(283) Natural capital near the GTHA [Report]

new high point mall 200Something like half of Canada’s best farm country can be seen from the top of the CN Tower.  Sure, that Toronto edifice is the world’s tallest free standing structure but that doesn’t make for a lot of farm land for Canada to feed herself from.  Both of these ideas are cliches that have been in circulation since the mid 1970s.

What you can also see from up there is a zillion dollars worth of suburban development.  In a growth-crazed Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area few can imagine life any other way.  In time, we may come to ask if exchanging all that good, green, food-producing land for a brittle horizon filled with worn out, low grade garbage architecture was all that good an idea.  Better the questions start now while there is something to conserve.  This is what the Suzuki Foundation has in mind with its most recent report.  An opinion piece in the Toronto Star introduces the report, a document deserving wide readership.

From the report:

“Some regions of the country, like the Golden Horseshoe surrounding Toronto, have been blessed with an abundance of Class 1 soils. But an increasing proportion of the best soils in the Golden Horseshoe and in most urbanized regions of Canada now lie beneath sprawling housing developments, highways, strip malls and other infrastructure. As urban communities have grown over the years, agricultural lands and natural areas have far too often been drained, dug up and paved over.
…our growing cities sprawl over what once was mostly farmland. Only 5 per cent of Canada’s entire land base is suitable for growing food. At the same time, urban uses have consumed more than 7,400 square kilometres of dependable farmland in recent decades.”

Urban sprawl is destroying Ontario’s farmland star.com

Nature on the Edge: natural capital and Ontario’s growing Golden Horseshoe
davidsuzuki.org for full report as a 31-page .pdf file