VICTORIA B.C. – The entire world in is the midst of an extinction crisis and humans are the driving force.
“In Canada, British Columbia is the most biodiverse province, but it is also home to more at-risk species than any other province,” says Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party. “Half of B.C.’s assessed species are deemed at risk.”
“B.C.’s biodiversity is globally significant, rapidly declining, and lacking any substantial legal protection – this Act aims to change that by bringing into force standalone legislation to safeguard British Columbia's native wildlife species and their habitat.”
In addition to identifying, protecting, and rehabilitating at-risk wildlife populations and habitats, this Act seeks to introduce proactive measures that will prevent healthy species from declining in the first place.
“Compared to reactive government efforts to intervene in a habitat already out of balance, preserving healthy ecosystems is easier, more cost effective, and avoids needless animal suffering,” says Weaver. “Furthermore, as the global climate warms and precipitation patterns shift, having a complete ecosystem within which animals and plants can try to adapt will be essential.
“The Federal Species at Risk Act and B.C.’s current non-binding patchwork approach to protecting wildlife is clearly not working. The biodiversity in our province is prodigious, but it is not without risk. We will lose it if we do not act.”
This Act builds off the Ontario Endangered Species Act and B.C. version of their legislation tabled by the B.C. NDP in 2011. It incorporates language from the United States Federal Endangered Species Act to make it more effective, proactive, preventative, and comprehensive. Of note is the addition of a section that mirrors the US Endangered Species Committee, known as the "God Squad" because of the substantial impact of its decisions on the natural world.
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