The invaluable nature-based solution to the climate crisis is…

Freshwater ecosystems! Wetlands store more carbon than any other ecosystem, including forests.

Published on March 20, 2024

Adult and child look at wetland with binoculars

The impacts of climate change can be felt through water – rising sea levels, intense floods, an increase in wildfires and drought conditions, and diminishing ice fields. But did you know, water can be one of the solutions to climate change? According to United Nations Water, sustainable water management is the key to enhancing the resilience of Earth’s ecosystems and societies, and to reducing carbon emissions.


How can water reduce emissions? Oceans and freshwater ecosystems reduce the flow of heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Freshwater ecosystems, such as lakes, rivers and wetlands, absorb carbon from the atmosphere and store it underground for hundreds or even thousands of years.


American bittern on Lake Quebec


According to the United Nations Environment Programme, wetlands store more carbon than any other ecosystem, with peatlands alone storing twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests. Peatlands are a type of wetland that occurs in almost every country on the globe.


For more information (with great visuals!) check out the primer Wetlands are Carbon Storage Superstars from Ontario Nature.


Monitoring and Protecting Lakes

Wetlands and peatlands may be the carbon sink superstars, but lakes provide fundamental resources for people and planet.


Ontario has 250,000 inland lakes and the Great Lakes hold 20 per cent of the Earth’s surface fresh water. We need to monitor and protect these vital ecosystems so that activities such as agriculture, fisheries or tourism do not harm them further.


Communities and researchers are gathering important information about local bodies of water and watersheds across Canada, however improving how data is collected and shared has clear benefits. In a new episode of the Future Fix podcast, we speak with Mary Kruk of DataStream, a non-profit organization and Open Access platform for publishing water quality data across Canada.


Barrier-free access to data informs better decision-making and policy, facilitates collaboration, and minimizes financial barriers enabling many under-resourced communities to update their stewardship plans.


Terrier dog high fives person at camping site on a lake


How you can get involved

Evergreen’s Community Solutions Network program is hosting a free webinar on April 11 for communities and citizens interested in learning about innovative climate-resilience solutions in Ontario. Speakers from Living Lakes Canada, Waterfront Toronto and the Town of Collingwood will share their strategies for stewarding water and shorelines.


One of our speakers, Camille LeBlanc from Living Lakes Canada, will share learnings from three years of water data collected by way of volunteer citizen scientists across Canada. Learn more and register for the event.


Climate change is a global issue felt on a local scale, and local communities are essential to implementing adaptation and resilience measures. Join us virtually on April 11, April 23 (Prairie Approaches to Climate Resilience) or May 1 (Harnessing Technology and Data to Make Better Public Places for British Columbia.


The Community Solutions Network is a program led by Evergreen in partnership with Open North. Our team works with communities to build capacity and improve the lives of residents using data and connected technology approaches.



Our newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest from our teams as we transform public spaces across Canada — as well as what’s going on in our public places.