Save the Great Bear Rainforest
British Columbia close to protecting rainforest of staggering diversity
Sample letter to Premier Gordon Campbell
by Tom Valtin
The planet’s largest tract of intact temperate rainforest, British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, has never been closer to being protected. With a historic land-use agreement currently on the table, now is the time to make your voice heard and ensure that the agreement becomes a reality.
Stretching along British Columbia’s mid-coast, the Great Bear Rainforest is a place of staggering ecological richness, boasting one of the world’s largest populations of grizzly bears, the rare white Spirit Bear, genetically unique coastal wolves, and five species of wild salmon.
The region has long been threatened by industrial forestry and clear-cut logging. Communities in the Great Bear Rainforest also experience unemployment as high as 85 percent, so a solution for the region must protect its forests and find a sustainable future for these communities, many comprised of First Nations peoples who have called the region home for more than 10,000 years.
Protests, blockades, and an international markets campaign by many groups, including the Sierra Club, have brought global attention to the Great Bear Rainforest. In 1999 these efforts forced the forest industry to the negotiating table. For four years environmentalists sat at meetings alongside forest companies, community representatives, workers, and tourism operators, and in 2004, a set of agreements was reached to address the area’s ecological and economic future. The land-use agreement protects one-third of the region from logging, defines sustainable logging practices outside protected areas, and invests in diversifying local economies.
The next step is the provincial government’s approval of this “solutions package,” and formal designation of the protected areas. The B.C. government has promised to approve this agreement by September 2005. “The message we want to communicate to our premier is that ‘the world is watching,’” says Taylor Bachrach of Sierra Club Canada’s B.C. Chapter. “Faxes from folks in the U.S. will carry that message well.”
E-mail or fax the Honourable Gordon Campbell and urge him to follow through with his promise. Fax: (250) 387-0087.
spirit bear photo by ?Marni Grossman
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