The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release


Premier Clark: Protect the Great Bear Rainforest, Urge Forest Conservation Groups from Three Continents


Environmental organizations working to protect tropical rainforests around the equator have asked the British Columbia government to take the necessary steps to protect the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, as announced on March 31, 2009.

The idea for the letter came from Cesar Moran-Cahusac, former Executive Director of the Amazon Conservation Association, who visited British Columbia last year to track progress on efforts to protect the Great Bear Rainforest.

"The United Nations has declared 2011 to be the International Year of Forests. Globally, efforts to protect the world's forests for climate and species are focusing on tropical rainforests, but northern regions like Britis Columbia have to demonstrate leadership just as urgently to protect their forests," said Teguh Surya, National Campaigns Coordinator of WALHI, Friends of the Earth Indonesia.

"The Great Bear Rainforest is Canada's Amazon and one the best carbon vaults of the planet. People around the world care about the fate of the rare white spirit bear as much as they care about Orangutans and panthers" said Cesar Moran-Cahusac from the Amazon Conservation Association.

"The world is looking for solutions of the kind that are being developed in the Great Bear Rainforest - addressing conservation, Aboriginal land rights and economic activities that respect the limits of nature," said Henry Cirhuza, Congolese Programme Manager for The Gorilla Organization, DRC.

The letter comes on the second anniversary of the signing of the landmark Great Bear Rainforest Agreements, and serves as a reminder to the new premier that there is still much work left to be done.

"It is remarkable that environmental organizations in southern countries are urging an industrialized country to step up to the plate and do the right thing in our own backyard. It shows that the whole world is watching developments in the Great Bear Rainforest." said Sierra Club B.C.'s coastal forests campaigner Jens Wieting on behalf of the Rainforest Solutions Project. "But we need success today rather than tomorrow, in order to address global threats like species extinction and the climate crisis."

The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest remaining intact coastal temperate rainforest in the world and home to the rare white Spirit Bear, Grizzly Bears and rich runs of salmon. The agreements, announced March 31 2009 by
the B.C. government, First Nations, environmental groups and logging companies, included a five-year plan to ensure ecological integrity by implementing further conservation steps and improving human well being in coastal communities. The companies that support the model are Western Forest Products, BC Timber Sales, Interfor, Catalyst Paper and Howe Sound Pulp and Paper.

The three organizations that sent a letter to Premier Christy Clark are the Amazon Conservation Association, Peru, Walhi (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) and the Gorilla Organization from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Founded in 2000, ForestEthics is a nonprofit environmental organization with staff in Canada, the United States and Chile. Our mission is to protect Endangered Forests and wild places, wildlife, and human wellbeing--one of our focus areas is climate change, which compromises all of our efforts if left unchecked. We catalyze environmental leadership among industry, governments and communities by running hard-hitting and highly effective campaigns that leverage public dialogue and pressure to achieve our goals.