Friday, February 23, 2024

Old-growth activists commend BC Premier Eby on lofty land conservation goal

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Old-growth activists in BC are looking forward to Premier David Eby’s lofty goals of eco-conservation within the province.

With Premier Eby’s new cabinet officially sworn-in, their intentions and goals have been receiving some attention from activists throughout BC.

Specifically, the Ancient Forest Alliance is commending the newly elected premier on his mandate letter to Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship in which he outlines the expectation for the creation of new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and committing to the protection of 30% of lands the in BC by 2030.

Protection of 30% of BC’s land would double the total current protected land. 

“The commitment to double legislated protected areas in BC has the potential to be a major step towards protecting endangered old-growth forests, ecosystems, and species across British Columbia,” said Ancient Forest Alliance Campaigner & Photographer, TJ Watt.

“The new premier should be commended for this. To ensure these promises can be made a reality, it’s imperative that major conservation funding is secured through the much anticipated BC-Canada Nature Agreement.” 

“We have the framework, now we just need the funding to implement it.”

In addition to committing to this goal of protecting 30% of BC lands, the province has also acknowledged the need for conservation financing in order to protect areas with the most ecological diversity. 

To achieve this, Minister Cullen says he will work with Indigenous communities as well as the government to establish stewardship programs and prioritize economic development for the conservation of old-growth. 

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“For years we have been pushing for the province to commit to conservation financing that links protecting endangered old-growth forests through Indigenous Protected Areas with First Nations’ sustainable economic development,” said Watt. 

“Creating conservation economies that allow new, sustainable jobs and businesses to flourish while preserving imperiled ecosystems is a win-win for humans and nature. None of this happens for free, though.”

Now, the Ancient Forest Alliance is calling on the Province to fund the protection of these areas through federal funding that is to come with the passing of the BC-Canada Nature Agreement. 

When it comes to funding the protection of old-growth forests in BC there are plenty of funds available. 

The federal government has committed $3.3 billion over five years to protected areas, both on land and underwater. They also have provided several billion more, dedicated to “natural climate solutions.”

BC’s piece of that pie is estimated by Ancient Forest Alliance to be between $200 to $400+ million.

“These latest commitments from Premier Eby appear to signal that the province is willing to move in the right direction,” said Watt. 

“Ancient temperate forests in BC, and the communities and cultures that evolved amongst them for millennia, are counting on Eby to do the right thing.”

mm
Curtis Blandy
curtis@victoriabuzz.com

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