It can be difficult, at times, to step back from the overwhelming scale of issues such as climate change and other environmental challenges and look for the successes.
I started this post thinking I would put together a list of conservation “wins” from the past few months. My big challenge, I naively thought, would be in screening the stories to develop a well-rounded list, mixing small-scale projects with large scale stories; policy decisions with conservation and education. Instead, I quickly discovered something that we have all suspected for some time. The environmental movement, while excellent at describing problems and sounding warnings, is terrible at celebrating successes.
After 45 minutes of online research, I was able to identify three stories from the past three months that could be considered successes by providing specific examples of improved conservation for our province:
With registration just completed for its second year, demand has exceeded capacity for this unique program where kids spend half their school day outside.
After significant First Nations, community and conservation pressure, Shell Canada agreed to give up its plans to develop coalbed methane in the Sacred Headwaters area of Northern BC.
In February, BC passed legislation to add more than 276,000 hectares to BC’s provincial parks system, making our parks system the third largest in North America.
Each of these stories deserve to be celebrated and talked about across BC, as do dozens, if not hundreds, of other invisible stories.
So why do we not discuss our successes as loudly and as thoroughly as we do our challenges? Is it because the environmental problems we face are so large that they drown out all other discussion? Or, are we so exhausted, that by the time we achieve a win, we no longer have the energy?
Perhaps most importantly, what is the impact of highlighting the negative side of the battle to protect and preserve our planet without talking about the positive? How does looking through this window affect our ability to influence our friends, our funders and our communities? Environmental charities receive a minute portion of the charitable donations contributed by Canadians, perhaps that amount could increase if we gave people more to celebrate.