This week’s TruBeach Spotlight Profile is on The Wilderness Committee. Formed in 1980, the society's objectives are to conduct research and education about the need to conserve Canada's wild places and species for the benefit of present and future generations. Charlotte Dawe was kind enough to take the time to answer some of our questions.
Can you tell us a bit about the Wilderness Committee?
We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring wilderness and wildlife thrive for the benefit of all, we work to protect live-giving biological diversity through strategic research and grassroots public education.
You have a ton of great initiatives on the go. The southern resident orcas and the wild pacific salmon population really caught my attention. Can you give us a little info on them?
We work to protect the southern resident killer whales by advocating for a safe habitat. As many know, there are numerous threats which are creating an unsafe habitat in the Salish Sea.
We advocate for a safer marine habitat by:
1. Reducing the number vessels (and noise) through critical habitat: we are opposed to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion which will cause significant adverse impacts to the orcas due to the increasing number of ships and chance of a devastating bitumen spill. We also opposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project which will double the capacity for container shipping, further increase the vessel size and/or number of ships (and noise) through critical habitat.
2. Recovering Chinook salmon populations for food: we advocate that the federal government do more to increase and restore salmon populations. This is done by restoring past salmon bearing streams, ensuring salmon have a safe habitat and that the salmon have a sufficient food source (herring). We must focus on long term solutions rather than band-aid solutions (like hatcheries).
3. Cleaning up the marine environment - High levels of pollutants and toxic chemicals can make whales vulnerable to disease and can cause reproductive difficulties. Mircoplastics have also been identified as a emerging concern for the species. We need to identify how these chemicals are entering the ocean and then either ban them all together or find a way to ensure they remain outside of the marine environment.
How have you guys tackled the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans, and what advice do you have for people who want to make a difference but may not know where to start?
The issue of plastics in our environment ties strongly to the work on species at risk. The growing plastic problem causes implications for all species, including us. We're advocating for a ban on single use plastics in BC and Canada. If you want to take action against plastics use your voice to advocate for and vote for those with strong policies on plastic pollution. Right now, the BC government is seeking public feedback on a plastics ban. Use your voice now and fill it out: https://feedback.engage.gov.bc.ca/129976
Individual action is also important to show there indeed is a way to live mostly plastic-free life. Find a local store offers plastic-free produce, shop at bulk food stores and fill your jars, buy thrift clothes, prepare in the morning by packing a res-usable bag and water bottle. There are many ways to live a (mostly) plastic free lifestyle, which is really exciting!
How important are partnerships with other organizations to achieve goals for the planet?
Relationships with other organizations are very important and as we face more environmental challenges than ever, collaborating together and using our united voice is going to be more and more important.
How can someone get involved with the Wilderness Committee?
There are so many opportunities to get involved with the Wilderness Committee. We've got opportunities for paid canvassing, volunteering at local events, or field trips to help protect old growth rain-forests. Visit https://www.wildernesscommittee.org/take-action for more information.