Earth Day 2021: Advocacy and Action in the PNW
British Columbia has it all. Really.
Some of the most productive forests grow on the Pacific coast, thriving in our temperate rainforests. Who hasn't stuffed their face with wild blackberries while camping, or blueberries hiking? Below the water's surface, there is a plethora of life, including the world-renowned Orca, whales, salmon, and herring. From the mountains to estuaries, there are bears, wolves, elk, caribou, marmots, and more.
There is so much to celebrate and cherish, sometimes it can be overwhelming to protect and care for it all. For this Earth Day, let's recognize not only the abundance of biodiversity and life present in British Columbia but also the individuals and organizations that lookout for these species right here in our backyard.
Ocean's Initiative is a science-heavy environmental non-profit based out of Seattle that focuses most of its efforts throughout the Salish Sea. Co-founders Rob and Erin Ashe are leading scientists in marine biology, specifically focusing on underwater noise pollution and its effects on Southern Resident Killer Whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins, respectively. Their ongoing research strongly helps implement rules and regulations that protect and conserve marine mammals in the Pacific Northwest.
Whether or not you've spent time with dolphins, it's hard not to fall in love with them. By donating to help continue Ocean’s Initiative’s research, you can ‘adopt a dolphin’ through the organization’s web page. Every year you'll get updates on how your dolphin is doing and where it was seen last. As one of the photographers spending weeks out in the Broughton Archipelago and surrounding wasters, I can vouch for the legitimacy of the updates and pictures!
Be sure to look out for Ryan’s upcoming blog in the Capn's Log to hear about his time working on this dolphin project in 2020.
SeaLegacy holds a special place in my heart. It is not only why I moved to British Columbia, but molded who I am and inspired me to do what I do. Founded by National Geographic photographers Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier, SeaLegacy's mission is to create healthy and abundant oceans through the power of visual storytelling. Their campaigns stretch world-wide and because of their massive global audience, they have the power to create immediate impact.
I was offered the first-ever internship with this non-profit in 2017 and spent three years working with the highly specialized team. During my time at SeaLegacy, I learned how campaigns are created and run, how to use social media for maximum impact, mastered how to take photos and video, but most importantly, how impactful and influential storytelling can be. This non-profit is undoubtedly one of my favorites, and just like Ocean's Initiative and Pacific Wild, I strongly recommend following along and supporting their ongoing efforts to protect our oceans.
One could argue that every day is Earth Day if you're a conservation photographer and filmmaker. Like many West Coast outdoor enthusiasts, I try to spend as much time as possible celebrating our Earth’s natural history, and have dedicated my life to working to protect it for future generations. For this Earth Day, I ask that you please check out any or all of these fantastic non-profit organizations that tirelessly work to better our planet every day.
Words and photos by Ryan Tidman