A Great Spirit Bear captured on camera in the Great Bear Rainforest. Images like these are now part of a resource that fits B.C.’s Grade 7-9, touching on topics such as conservation. Photography by Natalie Bowes

A Great Spirit Bear captured on camera in the Great Bear Rainforest. Images like these are now part of a resource that fits B.C.’s Grade 7-9, touching on topics such as conservation. Photography by Natalie Bowes

Sustainable economy flourishing in Haida Gwaii and Great Bear Rainforest thanks to First Nations investments

From 2008-2018, funding initiatives led to more than $286 million in new investments

First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii have created a flourishing economy that “links a healthy environment with the prosperity and well-being of their communities,” according to a report released by Coast Funds earlier this month.

Coast Funds is a finance organization led by Indigenous peoples. From 2008-2018 funding from the group has led to more than $286 million in new investments in the region.

“First Nations are building on a long tradition of stewarding their territories for the benefit of current and future generations,” says Brodie Guy, executive director of Coast Funds. “The benefits are substantial, and together we are demonstrating that conservation finance led by Indigenous people is the key to protecting the world’s most precious ecosystems, such as the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.”

Coast Funds was established in 2006 out of the Great Bear Rainforest agreement – a deal with the provincial government to enshrine in legislation laws that protect 85 per cent of the region’s forest from the north of Vancouver Island to the Alaska Panhandle.

READ MORE: Great Bear Rainforest protection takes effect Jan. 1

The Coast Funds helped lead more than 200 species research and habitat restoration initiatives, 71 projects involving access to traditional foods, and 50 projects protecting cultural assets. They have also worked on economic development investments to support ecotourism projects, the sustainable aquaculture businesses, and the start-up of First Nations-run economic development corporations.

“First Nations investments in stewardship and sustainable development are having major impacts in communities across the coast.” said Huux Percy Crosby, of Haida Nation, board chair for Coast Funds. “They are creating a new conservation economy that protects this globally significant ecosystem for generations to come—a benefit that stretches far beyond the region.”

READ MORE: Ryan Reynolds to narrate movie about B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest

The report goes on to list the results of the sustainable investment work done over the course of the decade:

  • More than 1000 permanent jobs have been created.
  • One hundred businesses have been expanded or developed.
  • Fourteen regional monitoring and Guardian Watchmen programs, operating across an average area of 2.5 million hectares annually, have been created, expanded, and sustained.

“Over the last 10 years First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii have created a road-map for how we can sustain the most ecologically significant places on the planet while enhancing the well-being of the people who have lived in those places for thousands of years,” said Crosby. “This model can and must be replicated across the globe.”

Coast Funds announced its findings from 10 years of conservation finance in a publication which can be read online.

Jenna Cocullo | Reporter
Jenna Cocullo 
Send Jenna email
Like the Haida Gwaii Observer on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Indigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Jan. 21 marks the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century, according to some. (Black Press Media file photo)
The 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century is upon us

Milestone won’t be back for another 100 years

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm, the company’s final B.C. operation to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is questioning a government decision to phase out salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)
Canadian Federation of Agriculture backs B.C. salmon farmers

Letter to prime minister calls for federal “champion” for aquaculture growth

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Most Read