Friday, July 08, 2005

Contradictions in nature protection.

I’ve been recently reminded of a curious contradiction in the though process of the average person. In May when I traveled to Point Pelee for my annual bird watching weekend, I noticed that the parking lot was full of SUVs and mini vans. Most bird watchers are making these treks to view rare or even endangered species of birds in their natural habitat. These habitats, as most of them are well aware, are constantly under attack from external forces such as developers, loggers, pollution, human encroachment and many other things. And yet they ironically make the trek in their gas guzzling pollution spewing SUVs to these shrinking nature areas to view dwindling numbers of rare and close to extinct birds. The average SUV spews out about 6 000 Kg of carbon dioxide a year. Where as the average compact car pops out about 4 000 kg of carbon dioxide a year, for exact figures consult the Fuel Consumption Guide 2005 published by Natural Resources Canada. But, cars spewing out carbon dioxide are only one part of the problem. With the increase in the volume of cars on the road it has become necessary to create more roads. And were roads are made, urban sprawl is soon to follow. In our rush to view nature, those who manage the infrastructure have been called upon to make more roads so that we may get “closer to nature”. With the increase in green house gases and decrease in natural wildlife habitat, I wonder if in our zeal to protect and view nature whether we have not in fact done more harm then we would have if we just remained in our urban jungles? If we all drove low GHG emission vehicles to a central location and then used foot power or bicycles to proceed into sensitive nature areas, we may actually be protecting the very places we believe are valuable with out unwittingly damageing them.


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