When I was born, the human population of the world numbered three billion people. Now, it has doubled to over six billion. If I am fortunate enough to become an old man, the world population may well double again. This is unprecedented – the world’s population doubling twice in a single lifetime. It has never happened before, and it is unlikely to happen again. The world just can’t sustain it. This single fact, more than any other, means that it is our generation that must change. We must act now, or we risk the well-being of our children, and we risk the well-being of the many creatures that share this amazing planet with us. Fortunately, there is much we can do.

I am a practical optimist, which may explain why I work on species at risk. Endangered plants and animals can tell us much about how to live in a sustainable way – they give us reason to be optimistic. The most important lesson I have learned from species at risk is very simple - we must share the planet and we must be aware that we are part of the natural world, not external to it. To act in this way is to become a steward. A steward is a person aware of the past use of the lands and waters, and mindful of the future – a person wanting to leave things in a state better than they found it. We can all become stewards of the natural world.

Stewardship is not difficult. In fact, it is very rewarding. This guide provides ideas about how to live with species at risk in Nova Scotia. It describes a way of living that most of us would be very comfortable adopting. If we can live with species at risk, making a place for these rare and wonderful species to thrive with us, then we have already tackled many of the world’s challenges head-on. It starts in our own backyards. I urge you to adopt stewardship as a way of life. Let’s work together to make Nova Scotia an example to the world – a place where we live in harmony with nature, a place where we have a sustainable future for our children. 


Stephen Flemming
Parks Canada