Blog April 23, 2012
Making the case for green infrastructure in Ontario
(Photo: Stuart McPherson)
By David Stonehouse, General Manager, Evergreen Brick Works
The Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition is an alliance of organizations that share a common vision for a healthy, green Ontario. Evergreen, a key partner on the coalition’s six-member steering committee, is proud to be a part of these ongoing efforts to revitalize natural spaces throughout the province.
Last month, the coalition released its much-anticipated report, Health, Prosperity and Sustainability: The Case for Green Infrastructure in Ontario. Co-authored with Ecojustice, the report presents a strong case for improved policies and investments to support green infrastructure in the province, and offers the Ontario Government several key recommendations for taking advantage of the multitude of environmental, social and economic benefits provided by these natural systems.
The Coalition’s project coordinator, Colleen Cirillo, introduces the report below:
What is Green Infrastructure?
Green infrastructure takes many forms, but it’s perhaps best described as any use of the natural environment in urban land-use planning. That could mean anything from rooftop gardens to city trees along roads and restored wetlands in parks. These natural systems provide urban neighbourhoods with a broad array of free services, including water purification, stormwater retention and soil protection, as well as cleaning the atmosphere of airborne pollutants, reduced urban heat island effect and improved energy efficiency of buildings.
In addition to the free services listed above, green infrastructure supports increased biodiversity and contributes to the beauty and livability of urban communities. But these natural systems also provide diverse economic and health benefits as well. They are a strategic sector for green jobs creation and an essential step in Ontario’s emerging green economy.