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Valerie Langer, ForestEthics, 604-307-6448
First Nations Receive Real Estate Foundation of BC Land Award for Great Bear Rainforest Agreements
Robert Kennedy Jr. and His Royal Highness Prince of Wales note the Agreements inspire hope for the planet
WASHINGTON - November 19 - First Nations governments whose territories cover the Great Bear Rainforest — the Coastal First Nations-Great Bear Initiative and the Nanwakolas Council — have received the prestigious Land Award from the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia. The Great Bear Rainforest First Nations have been leaders of a landmark initiative that has already seen two million hectares protected, initial changes made to logging practices to increase conservation and first steps in restoring community well-being. The initiative is in collaboration with the province, three environmental groups and five forestry businesses.
Robert Kennedy Jr. who was the keynote speaker at the awards gala said, "At a time when the world is focused on events that tear us apart, it is encouraging to see all those with an interest in the future of precious places such as B.C.'s beautiful coast come together and inspire millions of others that protecting ecological integrity is possible and beneficial not just for nature, but for people."
The Award recognizes "initiatives which demonstrate leadership, innovation, and collaboration related to the sustainable use and conservation of land in British Columbia," and highlights "dynamic, forward thinking people and organizations — leaders in creating sustainable communities and making B.C. a better place to live."
The First Nations were nominated by ForestEthics, Greenpeace and Sierra Club BC, the three environmental organizations that have worked for over a decade with First Nations, the provincial government and the logging industry to realize their joint vision for the Great Bear Rainforest. The goals of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements are to maintain and restore healthy ecosystems and healthy communities. Further far-reaching socio-economic initiatives and revisions of logging regulations for increased conservation will be implemented within the next four years.
The three environmental organizations are thrilled that First Nations have won this award. "It takes tremendous courage and foresight for First Nations to cut a new path with the provincial government and in collaboration with stakeholders from the logging industry and our organizations. Although we sometimes encounter bumps along the way, the vision keeps us all working together to realize the promise of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements. Working with these nations on a world leading model is a privilege," said the three groups.
The Land Award is not the only celebration of the Great Bear Rainforest this week. The story of the Agreements is also featured in the film "HARMONY: A New Way of Looking at our World," which chronicles three decades of work by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales to find and highlight innovative solutions to global environmental issues. The film debuts on NBC today at 10:00 p.m PST. Millions of viewers in the United States will be introduced to the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements as a model that provides hope for the planet