Sus­tain­able growth pledge

Nor­folk mayor-elect makes speech at Long Point con­fer­ence

Simcoe Reformer - - FRONT PAGE - MONTE SO NNENBERG

Nor­folk mayor- elect Kristal Chopp spoke of the need to har­mo­nize eco­nomic growth with en­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship in one of her first ma­jor speeches since the Oct. 22 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion.

At the start of a one-day con­fer­ence in Sim­coe re­gard­ing sus­tain­abil­ity is­sues in the Long Point bio­sphere, Chopp de­liv­ered greet­ings on be­half of the new coun­cil that will take of­fice next month.

“At long last, even those that have been mo­ti­vated purely by cap­i­tal­ism and greed – those that have threat­ened the vi­tal­ity and fu­ture of our planet for years – are even them­selves — fi­nally, (they’re) be­gin­ning to rec­og­nize that it is prof­itable to pro­tect na­ture,” Chopp said at the Sim­coe Re­cre­ation Cen­tre.

“On the flip side, while eco­nomic growth and the en­vi­ron­ment have his­tor­i­cally been re­garded as con­tra­dic­tory themes, that is no longer the case. We now live in an era where hu­man­ity is com­ing up with the most in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions we have ever seen to some of the most chal­leng­ing prob­lems we have ever en­coun­tered.

“We must source and im­ple­ment the very best of those so­lu­tions. Eco­nomic devel­op­ment and growth must be seen not as an end in and of it­self, but rather as a means of achiev­ing both so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal goals.”

The Long Point World Bio­sphere’s sixth an­nual Re­search and Con­ser­va­tion Con­fer­ence on Fri­day fea­tured nearly 20 pre­sen­ta­tions on sub­jects re­lated to the preser­va­tion and pro­mo­tion of the Long Point ecosys­tem. Top­ics ranged from the mul­ti­species ben­e­fits of wet­land preser­va­tion to a sem­i­nar on breed­ing Amer­i­can chest­nut trees for blight re­sis­tance.

Del­e­gates and speak­ers rep­re­sented a wide cross-sec­tion of aca­demics and gov­ern­ment offi- cials from the pro­vin­cial and fed­eral lev­els. Also rep­re­sented were Bird Stud­ies Canada of Port Rowan and the Na­ture Con­ser­vancy of Canada, owner of large tracts of eco­log­i­cally sen­si­tive habi­tat in west Nor­folk.

Over the next four years, Chopp, 37, in­tends to di­vide her time be­tween Gover­nor Sim­coe Square and her job as a com­mer­cial air­line pi­lot with Air Canada.

Chopp spoke of the unique land­scapes and ecosys­tems she has seen dur­ing her ca­reer as a world trav­eller. The Long Point bio­sphere, she said, is as com­pli­cated, beau­ti­ful and im­por­tant as any of them.

Eco­nomic devel­op­ment and growth must be seen not as an end in and of it­self, but rather as a means of achiev­ing both so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal goals.”

Nor­folk mayor-elect Kristal Chopp

“As the largest fresh-wa­ter sand spit in the world, Long Point is home to the largest va­ri­ety of plants and an­i­mals in Canada as well as the largest num­bers of those plants and an­i­mals, some of which can only be found here,” she said.

Chopp’s speech was warmly re­ceived. Rick Le­vick of Toronto, pres­i­dent of the Long Point World Bio­sphere Re­serve Foun­da­tion in Port Rowan, said his group is look­ing for­ward to work­ing with a mayor that holds en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns as a pri­or­ity.

“I was pleas­antly sur­prised and en­cour­aged by her com­ments and per­spec­tive about how we can har­mo­nize eco­nomic growth with eco­log­i­cal sus­tain­abil­ity,” Le­vick said. “I think that’s a great ob­jec­tive for this com­mu­nity.”

The United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­ga­ni­za­tion is based in Paris, France. It be­stows the bio­sphere des­ig­na­tion on dis­tinct, im­por­tant habi­tats around the world.

The Long Point area is one of 18 bio­sphere re­serves in Canada. The Long Point bio­sphere re­ceived its des­ig­na­tion in 1986.

MONTE SO NNENBERG / SIM­COE RE­FORMER

The Long Point World Bio­sphere’s sixth an­nual Re­search and Con­ser­va­tion Con­fer­ence in Sim­coe kicked off Fri­day morn­ing with an indige­nous smudg­ing cer­e­mony and song by Leon Fleury, a Metis el­der re­sid­ing in Paris. The day­long con­fer­ence at the Sim­coe Re­cre­ation Cen­tre fea­tured nearly two dozen pre­sen­ta­tions of in­ter­est re­gard­ing wildlife and habi­tat is­sues in the lo­cal bio­sphere.

MONTE SONNENBERG / SIM­COE RE­FORMER

Nor­folk mayor-elect Kristal Chopp spoke of the need to har­mo­nize eco­nomic growth with en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity at the start of a one-day con­fer­ence Fri­day on is­sues re­lated to the Long Point world bio­sphere re­serve. The con­fer­ence at the Sim­coe Re­cre­ation Cen­tre at­tracted a wide ar­ray of aca­demics, en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

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