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Ontario and Forest Sustainability - Essay Example

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It is a picturesque paradise. The landscapes are lushly decorated with evergreens, the paths are at times accessible and then suddenly obstructed by sturdy trunks rooted firmly in the ground, and there is a definite sense that this is how things were in Ontario thousands and thousands of years ago…
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Ontario and Forest Sustainability
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"Ontario and Forest Sustainability"

Download file to see previous pages Although Canada is often deemed, from a romantic point of view, as a source of endless beauty and natural resources, this is simply not the case. There are limits. The Ontario forests are owned primarily by the province of Ontario, under the auspices of the "Crown Forest", and represent more than ninety percent of all forested land in the province; of these forested lands, slightly more than thirty percent have been allocated for productive uses. These productive uses include the cutting down of timber, tourism, and a variety of other uses. Because these forested lands provide different benefits to different groups, both aesthetic and economic, philosophical conflicts are inevitable. The provincial Ministry of Natural Resources of Ontario asserts that it is doing everything possible to sustain the forested lands; and, yet, there are those that counter that more needs to be done given certain data suggesting that sustainability problems have occurred and continue to emerge. The question presented, in short, is whether Ontario is doing enough, both in terms of policy formulation and implementation, in order to truly ensure sustainability. I am of the view that, while Ontario's actions seem superficially comprehensive and cohesive, the fact is that there remain very real problems regarding the forests and related industry. How might Ontario better approach this issue of sustainability I will attempt to provide some answers by discussing the goals and types of sustainability, some of the policies and programs adopted in Ontario, and the ultimate reality on the ground.
Sustainable Development Defined
As a preliminary matter, it is important to define what is meant by the term, sustainable development. The most widely accepted definition has been attributed to the Bruntland Commission which stated that sustainable development is that type of development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."1 This implies a policy model that emphasizes regeneration; more specifically, sustainable development demands that our actions today do not disadvantage people in the future. The difficulty is that sustainability must account for several sub-types of sustainability; these sub-types include environmental sustainability, political sustainability, social sustainability, and economic sustainability. One can easily imagine the conflicts which arise when one group tends to emphasize environmental sustainability, for instance, and another group chooses instead to emphasize political sustainability given certain economic pressures and rewards. These competing points of view have been stated as philosophies or ideologies governing how policy should be inspired and designed. The ecocentric school of thought treats everything as an interrelated living whole and posits that all policy decisions must account for all types of sustainability2; the anthropocentric approach, on the other hand, holds that the well-being of human beings must transcend all other concerns.3 Many critics have argued that the anthropocentric approach has resulted in legislation and policies which have exacerbated rather than minimized certain sustainability concerns. An ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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