Have you ever thought about what the Earth will look like in 100 years if we don’t protect the environment? I was watching The Lion King with my children recently and the best analogy I can give is when Scar allowed the hyenas to take over the Pride Lands; scary, but true!

This also got me thinking of Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS), a client of the Social Innovation Generation practice here at MaRS. What sparked my interest in their work is that they took matters into their own hands and decided to play their part in protecting the environment, undoubtedly benefitting all Canadians. ALUS sought MaRS’ services because they found an innovative way to finance conservation by valuing the services produced (for example, cleaner air, cleaner water, more wildlife and protecting the habitats of endangered species).

ALUS was formed in 2005 as a program of the Delta Waterfowl Foundation, a charitable organization that aims to secure the future of waterfowl and waterfowl hunting. Through their efforts, ALUS raised approximately $4.5 million to work on the following projects, among others:

  1. Planting trees
  2. Re-constructing wetlands
  3. Replacing native grasslands
  4. Pollinator projects (for example, habitats and food for bees)

ALUS currently operates in 11 communities across Canada in the provinces of Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Prince Edward Island. While each community has a different focus, there is one common vision: “To create a healthy, working landscape that sustains life support systems for agriculture, rural communities and wildlife.”

So while we are busy going about our day-to-day activities, perhaps harming the environment in the process, there is a group of people in Canada (who are well deserving of a medal) planting trees and reconstructing wetlands. All of their efforts promote the development of by-products—for example, the sequestering of carbon.

Thanks to assistance from the federal and provincial governments, private foundations, angler and hunter groups, stewardship councils and environmental groups, ALUS is able to continue with the exceptional work it is doing.

It’s no longer business as usual. Let’s leave Hakuna Matata to the animated arena. Watch these videos, courtesy of YouTube, and be inspired.

How can you help?

One of ALUS’ main goals is to involve and spark interest in the broader community; after all, the future of the environment is in our hands. Share this article among your friends and reach out to farmers in your community and encourage them to be part of this remarkable cause. Protecting the environment is everyone’s business!

Monique Brown

Monique is the associate for the Social Innovation Generation practice at MaRS. Previously, she worked in Jamaica at Petrojam Limited and at the University of Technology, Jamaica. Monique’s love for the field of human resources led her to pursue graduate studies in that area. See more…