This year I made two trips to Canada's Great Bear Rainforest. A vast area of glacier-cut fjords, old-growth forests and rich salmon streams, it is also home to whales, grizzly bears, black bears, and the rare spirit bear.
Sadly, it is also a place that is in danger. Saved once already from loggers, the waterways of the Great Bear are scheduled to fall victim to oil tankers, and their inevitable spills. For some, a remote pipeline terminal on the BC coast seems like a fine out of the way place to ship oil. This sounds like a fantastic economic opportunity - especially if you are an oil company. The problem is that Great Bear it is part of the largest remaining coastal temperate rainforest on Earth. The health of this entire ecosystem depends on the water ways. A spill from an oil tanker would be a catastrophe.
I've been searching for ways to adequately express my disgust. Last night I came across a quote from Paul Watson - founder of Greenpeace and The Sea Shepherds:
But each and every day people go into the most beautiful, most profoundly sacred cathedrals of this planet, the rainforests of the Amazon, the redwood forests of California, the rainforests of Indonesia, and totally desecrate & destroy these cathedrals with bulldozers, chainsaws and how do we respond to that? Oh, we write a few letters and protest; we dress up in animal costumes with picket signs and jump up and down; but if the rainforests of Amazonia and redwoods of California, were as, or had as much value to us as a chunk of old meteorite in Mecca, a decrepit old wall in Jerusalem or a piece of old marble in the Vatican, we would literally rip those pieces limb from limb for the act of blasphemy that we’re committing but we won’t do that because nature is an abstraction, wilderness is an abstraction. It has no value in our anthropocentric world where the only thing we value is that which is created by humans.
We can no longer just talk, we need to act. Thankfully we can join with people who are already working hard to save this area. Personally I'm partnering with The Nature Conservancy. A few years ago they worked to put 5 million acres of The Great Bear Rainforest off limits to logging and more than 19 million acres are under strict land management guidelines. You can partner with them here.
National Geographic did a great feature on this pipeline. The map from this article below shows the proposed tanker route. Amazingly, it goes right past Gribbell Island - the home of the Spirit Bear. No amount of oil or natural gas is worth this risk.