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Conservation organization focuses on prairie grasslands in fight against climate change

Tall grass prairie. Global News

As concerns about climate change solutions continue to mount worldwide, a Canadian conservation group says one key to helping the planet is for Manitobans to look at the ecosystems in our backyards.

Catherine Grenier, Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC)’s president and CEO, told 680 CJOB there’s often so much focus on the environment in other parts of the world that Canadians often overlook what’s right here in front of them.

“When I’m thinking of grasslands, it’s such an important ecosystem, and it’s something that as Canadians, we often overlook. We talk about the Amazonian (forests) and we talk about the coral reefs, but we don’t know that one of the most important ecosystems in the world is here in Canada and we need it and we need to take care of it in a way that brings everyone together,” she said.

“I’m an eternal optimist — I really believe we can all take concrete action. We work in the field of nature conservation, and we know nature conservation provides about one-third of the solution for climate change.

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“It’s the most affordable solution, and it’s probably the way most Canadians can get involved — protecting nature can get us a significant way there.”

Read more: Climate change in our backyard — Manitoba begins to grapple with the consequences

Kevin Teneycke, who oversees the NCC’s work in Manitoba, said the prairies have already lost more than 70 per cent of the region’s native grasslands.

“Native grasslands are an important part of the landscape,” he said.

“There are dozens and dozens of species at risk that need grasslands to be home. Grasslands do things like help react and adapt to climate change — they store carbon, they help filter the water and store water.

“The best thing people can do is simply get involved — have an awareness of where there are opportunities. There are lots of things that can be done, even in cities.”

Volunteer and fundraising opportunities in Manitoba and across the country, he said, can be found on the NCC’s website.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba farmer at UN climate summit in Scotland' Manitoba farmer at UN climate summit in Scotland
Manitoba farmer at UN climate summit in Scotland – Nov 1, 2021

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