An International Volunteer Day message from Galen Armstrong, Lead Organizer
Picture yourself on a warm summer morning, sitting on soft moss, next to a cool stream, sun sifting through the 1000-year-old cedars above you. You’re in the heart of an ancient forest, having a “meeting,” discussing the most effective strategies to protect this precious ecosystem forever.
This was the scene for some of our volunteers this past July in Kaxi:ks, also known as Vancouver Island’s Walbran Valley.
As 2018 comes to a close, we’re taking stock of what we’re thankful for, what inspires us and gives us hope that perhaps our planet – humanity included – just might be okay. Moments of respite in the places we love – the Walbran Valley, the Peace River Valley and the Flathead Valley to name a few – are certainly something to be thankful for.
Also topping the gratitude list is Sierra Club BC’s force of volunteers. Our volunteers care about the planet, the regions, the ecosystems and the communities where they live, work and play. This care, love and concern is expressed through thousands of hours of effort and time spent in our office and at home computers, doing the nitty-gritty work required in this day and age to cut through the memes, the shows, and the ads.
Their care is also expressed in the streets, on campuses, and at the BC Legislature, where you might have seen our volunteers this year educating and activating our neighbours on the most important issues of our time, and pressuring our elected representatives to make the right choices to help us live within the limits of finite resources.
All year long, our volunteers in Vancouver, Victoria and across the province have been a presence at farmer’s markets, festivals, university campuses, and downtown cores. They’ve been talking with people about the urgent threat of logging in BC’s last remaining old-growth forest, particularly on Vancouver Island, where 10,000 hectares of ancient rainforest is being clearcut annually – the equivalent of nearly two soccer fields per hour.
Most recently, our volunteers have made more than 10,000 phone calls, reminding and encouraging our supporters to vote for proportional representation. We’re part of a larger Get Out The Vote effort, and we’re proud that our volunteers have stepped up in a big way, in the name of strengthening BC’s democracy. If it passes, and we hope it will, it will be a big win for the environment.
At Sierra Club BC, it can sometimes feel like we’re fighting on all fronts: old-growth forests being cut down; governments dragging their feet on climate policy and the transition to renewables; fracking, LNG, and Site C; pipelines threatening our coast and inland waterways. It’s a lot.
But the reliable presence of volunteers in our office and out in the world reminds us of two things:
- We’re not in this alone. There are a great many people who are just as concerned as we are, and who are willing to stand up and take action.
- We do the work we do out of love for this amazing world we live in – the trees, the water, the air, the soil, and the people.
We all need these reminders on a regular basis. To all our volunteers – thank you for your incredible contributions.
And to our donors – thank you. When you support Sierra Club BC with a financial contribution, you make this work possible. Volunteers give the gift of their time, but it costs money to provide them with training, clipboards, snacks, and support from staff like myself and this year’s superstar outreach coordinators Brynne Morrice, Rachel Ablack, Karli Mann and Marley Watt – whose work we are very grateful for too!
To those who haven’t joined us yet – or in a while – the door is open. Get in touch, and we’ll meet you in the office, in the streets, and in the forests.