How do we get "Biodiversity" to "Trend"?

biodiversity

(Thea Silver) #1

I just read an interesting blog by the Wildlife Habitat Council’s President, Margaret O’Gormon discussing the lack of media coverage re: the state of biodiversity, particularly compared to other environmental issues such as climate change. She points to a recently published paper that highlights this clear discrepancy.

I, too, have noticed such a lack of public/media interest in biodiversity (except in cases of cute public interest stories, such as the family of coyotes living in Fort York’s community gardens reported recently - and they are cute!). I know others in the ‘biodiversity conservation’ space have noticed this too - as we often speak about how to ‘mainstream’ biodiversity (a key direction in Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy). The situation may be changing - and certainly Pathway to Target 1, the federal budget investment, etc are helping to raise the profile, but there is still a way to go.

Why do you think this is? Biodiversity underpins everything we do and is inextricably linked to climate change. How can we help raise this awareness? How can we get biodiversity to trend? What has worked for you? And what can we share and learn? I’d be interested in hearing from those who are ear to the ground (or boots to the ground) in this area!


(Jay Garlough) #2

We get a lot of those public interest stories here in Ottawa and to be honest it does not take a lot for those types of stories to trend. All that has to happen is for the animal, insect or plant to show up somewhere that we are not used to seeing it, like hanging out at an urban rock concert or investigating how we connect fragmented communities & reduce social isolation with public infrastructure like express highways.

That is why I love Safe Wings Ottawa’s annual bird display (https://safewings.ca/bird-display-2018/). They bring a bold display of biodiversity straight to City Hall and put it front & center for a day.

If I had more time I would be assisting that group in brining dying (or rehabilitated) owls, flickers and hummingbirds straight into committee meetings and let each of them sit right in front of the live microphone for a 5 minute delegation (or whatever is allowed) at various committees involved with setting policies on environment protection, tendering new public buildings, maintaining existing buildings, or setting building codes. Who knows what, if anything, those animals would say but I am confident they could speak for themselves. If faking a broken wing at a rock concert can get you local, national, and international media exposure, imagine the impact that two actual bloody & broken wings might incubate. Safe Wings Ottawa are lucky I don’t have more time! :smile:


(Thea Silver) #3

That it a really compelling initiative @JGarlough. The annual loss of birds - from building strikes, cats, etc - is mind-boggling. I’m curious if they’ve been able to evaluate whether or how the appeal at City Hall has affected people or driven actions, even by individuals if not by policy (which is a long term endeavour!).

The ‘public interest’ stories do make it to the news quite easily. There was a great one in Toronto recently where a fox was spotted (and videoed) hauling a dead rabbit across St. Clair Avenue! But do these stories help the issue of biodiversity conservation make it into the public’s minds and beyond. There is certainly growing profile right now re: biodiversity and the need for conservation, especially with the Pathway to Target 1 initiative, but will the interest be long-term - long after the UN target is met (and hopefully surpassed). Interested in everyone’s thoughts on this!!