BC's incoming government must act swiftly
Victoria, BC – ForestEthics Solutions, Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC today presented BC Premier Christy Clark with a scroll of signatures from more than 10,000 people calling on the BC government to finish the job it started over a decade ago and complete the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements. The event marked a major milestone in public support to safeguard the Great Bear Rainforest.
“More than 10, 000 people have signed up to ask the government to get the job done and soon. That speaks volumes about what this special place means to people,” said Eduardo Sousa, senior forest campaigner with Greenpeace Canada.
The Great Bear Rainforest Agreements of 2006 and 2009 announced to all British Columbians and the world that the rainforest’s ecology would be conserved, while addressing the well-being of the region’s primarily First Nations communities. However, despite widespread public and political support to save one of the world’s last intact coastal temperate rainforests, only half of the Great Bear Rainforest is currently off limits to logging. The Agreements set a target of 70 per cent preservation of natural old growth ecosystems.
The TakeItTaller.ca social media campaign was launched in February of this year on the sixth anniversary of the initial Great Bear Rainforest Agreements. It coincided with a letter of concern sent by the three groups to BC Premier Christy Clark to complete the Agreements within a year. The campaign engaged citizens, collecting thousands of names in a few months and received support from around the world.
“The BC Government responded positively with cautious support to wrap up the Agreements, but the pace continues to be slow, and vigorous leadership is required. We need this wrapped up by March 2013,” said Jens Wieting, forest campaigner with Sierra Club BC.
The final step to 70 per cent would complete the ecological portion of the Agreements, which have been the subject of global scrutiny since unsustainable logging practices were revealed in this globally significant rainforest more than 15 years ago.
“Over the past decade forest companies in the region have played a positive role in working through various planning challenges. Once again, it’s time for these same forest companies to step forward to work through a common set of solutions to make the required final conservation steps. To get the job done by March 2013, all parties have to step up to the plate, even if that requires some tough decisions and innovative approaches to otherwise business-as-usual,” said Sousa.
TakeItTaller.ca continues to gather support by the day. With leadership by all involved, the critical last steps to protecting the Great Bear Rainforest can be in place by March 31, 2013. More than 10 000 people, and counting (www.takeittaller.ca), are watching while thousands are taking active interest through social networks.