Expect the unexpected. Who could have predicted that old adage would so accurately sum up 2020? From the pandemic to the political, the world spent the year in upheaval. The earth’s ecosystems have also been dealing with significant and unrelenting perturbations, albeit for decades; a shift from this approach to one that fosters ecological resilience will be critical to the survival of all.
The late Canadian ecologist Dr. C.S. Holling and his colleagues described resilience as “the capacity of a social-ecological system to absorb or withstand perturbations and other stressors such that the system remains within the same regime, essentially maintaining its structure and function”. When resilience is enhanced, a system is more likely to tolerate disturbance events without collapsing. Reduced resilience increases the vulnerability of a system, lowering its ability to cope with even small disturbances.
Ecosystems – provincially, nationally, and globally – are unraveling as a result of habitat loss, over-exploitation, and industrialization. If these complex life-giving systems are to survive the damage from our human footprint, we must endeavour to advance ecological resilience by protecting what is left and restoring what has been compromised.
We feel blessed and grateful on a daily basis that Raincoast and all Raincoasters are healthy, resilient, and focused as we head into the new year.
Throughout Tracking Raincoast into 2021, note the common thread of fostering resilience amongst all our initiatives, from restoring juvenile salmon habitat in the Fraser River Estuary and fortifying the life requisites of endangered Southern Resident killer whales in the Salish Sea, to securing protection for threatened Coastal Douglas fir forests in the Gulf Islands and carnivores in the Great Bear Rainforest.
Please consider investing in Raincoast’s vital work to bolster resilience and safeguard coastal British Columbia’s lands, waters, and wildlife.
Biologist & Program Director,
Wild Salmon Program