Celebrating everything you helped make possible this year!
2021 was a year like no other. While the past months have been filled with many highs and lows, today we want to celebrate everything we did together this year and take a minute to look forward to all the things that give us hope for 2022.
With your support, 2021 saw some amazing changes…
Protecting old-growth forests
Protecting old-growth forests has been one of the top media and political conversations all year long, with land defenders across the coast and Interior keeping political pressure high.
We continued to monitor and hold the province accountable. This year, the B.C. government appointed a 5-person technical panel to help implement the 14 recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review, including the 3 scientists we worked closely with to map the remaining old-growth inventory.
For the first time ever, the provincial government has admitted how little old-growth is left, proposing 2.6 million hectares for deferral. We can’t stress enough how big of a deal this is. With the new mapping released, we no longer have to argue with industry or the provincial government about how much is left.
We also produced a brand new action taker’s guide, Being a Voice for the Forest. This resource provides a rich menu of ways you can help protect forests in your community. We invite you to explore this guide here.
We published our Intact Forests, Safe Communities report which highlighted the importance of protecting old-growth forests in keeping communities safe from climate risks like floods, landslides and wildfires. The report gained widespread recognition and generated hundreds of media hits including excellent video coverage on CTV, CBC, Global and The Weather Network, We also distributed copies of it to every elected mayor, councillor, and regional district director in the province.
Dr. Suzanne Simard’s work detailing the way that Mother Trees communicate with each other has helped change the public’s perception about forests. Many people no longer view forests as just trees, but as complex societies that share and collaborate across species and within families. We hosted webinars with Suzanne exploring the stories of Mother Trees and their deep interconnections with the forest community which you can watch here.
We helped a group of biologists and birders conduct endangered marbled murrelet monitoring in Ada’itsx (Fairy Creek). Through this work, these endangered birds were documented exhibiting nesting behaviour in the proposed cutblocks and surrounding area.
Forest campaigners Mark Worthing and Tlalita’las Glendale helped get approved cutblocks removed by identifying bear dens, karst limestone features and culturally modified trees, which are all protected.
Sierra Club BC launched the Tree of Life project with artists like Ma’amtagila Hereditary Chief Rande Cook and scientists like Suzanne Simard which brings together a multi-disciplinary way of collaborating to protect ancient forests.
The Sierra Club BC team, Nuchatlaht community members and partners conducting field assessments on Nuchatlaht territory. We are grateful to work with the Nuchatlaht Nation to document the state of old-growth forests in their territory. This includes the blending of both cultural and ecological viewpoints, such as the importance of protecting everything from cedar harvesting sites to bear den sites. Photo by Troy Moth.
Sierra Club BC forest relations coordinator Tła̱lita̱’las~Karissa Glendale and forest ecologist Suzanne Simard connecting with the old-growth ecosystem. This was part of the interdisciplinary “Tree of Life” project that was launched on Ma’amtagila territory in 2021. Photos by Mark Worthing.
Educating learners of all ages about our interconnections with the lands and waters
Our education program increased outdoor school program delivery into underserved remote communities across the province. As part of this transformation, we hired our first North Island Educator, Makwala~Dakota Smith, and we re-vamped our place-based education program which now extends from kindergarten through high school. You can learn more about our education program here.
We expanded our learning resources to better centre Indigenous ways of knowing. Some of this work includes a video conversation with MENEȽOT which is an opportunity to learn through the deeply felt words of a W̱SÁNEĆ steward, researcher, teacher and grandmother. A Pathway Together was also released this year, which is a tool for environmental NGO’s like us to support the decolonization process.
We reached over 15,000 students, teachers and supporters with webinars including featured guests like Suzanne Simard, Alexandra Morton, Joel Bakan, Kshama Sawant, Dr. Peter Wood, Darcy Lindberg, Valine Brown and Dr. Julius Csotonyi. You can explore our library of webinars here.
Students learning about old-growth at a workshop in their local forest. Our hands-on education programs offer experiential learning opportunities that centre diverse ecological and traditional knowledges and invite learners of all ages into a relationship with beings in their community. Photo by Mya Van Woudenberg/Sierra Club BC.
Our education team has encouraged learners of all ages to better connect with the beings just outside their front door through art. Featured here is artwork from one of our supporters that they created during our “Learn to Draw” webinar with artist Dr. Julius Csotonyi.
Taking climate action
Indigenous land defenders were the shining stars of the global climate talks (COP26) in Glasgow. One of the important climate justice stories brought to the world stage was shared by our friends from the Nuchatlaht Nation on Nootka Island who are working to regain title to their territory and establish a salmon park – a protected area specifically designed to enhance salmon habitat.
At COP26, Sierra Club BC campaigners Anjali Appadurai, Flossie Baker, Tła̱lita̱’las~Karissa Glendale and Mark Worthing also provided great updates and analysis during the event, which you can find here.
Sierra Club BC collaborated with artists, poets, musicians and activists to promote a Green and Just Recovery and stand up for ancient forests with webinars, music festivals, art lessons and panel discussions. We also created an email listserv and Facebook group just for artists to help boost our messages in creative ways that reach new audiences, and empower creatives to help us all to imagine a better future.
The B.C. government publicly committed to reviewing fossil fuel subsidies after our friends at STAND.earth exposed that subsidies have increased to $1.3 billion annually since the NDP came into power. We continue to advocate to keep fossil fuels in the ground and to use public funds to support healthy, resilient communities instead.
We launched a new letter-writing tool to keep the pressure on to phase out fossil fuels and end subsidies.
The Sierra Club BC crew along with Nuchatlaht Ha’with Jordan Michael and Kukpi7 Judy Wilson of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs led a panel talk at the COP26 People’s Summit which shone an international spotlight on old-growth in B.C. and highlighted the importance of Indigenous-led solutions. Photo by Ana Pessoa.
Art has the power to drive change. As calls rang out around the world for meaningful climate action, artists were encouraged to use their creative gifts to help envision what a healthy, life-sustaining future could look like. Artwork by Mya Van Woudenberg.
Building relationships across diverse communities
We activated Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish and other spiritual communities to speak up about protecting ancient forests and talk about different spiritual traditions’ connections and responsibilities to forests.
We supported Greater Victoria Acting Together–a broad-based organizing coalition of labour unions, faith and spiritual groups, and frontline service organizations with 70,000 members–to publicly oppose old-growth logging.
We launched our new engagement portal Invite To Action which encourages folks to use their own personal gifts and talents to speak out in ways that are meaningful for them. Specifically, we want to invite those who may not have seen themselves reflected in the movement before to see how their unique talents can help create a better world for all. This includes artists (from dancers to photographers to painters), benefactors (those wishing to donate or offer in-kind gifts), ambassadors (those looking to help friends, family and coworkers imagine new possibilities for climate action), nurturers (those mentoring or supporting a young person right now) and innovators (those who have an idea or passion that isn’t otherwise represented). By signing up for a stream, our team shares personalized action prompts, event invitations and educational resources to help drive change in communities. We invite you to join this network of action takers here.
Community members connect with one another at an inter-faith gathering around old-growth forests. Photo by Mya Van Woudenberg.
Thank you so much for all your support this year. We can’t do it without the 30,000+ supporters, the 2500+ members, the hundreds of volunteers, and of course our amazing staff and Board of Directors.Everyone is needed, we are all in this together. If you’d like to support the Sierra Club BC community in building a healthy future for all beings, please consider donating.
We can’t wait to continue on this journey with you in 2022.
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