Monday, January 25, 2010

prairie grass in peril

The CBC recently reported a dramatic loss of indigenous prairie grasses in Canada over the past few decades. Tall-grass prairies are now extremely endangered, with less than one per cent of an initial 6,000 square km remaining, mostly in Manitoba.

I took a keen interest in this article, as I have a strong connection to and love for our prairie landscape and find it sad to see this historic piece of our heritage in peril.

But reading the article, I realized it was likely not the kind of thing most people would deem important, or even interesting, and I can't really blame them. With tragedies like Haiti and countless others in the radar lately, it's hard to find room to worry about grass. Questions like 'how does this affect our lives?' come to mind. What are the practical consequences if tall-grass prairies were to disappear altogether? I imagine the answer, realistically, is 'none.'

Still, the loss of this ecosystem means the human-caused destruction of a piece of nature inherent to our prairies for thousands of years-- that's huge.

In my opinion, there is value in working to save something simply for the sake of saving it, because it has a right to exist, and absolutely should continue to exist.

A group of environmentalists are working on preserving the grasses. As many thousands of causes as there are, there are at least a few to champion each one-- as it should be.

Photo by Curtis Sawatzky

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