Looking back on 2022
Celebrating everything you helped make possible this year!
2022 was another year of transformative growth for Sierra Club. As we come together to protect the lands and waters, we continue our journey to see differently and invite others to join us.
While there are still many challenges ahead, today we want to celebrate all the milestones we reached this year and look back at all the amazing things you helped us accomplish.
Strengthening the laws
Good news on B.C.’s 30×30 commitment
- Sierra Club BC welcomed the B.C. government’s commitment to protect 30 percent of the province’s land by 2030. This includes a mandate to work with Indigenous communities to create Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas, which supports the paradigm shift from an extractive relationship to the land to one of co-existence and mutual benefit. Read our media release.
- The commitment was made in Premier David Eby’s mandate letter to Nathan Cullen, B.C.’s new Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. The mandate letter also calls for the development of a “new conservation financing mechanism to support protection of biodiverse areas.” This is critical to achieving lasting protection.
- We look forward to a strong framework with milestones and timelines on the path to 2030 to ensure that next steps are co-developed with Indigenous Nations, and that funding is tied to conservation goals so targets can be met without delay.
- We continue to hold the B.C. government accountable on their promises to implement the 14 recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review. Our Invite to Action members kept the pressure on through letter-writing campaigns, rallies and meetings with their own MLAs.
- We consistently reported on government actions and policy updates and made these technical pieces accessible to the public. Our old-growth report cards were used by concerned community members speaking to their MLAs. Read our most recent report card media release: Three-quarters of at-risk old-growth forests in BC still without logging deferrals.
- SCBC and our partners met monthly with provincial staff working on the Old Growth Strategic Review recommendations.
- The province took steps in the right direction in February with the 2022 budget announcement, providing more funding for logging deferrals while we await adequate funding for long-term protection.
- We welcomed the creation of a new Ministry for Lands, Waters and Resource Stewardship, but cabinet shuffles have slowed implementation and we’ve seen little advancement of the promised paradigm-shift in the ministry of forests.
- Newly appointed Premier Eby stated he wants to accelerate work on old growth recommendations.
- We conducted more field assessments of old-growth conditions in the province. We documented the impacts of industrial logging on old-growth forests: watershed degradation, destroyed streams and rivers, and impacts on the archaeological and cultural values of forests.
- This year we organized two major trips to North Vancouver Island and the Interior.
- We also conducted 12 field assessments in at-risk old-growth watersheds.
- Sierra Club BC staff and grassroots partners met with leadership from Quatsino, Ma’amtagila, Kwagiulth, Pacheedaht, and Nuchatlaht this year. Our collaboration supported Indigenous leaders in navigating provincial government relations to assert their communities’ rights, jurisdiction and conservation goals for old-growth ecosystem protection.
SCBC’s Jens Wieting, Florence Baker, and Mya Van Woudenberg visited parts of the Interior in June, where they met with community members who shared why it is important for them that we continue to work ensuring the B.C. government keeps its promise to work with Indigenous Nations in implementing the promised paradigm shift in forest stewardship. Photo by Mya Van Woudenberg/Sierra Club BC.
To learn more about the forests there, the SCBC team met with Indigenous elder Bert William of the St’uxwtews (Bonaparte) First Nation, private landowners, foresters and UBC scientists. Photo by Mya Van Woudenberg/Sierra Club BC.
Supporting the Nuchatlaht title case
- The Nuchatlaht Nation took the B.C. government to court to reclaim their territory in the eyes of the colonial court system.
- Friends of Nuchatlaht supported the Nation on their request with media support, digital amplification, organizing sign painting night, town hall and solidarity rally. This resulted in the case getting widespread media attention. The court’s decision is still pending.
Bear den protection
- We released a bear den report with the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre and bear biologist Helen Davis. The report showed that bear dens in B.C. need urgent protection. Read our media release.
- One of the report’s main findings was that black bears on Vancouver Island rely on dens associated with large-diameter trees most commonly found in old-growth forests, and that a century of logging has decimated suitable denning trees.
- The report generated a public outcry and thousands of letters sent through our letter-writing tool. MLAs took notice and in October a bear den bill was tabled in the B.C. Legislature.
- Helen Davis presented a bear den talk for a local group in Qathet/Powell River, and published a scientific paper on how protecting old-growth is the best way to ensure healthy coastal bear populations.
- This coming year we will keep an eye out for a re-tabling of the bear den bill or for its inclusion in the Wildlife Act, which is under review for amendments.
Good news: The Skagit Donut Hole was protected (learn more in our Spring Sierra Report)
- We called for a provincial biodiversity law to be co-developed with Indigenous Nations after releasing a Species-At-Risk Report with Wilderness Committee that highlighted huge legal gaps driving species extinction in B.C.
- The report received social media and traditional media pickup (including The Narwhal, National Observer, Vancouver Sun, and more). Read our media release.
- We shared the report with key government officials and invited them to meet with us to work on solutions together.
- Why Are The Relatives Leaving?
- This year we began learning from Indigenous partners about a different way of seeing species at risk. We asked ourselves: Why are the Relatives Leaving? As we view the biodiversity crisis in B.C. through an Indigenous lens. We will continue to explore and share about our reciprocal relationships with the non-human relatives.
- COP15 – UN biodiversity conference in Montreal
- International negotiations for COP15 created a deal ratified by roughly 190 countries committing to protect 30 percent of the planet by 2030 and prevent further loss of biodiversity.
- The 30×30 goal is central to Sierra Club BC’s 2020 strategic plan. We thank you for stepping up and supporting this goal at the global scale!
- During the first week of COP15, Premier David Eby issued mandates for his new cabinet, including a clear mandate for the Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship to protect 30 percent of B.C. by 2030.
- We took the federal government to court over migratory bird nesting violations
- This includes the threatened marbled murrelet, a seabird that relies on coastal old-growth forest for nesting in British Columbia.
- The lawsuit was filed by Ecojustice in Federal Court on behalf of Sierra Club BC and Wilderness Committee. Learn more here.
Climate accountability legislation
- With the help of Ecojustice, we took the B.C. government to court for failing to present plans to achieve several key climate targets, as required by its own climate change legislation. Read our media release.
- We had our first day in court in October, where we hosted a solidarity rally outside the courthouse in Vancouver. Read more about it here.
- Thousands of people wrote to their local representative in support using our letter-writing tool.
- We expect a decision from the courts in 2023.
Because of public support and meetings with government officials, SCBC helped make the tabling of the bear den protection bill possible. Currently, it’s still legal to log bear dens in most of B.C. Photo by Mya Van Woudenberg/SCBC.
Learning to See Differently
- We engaged over 400 learning communities (both in-person and online) and connected with over 8,000 learners!
- Sierra Club BC’s education team provided professional development workshops for teachers and learning opportunities for children and youth across the province. Our place-based approach invites learners into a relationship with all beings. We worked with learning communities in Metro Vancouver, Mid-Northern Vancouver Island regions, the Capital Regional District, and in the Qathet Regional District.
- We continued our popular Learn to Draw series with Illustrator Julius Csotonyiwith lessons on Octopus, Frogs, Ghost Pipes and Tube Worms, Greenland Sharks, Hummingbirds, Wolves, and Black Bears. Watch all our Learn to Draw webinars here.
One of the walks in our first Stewardship School series with ‘Place–Based Field School’ students at Emily Carr School of Art and Design in Spring 2022. Photo by @alisonboulier.
Our education team has encouraged learners of all ages to better connect with the beings we share this province with. Featured here is artwork from one of the participants of our “Learn to Draw Coastal Wolves” webinar with artist Dr. Julius Csotonyi.
Invite to Action
- We launched our Invite to Action program and platform to bring together concerned folks who want to create the societal conditions needed for change to take root. ITA facilitates individuals and communities to step in and contribute to the paradigm shift in meaningful ways. We invite you to join this network of action-takers here.
- Through online and in-person events and gatherings, we supported a community of over 300 artists sharing and connecting on the Sierra Club BC Artists Facebook page.
- We provided ongoing mentorship of the Nanaimo Youth Climate Action Hub
- We connected Nurturers with resources from our Education team and looped them together with people from their town or city to build more connected and resilient networks.
- We engaged with members via emails containing monthly prompts tailored to each group and invited them to step into a deeper relationship with the natural world.
Forest walks: An invitation to see differently
- The Forest School walks are participatory co-learning educational experiences that centre Indigenous knowledge and re-story how we need to come together as a society to face this moment of climate and ecological crisis. These walks draw on Coast Salish teachings and are guided by skilled Indigenous and intercultural educators.
- We piloted our first Forest School walk series with ‘Place-Based Field School’ students at Emily Carr University of Art and Design between January and April. Over 85 people joined the walk series by the end of 2022.
- We were honored to receive a $200K contribution from St. Andrews Wesley United Church to expand the forest walk series through new programs tailored to Indigenous youth, faith leaders, and youth climate activists.
Re-storying our Relationship
- We hosted an arts-based workshop to re-story our connections to nature. This week-long workshop was facilitated by Andrea Vela Alarcón.
- Participants engaged with the practice of “re-storying” through writing and illustration exercises. In each session, participants re-imagined narratives that encourage reciprocal relationships with the natural world and those who inhabit it. At the end of the workshop, participants’ creative work was showcased in a collective online publication.
- In February we teamed up with the Climate Emergency Unit and For the Love of Creation to co-host an event for thirty faith and spiritual leaders across the country. We called it ‘The Stories that Move Action.’
- We co-hosted an Indigenous law and mindfulness retreat in collaboration with the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council and Victoria MultiFaith Society. The event brought together more than 100 participants, Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders, academics, students and others at the Sorrento Centre.
SCBC’s Jens Wieting speaking at a rally outside the Supreme Court of British Columbia on our first day in court for our climate case. Photo by SCBC.
Intergenerational Indigenous knowledge transfer
Supporting Indigenous-Led Conservation
- Sierra Club invited Indigenous communities to collaborate on developing supports for creating Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) based on both Indigenous law and Canadian law. We anticipate collaborating to help overcome barriers and facilitate access to resources for conservation and stewardship initiatives, such as Guardian and monitoring programs, land-use planning, and alternate revenue streams.
Indigenous and International Youth Program
- During the summer, x̱a’nalas – Dakota Smith, from the SCBC Education team, facilitated a multi-day land–based learning experience for youth from the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw Nation and a visiting group of international students.
- We are building an Indigenous-only program at the Forest School to facilitate Intergenerational Indigenous knowledge transfer led by Indigenous knowledge-holders.
Thank you so much for all your support this year. We can’t do it without the 35,000+ supporters, the 2100+ active 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 2023.
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