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Public information session raises awareness of the importance of the Hudson Bay Lowlands

Members of Mushkegowuk Council's marine conservation efforts along with the Wildlands League and a Timmins area conservationist, organized an opportunity to inform people about why the Hudson Bay Lowlands, or peatlands, are important, what's threatening them and how they can help.

“In the last few years, we’re really starting to appreciate just how much carbon is stored in the Hudson Bay Lowlands," said Anna Baggio, conservation director for Wildlands League.

"It’s actually just as important as the Amazon from a global climate standpoint and so the world is starting to pay attention to this ecosystem saying hey Canada, this ecosystem is just as important as the Amazon so can you guys take care of it and steward it and make sure we don’t lose all that carbon."

To people living in communities such as Attawapiskat, Kashechewan and Fort Albany, the lowlands on the Hudson Bay and James Bay coasts are known as ‘the Breathing Lands’ and they want to ensure it's protected.

“So I’m trying to convince the mining people and the government to not go there because it’s too much of a sensitive area for the possibility of being disturbed forever – and to go to other places where already a lot of mining is happening like in Timmins and Sudbury where you can find all these critical minerals," said Lawrence Martin, marine manager for the Mushkegowuk Marine Conservation.

Those who organized the session told CTV News that there are a number of ways to help protect the peatlands, including:

  • speaking to elected officials,
  • avoiding purchasing peat moss at garden centres and
  • refraining from upgrading your smartphone

“Be more aware, speak out and say what they think the situation is with the climate change; we see it changing drastically," said conservationist Laurent Robichaud.

"Some things we can control, some things we can’t control and this ('the Breathing Lands') is one that we probably can control."

Organizers explained peatlands operate as a cooling agent which stores hundreds of millions of tonnes of carbon and is an ally in climate change unless it's disturbed.

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