A shift in public attitude regarding how we manage the various elements of our greenlands systems will also have to take place if we are to adapt to smaller, self-contained communities with higher population densities. The realization is gradually taking hold that the ecosystems of Central Ontario have been so severely corrupted by fragmentation, invasive and exotic (non-native) species, and the cumulative effects of several centuries of human occupation, that they can no longer be expected to function without concerted, long-term management. The notion that most greenlands can be protected in perpetuity simply by leaving them alone is short-sighted. In many cases the maintenance of viable ecosystems is possible only with human intervention. This has huge implications for the long-term protection and integrity of greenlands, as there does not yet appear to be sufficient recognition of this trend to bring about a shift in focus toward the active management of these areas.
The expression "Think globally, act locally" has often been touted as a philosophy each individual should adopt to achieve and maintain a healthy, sustainable environment. Local actions such as painting yellow fish beside storm sewers or planting native species in one's backyard are highly commendable, but unfortunately do not go far enough. The idea that solutions to large-scale environmental problems can be achieved by promoting action at a local level is naive. Although this approach provides the individual with a feel-good sense of having made a difference, in reality it often fails to promote an understanding of the more serious big picture issues. To maintain the long-term viability of our provincial greenlands system in perpetuity, we need to commit now to the implementation of concerted and sustained management actions aimed at reversing the impacts of human intrusion. Although this shift in attitude may already be under way, it must be accompanied by a political commitment to devoting more resources to the management of existing greenlands areas.