Last fall staff and supporters of the World Wildlife Fund traveled to the British Columbia to explore the central coast aboard the Island Roamer, and I was fortunate enough to be their guide. To read about one of our grizzly encounters, check out this short blog by Linda Nowlan.
This region, formerly referred to as the Mid-Coast Timber Supply Area, is now commonly known as the Great Bear Rainforest. Here, terrestrial and marine ecosystems nourish each other. Nutrients from spawning salmon feed trees, mammals, birds, insects and amphibians in the forest. Meanwhile the forest acts as a nursery, regulating the waters that rear the next generation of salmon. Ocean and forest are not distinct entities – they are a continuum.
As the public hearings for the Northern Gateway Pipeline get underway, perhaps WWF will help people make the important connections between forest and ocean by referring to this region as the “Great Bear Sea.” The threats from the pipeline are not unique to whales, salmon or bears. Rather, they put a large complex system at risk – a system that includes people (namely First Nation communities) and multitudes of marine and terrestrial species.
According to WWF’s blog:
Upwards of 4,200 individuals and groups have signed up to have their voices heard (at the hearings) – the largest show of concern in Canadian history about the environmental impacts of an industrial project.
If you’re not sure why we should care about the proposed pipeline and the Great Bear Sea, this Youtube video (filmed during our excursion on the Island Roamer) will give you a taste of what is at stake.
To see more gorgeous footage, and to learn about the Northern Gateway Pipeline, watch the award-winning documentary SPOIL.