The Earthroots Campaign to Protect the Oak Ridges Moraine
A campaign to protect the Greater Toronto Area's most vital ecosystem
The Oak Ridges Moraine, a 160 kilometre long ridge of sand and gravel hills running along the northern part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), provides a direct source of clean drinking water for more than a quarter of a million people and indirectly for millions more. It forms the headwaters for over 65 rivers and streams including the Don, Humber and Rouge and provides critical habitat (wetlands, kettle lakes, kettle bogs and natural and planted forests) for many species of animals already threatened by urban sprawl.

Local planning is now collapsing under the pressure from wealthy developers. There is a mounting crisis and the Ontario government must act now to put tough new planning controls in place. Such controls are needed to protect this provincially significant natural area and the quality of life in the GTA- we need your help now to make this happen!

Earthroots has been campaigning to protect the Moraine for the past year and a half after being asked by local residents to help them stop the construction of the Bayview Extension through the Jefferson Forest. We are now planning events, which will gain more public awareness about this vital and necessary ecosystem.

We must make our voices heard

The Ontario Municipal Board is an un-elected, un-accountable decision-making body, which is appointed by the Ontario government. Although it is they who will decide the fate of the Oak Ridges Moraine, many municipalities including Richmond Hill have already voted against all of the developer's proposals. Earthroots has found that the provincial Tories received $700,000 in contributions from developers with an interest in the moraine between 1995 and 1999. There is an obvious concern about a conflict of interest on the government's part.

The Greater Toronto Services Board (representing all GTA municipalities), the Don Watershed Council, the Waterfront Generation Trust, the Conservation Authorities Moraine Coalition, 465 scientists (Federation of Ontario Naturalists) and over 100 citizens groups across southern Ontario support protection for the Oak Ridges Moraine. In April 2000, Earthroots commissioned Oracle Research to do a survey of the residents on the Moraine. It showed that 89% of resident voters said that they want to see the Moraine protected. As well, 58% of Progressive Conservative voters would be lessvoters would be less likely to support the party again should they take a position in favour of development.

With the GTA's population projected to swell to 6 million people by 2021, we must act now to ensure an environmentally and economically healthy future for our region. We must decide if we are going to keep the GTA one of the greatest and most livable cities in the world by using "Smart Growth" urban planning controls with provincial govenment leadership or become another smoggy, traffic-congested, Los Angeles- like megalopolis, sprawling uninterrupted from Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe.

Building our nest

"Building Our Nest" is a 45 minute documentary produced by Lindsay A.

Erdman that explores the issues of urban sprawl in Southern Ontario and the battle to protect the Oak Ridges Moraine. The documentary gives a voice to the developers, politicians, local citizens and environmentalists who have been involved in this decade long battle.

Special classroom versions are available. This is a great educational tool for high school or post-secondary audiences learning more about urban development and the environment!

Each video copy costs $40.00, which includes a 11x17 promotional poster. For more information about the documentary or to obtain a copy, please contact Lindsay via email at: