For immediate release
November 3, 2023
VICTORIA, B.C. – Today, the First Nations Leadership Council, federal government and the province announced $1 billion to protect and conserve biodiversity, habitats and species at risk in British Columbia. Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley has issued the following statement:
“Conservation financing is an essential step to making the necessary transformation of how land and resources are stewarded in B.C. Along with this important investment, the BC NDP needs to finally introduce legislation that will provide legal protections to species at risk and biodiversity in B.C. With more than 1800 species at risk of extinction in the province, we cannot afford any further delays.
“We applaud First Nations leadership on this historic agreement, on further protection for old-growth forests, and support for Indigenous-led conservation initiatives.
“For too long the province has had a fragmented and ineffective approach to protecting species at risk. We are in an emergency – the evidence of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are all around us – and this agreement is desperately needed to reverse this trend. The province says it recognizes the urgency of this moment yet for years they have talked and logged.
“The spotted owl is the symbol of B.C.’s failure to protect at-risk wildlife. We have been vocal critics of the NDP’s failure to protect species at risk. Hopefully this agreement with the federal government and First Nations Leadership Council of B.C. will finally result in long-term protection and restoration.
“We can have healthy ecosystems and rich biodiversity, and thriving communities and resilient local economies – it’s possible. The either/or thinking has led us to the position we’re in – biodiversity loss, scarred landscapes, climate breakdown and vulnerable rural economies.
“This agreement marks a step in a different direction. It’s a step away from our extractive economy and towards a restoration economy for the province.
“While the province has hummed and hawed in implementing the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review, irreplaceable ecosystems have been lost forever.
“Missing from the agreement are ecosystem-based targets for protected areas, something we have pushed the province for. Missing too is clarity on what activities will be permitted within protected areas.”
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | firstname.lastname@example.org