Solutions: Coming to a Forest Near You
The Winner of the 2016 Buckminster Fuller Challenge is the British Columbia-based Rainforest Solutions Project, a collaborative effort between Greenpeace, Sierra Club British Columbia and Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics). Operating under the umbrella of Tides Canada, this collaboration lead to the development of one of the most extraordinary approaches to conservation, social justice, and indigenous rights in recent memory, resulting in a historically unprecedented multigenerational agreement to protect the 15-million acre Great Bear ecosystem, the largest remaining temperate rainforest on the planet.
After a decade of confrontations and campaigns, this arduous, painstaking effort was ultimately able to bring together 26 Indigenous tribes, environmentalists, scientists, the BC Provincial Government, and the logging companies in respectful negotiations and relationship-building, and now 85% of the land will be free from any logging, and highly sustainable logging and management practices are mandated on the rest. This remarkably positive outcome is a model for the rest of the world, and the Rainforest Solutions Project team (Director Dr. Jody Holmes, Program Manager Marlene Cummings and Steering Committee members Valerie Langer (Stand.earth), Eduardo Sousa (Greenpeace), and Jens Wieting (Sierra Club BC), are now reaching out to forest activists globally to share what they have learned.
We at Bioneers have long closely followed the struggle over the Great Bear, one that touches on so many themes central to our worldview: the urgent need to preserve biodiversity and intact ecosystems, the rights of Indigenous peoples, and the fact that people working together across divides can change the world. We featured the Great Bear struggle a number of times at the Bioneers conference over the years, including with a sterling keynote address by Tzeporah Berman, then a leader Forest Ethics and presentations on the situation there from the Rainforest Action Network. We offer our congratulations to RSP for winning the prestigious Fuller Challenge, and thank the Buckminster Fuller Institute (a very close Bioneers ally) for the wisdom of its review team and jury in selecting this extraordinary project as their 2016 winner.