The videos show a hideous, scarred topography that looks post-napalm or post-war. The images are reminiscent of Mad Max, so barren and parched is the landscape. But no, it is not some kind of horror fantasy film, it is Sudbury in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, its rock rendered barren and black from sulphur dioxide and mining processes.
A large crowd gathered at the Vale Living with Lakes Centre on Monday for the launch of the Protocol conference, which will tell the story of Sudbury, from its moonscape past to its verdant, forested present. The Sudbury Protocol is a practice, born and bred in the Nickel City, to regreen the former moonscape for which the city had been known.
“A lot of the innovation and impetus to start changing things happened in the early 70s, when people realized we couldn’t live with the acid rain and the degraded landscape anymore – there needed to be a change,” Nadia Mykytczuk, a research scientist at the Living with Lakes Centre, said. “So, a lot of the pioneers banded together and by 1978 it was the start of the land reclamation program.
“From that, so many efforts and research programs started looking at lakes, looking at more than just bringing trees back to the landscape.”
But those trees did come back. In fact, Mayor Brian Bigger said Monday that about 12 million trees have been planted in the Sudbury basin. Those intrepid visionaries who saw a greener, leafier future for Sudbury were successful.
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