Since the 1970s, Earth Day has brought forth environmental awareness while putting environmental concerns front and centre where they belong. Concerned citizens, adults and children alike, from all walks of life are becoming more environmentally aware and are taking action to protect the environment through grassroots initiatives - from local public marches to speaking at the United Nations. People are coming to understand that our biosphere, with its natural habitats and living organisms, is like our family - there are inseparable links between Nature herself and our own health and well-being.
To celebrate Earth Day, TerraHumana Solutions is honouring everyday people who have taken up the cause and responsibility to protect our natural environment in all itssplendour.
A group of concerned residents called Pincourt Vert had, along with other nearby municipalities, raised concerns about Rousseau Forest, which had been zoned for development just a short time ago. These citizens understood the ecological and societal importance of this natural habitat, as it was the last remaining wetland forest along the Ottawa River.
TerraHumana Solutions had the great privilege of working with a group of concerned citizens from Pincourt, whereby a mandate was given to conduct independent research as well as provide an ecosystem wetland characterization and surveys on the local flora and fauna. The Rousseau Forest is a second-growth forest of approximately 4.5 ha. located in Pincourt, on the island of Île Perrot off
the western tip of Montreal island.
Field surveys of reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals were conducted. Of the 24 bird species found, ten (all migratory) were species at risk either at the provincial or federal level. A total of 96 plant species (both vascular and non-vascular) were classified, and a large diversity of tree species was also found. Some of the flora and fauna were listed as Endangered according to the Species at Risk Act (COSEWIC 2017).
The residents of Pincourt, mobilizing with petitions and TerraHumana Solutions' independent study, were able to show the city council of Pincourt that destroying the natural habitat of the Rousseau Forest would come at a very high ecological cost. The beautiful ending to this story is that the Pincourt city council did its job by representing the people - through the will of the citizens, they came to understand why this precious resource needed to remain as a biodiverse part of Pincourt.
However, not all stories advocating for the protection of green and natural spaces meet with positive outcomes. The citizens of Hudson, Quebec answered the call to protect Sandy Beach, a wetland habitat along the Ottawa River. Nature Hudson, a group of community members dedicated to preserving the ecologically important forests and wetlands, gave TerraHumana Solutions a mandate to conduct an ecological characterization of this sensitive area. The report findings concluded that the site was of ecological significance, and the town of Hudson needed to consider revising its development plans.
Despite the public outcry and requests by citizens for the city to purchase the privately held land, this option was not considered. The developer, also the owner of this land, secured zoning rights. This three-hundred-year-old oak tree will be cut down very shortly in preparation for this development. Something very precious is about to be lost.
‘The biosphere is our home. Living things are not a commodity or a resource to be used according to their economic value. In the act of generosity, all species on this planet generate the most fundamental human needs while enriching our lives with beauty and awe. We need to reciprocate this generosity through our efforts to protect the environment, which is what celebrating Earth Day is all about,’ says Dr. Isabelle-Anne Bisson, president of TerraHumana Solutions.