In June 2015, David Suzuki and Foundation staff held public events in 12 communities along British Columbia's coast to celebrate, motivate and connect around our shared respect and admiration for the oceans.
From Nanaimo to Masset, Foundation staff were greeted with enthusiasm and thoughtful commentary from more than 3,000 people who shared their concerns and hopes for the oceans. Each event started with a welcome from the local First Nation, and many featured ocean-inspired artwork from students and professional artists. We then screened a 30-minute film by Ian Mauro on climate change in Western Canada.
During intermission we asked people to help us better understand the issues facing coastal communities — and did they ever respond! We were amazed and inspired by the 700 written submissions, hours of video and audio recordings and comments on whiteboards in the lobby. After David Suzuki gave an inspirational talk, we had a facilitated discussion on themes that emerged from the comments we received.
In every community, people expressed their deep connection to the natural world, along with their observations about long-term shifts in ecosystem health and abundance.
Perhaps even more powerful was the consistent call for the need to work together to ensure future generations have the same ability to experience and enjoy the natural world as we do today.
We will be busy over the next several months summarizing what we heard for the provincial and federal governments, and for the United Nations' periodic review of Canada's Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. We will also report back to the communities we visited so they can hear from each other and share solutions to the common challenges we face.