Bring BACK Funding for Forest Ontario's 50 Million Tree Project

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Doug Ford's government has cut funding for Forest Ontario's 50 Million Tree Project. The Ontario community must put the environment first, and understand its importance in maintaining sustainable economic, social and ecological systems. It is not enough to suggest change and stop there - we must continue to speak up and push action over apathy.

https://globalnews.ca/video/5204475/ontario-government-cancels-50-million-tree-program/

Since 2008 the program planted more than 27 Million trees (saving landowners up to 90 per cent the costs of large-scale tree planting). Doug Ford cut the funding to cut provincial costs, but is only solving one problem by exacerbating climate change. The funding for the program was about 4.7 million per year (one new proposed subway line alone is $10.9 billion). As Ontario's climate is already rising faster than average, to protect the future condition of our economic system and infrastructures we need to invest in environmental initiatives like the 50 Million Tree Program. 

"About 40 per cent forest cover is needed to ensure forest sustainability, Keen said, and the average right now in southern Ontario is 26 per cent, with some areas as low as five per cent." Global News 

Sign and share to send a message to the Ontario government that we do not agree in the decisions to make these cuts

#save50milliontrees

Here is the letter/email to send. 

I am writing to you today because I strongly disagree with your governments recent budget cuts to Forest Ontario's 50 Million Tree Project. An average of 40% forest cover is needed to ensure forest sustainability, and with some parts of the province already as low as 5% we can't afford to stop now.

The Ontario government has funded tree planting in southern Ontario for over a century. In the face of rapid climate change, we must not stop now. Ontario is already warming faster than the global average, increasing by 1.5 degrees celsius since 1948, with the last ten years being warmest on record. By 2050, Ontario's average annual temperature is expected to increase by 2.5 to 3.7 degrees celsius, leading to devastating economic, agricultural social, and infrastructural consequences.

Reforestation efforts such as the 50 Million Tree Program can help to speed up that process. Forest are key to reducing greenhouse gases, extract carbon from the air by incorporating it into their biomass, help mitigate flooding, and contribute to better public health.

In Urban centers specifically, trees improve air quality, reduce cooling and heating energy use, and have been known to have restorative psychologically and physiologically effects, promoting mental health. In fact, the 2015 study, "Neighborhood greenspace and health in a large urban center" conducted by Omid Kodan in Scientific Reports (5), examines the associations between comprehensive greenspace metrics and health, specifically in Toronto. The results were clear, "...people who live in neighborhoods with a higher density of trees on their streets report significantly higher health perception and significantly less cardio-metabolic conditions (controlling for socio-economic and demographic factors)."

The cut is unacceptable in today's climate. Global news reported - "The CEO of one of the main nurseries that grows seedlings for the program said the cancellation of the 50 Million Trees Program will lead to more erosion in flood zones, as well as poorer air and water quality, warmer lakes and streams without forest cover to shade them, and less wildlife habitat." Recent extreme winters in Ontario have, according to the 2018 Green House Gas Progress-Report by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario led to winter flood events. These events, "overwhelmed stormwater infrastructure and wastewater treatment plants leading to the direct release of sewage waste into rivers and Lake Ontario." Already First Nations communities along the James Bay coast have been evacuated due to winter flood events.

The Ontario community must put the environment first, and understand its importance in maintaining sustainable economic, social and ecological systems. It is not enough to suggest change and stop there - we must continue to speak up and push action over apathy.

Ontario is supposed to be a "Place to Grow" - so let it become one.

Bring back funding for the 50 Million Tree Program