Environmental Performance Index 2010

(Michael Berrill, Oceanactions.com)

We’ve been assessed, and we have failed again.

The Environmental Performance Index – EPI – for 2010 has just been published. It compares 163 countries, using available data on 25 indicators of environmental health and vitality. Published every two years, this is the third report. Obviously, the data are not quite up-to-date, and the ranks represent us as we were about two years ago. Canada and the US do not fair well, and it is unlikely we have improved in the past two years.

Geothermal power, Blue lagoon, Iceland (virginmedia.com)

Overall, Iceland is #1, European countries make up half of the top 30, and Costa Rica and Cuba join them at #3 and #9. The countries of Sub-Sahara dominate the lowest ranks. Though Canada ranks #46 and the US #61, the pain is in the details. In ecosytem vitality Canada is #140, the US is #142, just ahead of China at #143. Air pollution per capita is a subset of environmental vitality, and the US is #154, China #156, and Canada #158. In climate change, Canada is #140, the US #153….Good grief.

Fishing down the food web. As time passes we eliminate the larger fish, and the marine trophic index drops.

Among the marine related indicators, the US is doing relatively well, certainly a lot better than Canada. Out ot 127 countries that have some marine profile, Canada is #58 in development of marine protected areas, #73 in trawling damage, #125 in fisheries health, and dead last in the marine trophic index, which indicates the extent marine ecosystems have lost their upper predator trophic levels.

Isn’t that something? Canada – rich, educated, developed – has one of the very worst records on the planet as a fishing nation. Here, as with emissions controls, we require some strong top-down leadership. Legislative stale-mates in both the US and in Canada are not an excuse.

You who are the elected leaders: lead! Please.

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