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News, views and analysis from our team as we work to create solutions to conservation challenges facing our planet.


Lessons from horror movies

You know the scene. It’s a horror movie standby: the hero, having apparently won the day, breathes a sigh of relief and turns to go – only to have a fresh terror burst in, to much screaming and spilled popcorn.  This is the moment when we learn that the task is not only to battle individual monsters as they arise but, ultimately, to face down their source.

As Hallowe’en approaches, horror movies, ghosts, and zombies are the order of the day. That may be why this particular scene has been coming to my mind when people ask whether I agree with media commentators (including, most recently, Jeffrey Simpson) who conclude that the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline project is “dead.”

It looks peaceful, but this is no time to relax. (C) Tim Irvin, WWF-Canada

These commentators are tracking the strong, united, and growing opposition to a proposal to send hundreds of oil tankers each year through one of the richest cold-water marine ecosystems left on Earth, the Great Bear Sea. Simpson notes that “the more British Columbians know about the project, the less they like it.” This is increasingly true outside BC as well.

But this is no time to let down our guard. The federal Cabinet decision that will determine the future of this ecological treasure is not due for over a year – plenty of time for any zombie to regenerate. In the meantime, WWF will continue to work with Coastal First Nations and all Canadians to strengthen the call for an end to the oil pipeline proposal.

In life as in the movies, even that is not the end of the story –it’s not over until it’s really over. We are not just battling individual threats to this region’s wildlife, communities, and economic future. Our aim is nothing less than to see the world’s smartest conservation and sustainable development plan in place in the Great Bear Sea.

We will continue our work with Coastal First Nations, governments, industry, and other NGOs to develop a plan that includes a strong network of protected areas to safeguard crucial habitat for whales, salmon, and other ocean species; and an effective multi-use plan for an active and prosperous working seascape. We will not rest until we have secured a permanent, internationally-recognized, and legally-enforceable designation that ensures we never again face the threat of oil tankers in this extraordinary place.

So we are not yet breathing that sigh of relief. In fact these days, looking to the work ahead, my thoughts are less about horror movies and Hallowe’en than about Thanksgiving. I am profoundly grateful to the exceptional Canadians who have already come to stand with WWF and Coastal First Nations; and to the growing ranks of supporters who continue to join our call for a sustainable future for the Great Bear, and a sustainable future for Canada. This weekend, I offer my heartfelt thanks to you all.

The task ahead is a daunting one but, with your help, there is no doubt we can succeed. So join us. Become a Canadian for the Great Bear, and fight off a few zombies along the way.