"Finding Unity in the Great Bear Rainforest"

"How corporations, conservationists, and First Nations came together to share the rainforest."

"Linda Coady was front and center as long-time antagonists tried to reach a deal to preserve a stunning swath of nature along the central coast of British Columbia called the Great Bear Rainforest. Asked whether it ever felt like the whole effort would collapse, Coady laughs, then says that in the early negotiations between logging companies and environmentalists, “there was never any shortage of drama.”

At stake was a large, mostly intact forest bordering the Pacific Ocean. Where the companies eyed timber, profits, and jobs, the environmentalists saw a precious, threatened ecosystem in need of protection. The two sides started in stark opposition, but together would make a path to common ground—one that would recognize and involve the stewardship of Indigenous peoples who had lived in the region for thousands of years.

There are stories of all-night sessions, angry flare-ups, negotiators storming out of meetings and quitting the process for a time. One source close to the action remembers that the talks felt doomed every 15 minutes. But many times people pressed forward, came back together, built trust, and worked out differences."

Andrew MacLeod reports for The Tyee/Hakai October 20, 2020.

Source: The Tyee, 10/22/2020