No Images? Click here

News from Ecotrust Canada

Mapping the Path of Environmental Change


Today we are proud to co-release the Atlas of Cumulative Landscape Disturbance in the Traditional Territory of Blueberry River First Nations. The Atlas was commissioned by Blueberry River First Nations and David Suzuki Foundation, and authored by Ecotrust Canada.

At this morning's press conference with the project partners, Chief Marvin Yahey emphasized that the Nations are not opposed to development per se. Instead, they want the province to uphold their Treaty 8 rights and protect their way of life by engaging the Nations in future development planning. Describing his vision, Chief Yahey said, "To work with people - that's all we ask... [BC] needs to engage the people from the start, not the aftermath."

The Disturbance Atlas shows, in striking detail, the vast extent of environmental degradation on Blueberry River’s traditional territory. "You've got to be there to see it," Chief Yahey said. "And we live with it."


Some of our findings:


While 60% of BC is considered intact forest landscape (shown in green), Blueberry River's traditional territory is only 14% intact


Active oil and gas tenures (shown in red) cover nearly 70% of the territory. 


Of the total area in BC reserved for oil and gas pipelines under tenures (shown as red and gray lines), 46% falls within Blueberry River's territory. 


Eliana Macdonald manages our Knowledge Systems program. Through her maps, she brings the variety of natural resource issues in BC to life. For her, the Blueberry River Atlas was an opportunity to illustrate the vast changes that have occurred on Blueberry River’s traditional territory. “For those of us living in the Lower Mainland, a lot of the resource extraction in BC has been ‘out of sight, out of mind.’”


“I hope this atlas can help people better understand the true scale of changes to our province’s landscapes, and their impacts on rural communities and First Nations like Blueberry River.”


Ecotrust Canada is proud to help Blueberry River First Nations pursue their treaty rights. This legal battle is one example among many of the lingering disconnect between government and First Nations.

Our hope is that by making information more transparent and accessible, decision-makers can reach more equitable solutions for all.

Brenda Kuecks, President