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Wondrous Muskoka: Our environment is far more than our economy

By Dr. Peter F Sale



Held on Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm at the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre in Gravenhurst. Admission was by donation.





 Peter Sale - 18 Jul 2013

Those of us who live here in Muskoka all know that our environment IS our economy.  That’s as obvious on a mid-week winter morning on a deserted Port Carling street as it is in downtown Huntsville on the Saturday morning of the Canada Day weekend. Our economy is driven by the tourism and outdoor recreation which our environment sustains.


In this lecture, Dr. Sale argued that our environment is far more than just the hook we use to reel in visitors, that it has an importance for us far beyond dollars, and that it is vitally important for us to ensure that it continues to be the wondrous place it is. Our challenge is to continue to enjoy our natural environment without loving it to death. To meet this challenge we need to understand how our environment does the wondrous things it does, and how we can help it continue to do so.


This talk touched upon the history, the geology, the ecology and the biology of Muskoka, with some stories you may not yet know and some you know very well – stories about Muskoka’s plumbing, its strange inhabitants, its effect on the spirit. And Dr. Sale explored Muskoka’s future – a future that should be quite good but could be quite awful if we are careless. Finally, he spoke of the idea of belonging to a place rather than owning it, of borrowing from rather than using, of respecting and honouring this wondrous environment of which we are but one part.




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About Dr. Peter F Sale

 Peter Sale

Dr. Peter F Sale is Assistant Director at United Nations University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health and is University Professor Emeritus at the University of Windsor. Educated at the University of Toronto and the University of Hawaii, his research into ecology of coral reefs spanned a career at the University of Sydney, (1968-87), University of New Hampshire (1988-93), and University of Windsor (1994-2006).


His work has focused primarily on reef fish ecology, most recently on aspects of juvenile ecology, recruitment and connectivity. He has done research in Hawaii, Australia, the Caribbean and the Middle East, and visited reefs in many places in between. He has successfully used his fundamental science research to develop and guide projects in international development and sustainable coastal marine management in the Caribbean and the Indo-Pacific. His laboratory has produced over 200 technical publications and he has edited three books dealing with marine ecology.


He now lives with his wife Donna in Muskoka while leading projects applying science to coastal marine management in tropical regions around the world. His recent book, Our Dying Planet, tells the story of our impacts on the environment from the perspective of an ecologist who has seen environmental decline with his own eyes.