The environment, the economy, property rights, natural processes, moral obligations to other life-forms - past, present and future use; all can seem to be in conflict sometimes. When it comes to weighing pros and cons of activities that reflect multiple outcomes, and multiple needs, some for today and some for the future, it gets even more difficult to understand what is best - much less how to govern and guide such decisions.
Land use planning and our attitudes toward natural resource use and environmental management have and will continue to evolve as we learn and understand that as humans, we are capable of making significant impacts. In the early settlement of this province it made sense and was necessary to dam streams and rivers to generate power for saw and grist mills. Those choices had an impact. The required removal of forests in order to fulfill land grant requirements had consequences, just as the decision (and learning why) to replant had an impact. The situation changed. We are beginning to understand natural features and their roles differently.
Our science has changed in many ways; looking at and modeling multiple outcomes and forecasting through better assessments as one example. What is still confusing for many people is the apparent disconnect between science and the ability to look at impacts from a full systems perspective, while our governance of the same processes is fragmented across several levels of government as well as multiple ministries and agencies.
The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan was an attempt to address a "patchwork of jurisdictional responsibilities". It's not perfect. It's not all that's required. It's sure to change. It's what we have to guide here and now and it recognizes the moraine as a system. It looks to the future better than ever before.