The Root Word: ForestEthics Blog

Sacred Headwaters Campaign Named Tides Top Ten

Mar 7, 2013

Creative, collaborative, compassionate, and community-supported is how we define our work on the Sacred Headwaters campaign at ForestEthics. It is a great honor for our organizations to be named along with nine other incredible projects this year as Tides’ top innovators for our work in northwestern British Columbia’s Sacred Headwaters.

Tides Top 10 recognizes initiatives that provide innovative approaches to solving complex issues and that foster collaboration between folks that don’t normally work together.

It is a privilege for us to share the stage with all the players who acted to prevent a delicate alpine basin from being transformed into a sprawling gas field: the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, the Tahltan First Nation, the government of British Columbia, and Shell.

The Tahltan were the first to draw the line in the sand, and courageously stand up against a project that would see the heart of their traditional territory forever transformed into an industrial maze of gas wells and roads.

Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition was instrumental in igniting communities along the Skeena; communities united in opposition to a project that would jeopardize critical salmon habitat.

ForestEthics played an essential role in bringing the stories of struggle from this little-known corner of British Columbia to the world, and to the boardrooms of government and Shell. Decision makers were driven to sit down with each other to resolve the conflict.

The government of British Columbia and Shell heeded the diverse voices of opposition. Our campaign’s message – at times hard-hitting, but always well intentioned and in good humour – was taken to heart, and resulted in the government and Shell coming to a creative solution.

The government’s announcement last December protects the origins of culture and tradition for the Tahltan and other northwest First Nations; the headwaters of three wild salmon-bearing rivers and the salmon upon which the Tahltan and downstream communities depend; habitat for countless key species, like grizzlies and caribou; sustainable economies; and a pristine wilderness in British Columbia for all Canadians. 

Eight years ago, the story of the Sacred Headwaters started with a revolution – one where unlikely allies of First Nations, loggers, ranchers, and environmentalists came together with the common goal of stopping Shell from fracking up 400,000 hectares, or a million acres, or pristine wilderness.

The story of revolution didn’t end this past December, it only just begun.  Let the decision to forgo development in the Sacred Headwaters be a reminder of how we can work to protect environmental values in British Columbia and elsewhere. Our story should remind communities, government and corporations that sustaining and enhancing a healthy planet and social well-being are the foundation for determining whether development should proceed, and not the basis for decade-long battles.

Check out ForestEthics’ timeline of the Sacred Headwaters campaign:

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