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Singer, songwriter, environmental activist and GreenHero Sarah Harmer just cannot be stopped.

Co-founder of Protecting Escarpment and Rural Lands (PERL), she’s just begun a musical tour to promote her newest album, Late Bloomer.

It comes on the heels of her toe-tapping Escarpment Blues tour, which exposed her feelings towards her childhood backyard in the Niagara Escarpment through song, and uncovered the devastating destruction of its biodiversity by developers and industry digging for aggregates.

This October, we will watch PERL stand before the Ontario Municipal Board to defend the escarpment from further invasion. Sarah Harmer took a moment from her busy tour schedule to lend her voice to the GreenHeroes campaign, and to remind us to be the voices for the environment in our own backyards.

It’s been over 5 years, and the work to save the Niagara Escarpment’s Mount Nemo in Burlington, Ontario from a massive LaFarge/Nelson Aggregate open pit quarry continues at a busy pace.

In mid-September the Niagara Escarpment Commission voted in what they called a “precedent setting” vote in favour of processing community organization Protecting Escarpment Rural Land’s (PERL) amendment application to properly designate the land at risk on Mount Nemo based on current science.

This would include recognizing the Grindstone Creek Headwaters Provincially Significant Wetland Complex, and Species at Risk habitats, which were confirmed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in 2006 and 2007.

To have this up-to-date science reflected in the land-use designations of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act (NEPDA) would update much of the subject land from “Escarpment Rural” to “Escarpment Natural” and “Escarpment Protected”.

Aggregate extraction is contemplated in “Escarpment Rural” designated land, but not in “Escarpment Natural” and “Escarpment Protected” land. Getting the proper designations in place would prevent the contemplation of aggregate extraction on most of the LaFarge owned property.

PERL, Halton Region and the City of Burlington have all called for the proper designations to be put in place on this land, in other words to get the planning right, before Ontario tax payers are made to spend millions of dollars in a Joint Board hearing, which is slated to begin in October 2010.

With this decision to process our amendment application the Niagara Escarpment Commission has recognized that it is crucial to have the most current Provincial science reflected in NEPDA land designations.

We are ever more hopeful that good planning will prevail, and the future of Mount Nemo as part of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, home to Endangered and Threatened Species and vital source water supply, will be saved for future generations.

The Ontario Municipal Board hearings are currently underway, but it is not too late to sign on to the petition and take action. For more actions you can take to protect Mount Nemo and your community, visit our In My Backyard campaign page.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your story here for your chance to win a prize in our contest

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

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