Hello, and welcome to the first instalment of the 'Changemakers' series! In it, I'll be shining a spotlight on some organizations that I think are doing good work in the realm of environmental conservation. You can read more about the story behind the series here.
As a WestCoaster, born and raised, today I'm excited to share with you a wonderful organization and an issue that's close to my heart and home: salmon.
If you've been following along with my artwork for even a short time, you'll know that I love drawing salmon. Yep, those flowey fins and fine scales seem to make their way through my pen and onto my paper. But my interest in salmon has grown significantly as I've learned more and more about them. Salmon feed the wolves and bears and even feed the forest, their bodies creating nutrient-rich soil. If you want to look at one animal in the Pacific that is so vital, so integral to humans, animals, ecosystem and culture, look no further than the salmon.
As my fav John Muir quote goes, 'when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe'. On that note...
Which brings us to today. Where are we now?
Unfortunately, wild salmon aren't doing so well, in fact their very future is in jeopardy.
Salmon are such incredibly determined and resilient creatures that face many obstacles on their journey from birth through maturity, to their migration upstream to spawn and die. Without any human-interference in their natural rhythms, it's still a pretty tough life! But the thing is, human-interference is providing major obstacles to their health and future. The hands of industry and disease and are holding dying salmon in their hands.
Some of the threats:
-disease + parasites (fish farms being a huge culprit in this)
Yes, that's a huge stack of issues. But the good news is, it's not too late to actually do something about it. Watershed Watch Salmon Society is one of those organizations that is working at the frontline of these issues.
SAY HELLO TO WATERSHED WATCH
Who: Watershed Watch Salmon Society
What: a voice for B.C.'s wild salmon
Where: British Columbia, Canada
When: established in 1998
(In their own words:) Watershed Watch Salmon Society advocates for BC’s wild salmon and the waters they swim in. Since 1998, Watershed Watch has been exposing threats to salmon and their habitats, calling for conservation action, and promoting solutions.
We do this by providing scientific expertise, forming strategic alliances, bearing witness on the ground and on the water, and having a seat at the tables that influence wild salmon management. We engage the public and provide tools for effective advocacy, taking a balanced, solutionsbased approach to difficult issues. We put improvement before ideals, and don’t shy away from holding government, industry, and others to account.
Watershed Watch works to protect BC’s wild salmon on many fronts: pushing for effective fisheries management and implementation of the Wild Salmon Policy, working to halt expansion of opennet salmon farming, and protecting salmon habitat and ecological flows.
HOW WE DO IT
Scientific expertise—Working with scientists from universities, other non-profits, governments, First Nations, and the private sector.
Strategic alliances—Partnering with like-minded groups to amplify our effectiveness.
Bearing witness—Having boots on the ground, eyes on the water, and a seat at the tables that influence wild salmon management.
Public engagement—Informing citizens, engaging with them, and providing tools for effective advocacy.
Balance—Taking a reasonable, solutions-based approach to difficult issues, and putting improvement before ideals.
Courage—Not shying away from holding government, industry, and others to account.
You can view some of their campaigns here.
Watershed Watch is doing some really great work to make sure wild salmon are part of our future. Please check out www.watershed-watch.org to find out more.
And if you want to TAKE ACTION right now, sign the petition to 'get fish farms away from our wild salmon'. SIGN HERE.
Stay tuned, next Tuesday, I'll be launching my special edition print, where a percentage of proceeds will go to Watershed Watch Salmon Society.
Stay hopeful, stay wild and share your light