legislation. We will not stop putting pressure on the federal government until this commitment is made.”
Ashley Torres, mobilization coordinator at Arts and science federation of associations (ASFA – Concordia University), said:
“As the CBD approaches, we need world leaders to implement bold measures to protect nature and biodiversity. As a Colombian immigrant raised in Canada, I understand not only our responsibility to protect nature here at home, but abroad as well. What will it take for the Canadian government and world leaders to act?”
Note to editors:
Images of the action in Montreal can be found on the Greenpeace media library and will be updated throughout the day
For more information, please contact:
From the office:
Dina Ni, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Canada
[email protected]; +1 (416) 820-2148
Marie-Christine Fiset, Head of Media, Greenpeace Canada
[email protected]; +1 (514) 972-6316