ThoughtExchange Report: Your thoughts on how we can best prepare for the future
Last month we ran a ThoughtExchange to get your feedback on “What are the most important challenges and opportunities we need to think about as we respond to COVID-19 and prepare for the future?”
Some of you loved using the ThoughtExchange software – a lot of you didn’t. We admit, we could have done a better job explaining how to use it! Nevertheless, we received a lot of good feedback. Here’s what we learned by the numbers:
Here’s a word cloud of the ideas you shared:
And here are some of the top thoughts that you shared, along with our responses.
Stop old-growth logging. This is a huge resource for tourism and the planet.
Our response: We agree. The big, old trees that are still standing in Indigenous territories across the province are world-renowned tourism destinations — in addition to being a massive carbon sink. And those are only two of so many reasons why protecting these endangered, globally rare old-growth ecosystems is so important. Find out more in our blog “10 reasons to save old-growth.”
Please tell your elected representative why you care about old-growth forests. Send a letter or call in today.
First Nations legislation is important. Indigenous Peoples share their land with us. The least we can do is honour that. We can learn how to respect and renew our relationship with the lands.
In our new Strategic Plan we have committed to adapting our work in order to recognize Indigenous jurisdiction. We are committed to learning from the governance systems of the Indigenous Nations on whose territories we live and work. You can read more about our approach here.
We need to see this as an opportunity to make a paradigm shift, from self-absorbed consumers to responsible citizens in an interconnected world. Reducing our consumption means less burden on an overburdened planet, allowing it to heal.
The economic model of infinite growth is definitely not sustainable. We put together a plan several years ago that dives into the kinds of changes we need to see in BC to stabilize the climate, protect intact natural ecosystems, and transition to what we call “Post-Carbon prosperity.” Read those ideas here.
Biodiversity loss. This is a measure of the stability of the support structures of our planet home.
We agree. One of our strategic plan goals is to protect ecosystems and nurture their abundance to ensure a viable future for all. A report from the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre recommends a minimum of 30% of old-growth protection across BC. But in terms of the big valley-bottom old-growth we are well below that threshold.
Photo by Andrew S. Wright
Save old-growth forests and plant more trees. Support Indigenous struggles.
Focus on protecting remaining healthy functional ecosystems. They are our life support systems, they protect against the loss of biodiversity, they are the baselines of the natural world.
We agree. Many of our education resources focus on the health of ecosystems, including forests, rivers and oceans. Access them here.
Our K-8 school programs focus on lifecycles, ecosystems and interconnections between humans and all other species. Learn more here.
Climate Change! This pandemic has shown us we can change very quickly. Also the fact that it is worldwide means that we all have similar needs and the chance to work together for solutions is possible as never before.
Our response: We have never seen change happen at the political and social level at such a rapid pace as during this pandemic. This is the sort of collective action so urgently needed to address the climate crisis. The Just Recovery principles have been signed on by an enormous cross-section of civil society, faith groups, labour unions, charities, and businesses. The will to change things is building, but it will require sustained pressure. If you haven’t sent your letter yet, do so now.
Our school-based Climate and Place program for Grade 6-8 students focuses on local realities and solutions in BC and Canada. It helps students see that change is possible and that they, their families, schools and communities can be a part of making lasting change.
I believe we must restructure our Forestry sector and do more with less. This would mean no raw log exports, investment in sawmills, kilns manufacturing plants, etc. No old-growth logging, logging in watersheds, and stricter river and stream protections.
Yes. To protect old-growth and support our communities we need to transform the forest industry to manage forests for values beyond short-term profits. We encourage you to send a personal message to Forests Minister Doug Donaldson specifically about all these ideas. You can do it easily online with our tool, or ask for a meeting with your local MLA and bring up these issues. You can send a letter or have a phone call with one of their staffers if that’s more comfortable for you.
Photo by Andrew S. Wright
Ensure that any bailout and aid involves climate change. It has to be ensured that we support nature and fight climate change with any bailout. More bike lanes, less cars in cities, more money for parks etc.
In addition to what you mentioned, we also want to see more green spaces and covered outdoor learning spaces at all schools, plus more funding for staff training and the hiring of permanent staff who are experts in environmental education. Connecting with nature from a young age will help to ensure physical and mental health in children and youth, as well as foster a love for the beautiful world that surrounds us. A love for nature goes hand in hand with being curious about climate change and wanting to take action to help slow it. Help (re)connect youth with nature by calling on the BC government to make outdoor learning accessible in schools across BC. Send a letter today.
We need to protect our waterways from pollutants and make the polluters responsible for any contamination and the resultant clean up. Our future depends on it.
Water is life! And intact forests are one of our best defenses in securing clean water. That’s why it is our flagship campaign.
In addition, several of our education resources focus on river and ocean ecosystems. Access them here in our online classroom.
We also have marine-focused school programs for schools within walking distance to beaches. Learn more here.
Photo by Mya Van Woudenberg/Sierra Club BC
Clearly link protecting nature with protecting human health. It’s a challenge (because this connection isn’t evident to many people) but also a huge opportunity.
The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the ways that human health is jeopardized by the destruction of ecosystems. It is an opportunity to shift understanding of human health towards an understanding that our health and wellbeing depend on the health of ecosystems, at home and around the world. Supporting people to understand their interconnections with the natural world is one of our goals as an organization. In order to build back better after the pandemic, it is crucial that governments recognize that our health depends on the wellbeing of ecological systems. If you haven’t already sent your message to Premier Horgan about this, please do so here.