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Okanagan’s Nature Nut: Biodiversity law critical for communities

New ecosystem health framework needs support
Forests are more than trees; they’re watersheds, wildlife habitats, whole ecosystems and more! (Roseanne Van Ee photo)

Roseanne Van Ee

Okanagan’s Nature Nut

Have you heard about the proposed Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health Law (BEHL) in B.C.?

It has the potential to transform land management in the province by prioritizing biodiversity and ecosystem health.

Biodiversity is the essential web of life in healthy natural ecosystems and wildlife habitats.

The draft BEHL framework needs your support. It’s so very crucial now. It helps to ensure a healthy environment and future.

There’s plenty of new generation jobs and projects that can be implemented creating a better balance between healthy forests and community economy.

Liz Stewart has been hired by Neighbours United (a B.C.-based group supporting policies that help people and nature) to coordinate a deep canvassing campaign in Vernon to build awareness and community support for the proposed BEHL framework. They also present a petition in support of the law.

I was really impressed watching the canvassing in practice. It’s an informative and effective presentation. The trained canvassers discuss this important issue. I met Shelly, a new participant, at a recent deep canvassing training session. She really cares about our environment and is concerned about wildlife and their habitats. She’s disturbed by the polarization between economy and the environment.

She explained, “We need to engage both for solutions and change. I like the positive communication here about climate change. The canvassers are honest and approachable.”

If you’d like to help with this project, contact Liz at

If you weren’t canvassed, you can sign the petition at You can also write letters of support for the BEHL to our MLA Harwinder Sandhu.

Read about the draft BEHL on West Coast Environmental Law’s blog or at

Jane Weixl, from SENS, believes that Vernon residents need to talk about this protective measure and share their concerns.

She says, “We need to protect the ecosystems and biodiversity that makes Vernon so special. We also need to ensure that our community is a safe and welcome place to live. This project helps with both of these goals. Let’s do whatever it takes to support policies that help people and nature!”

Our provincial government is considering this new law to make biodiversity and ecosystem health the top priority for managing our forests.

But they need to hear from people to guarantee this bold new law’s success.

Sandhu says, “We’re committed to safeguarding our natural environment amid climate challenges. People in B.C. share a deep connection to nature. With the release of the draft (BEHL( framework, we are charting the next steps for conserving B.C.’s rich biodiversity and healthy ecosystems which support us all and protect the environment.”

All these efforts are fundamental to protecting against the worst effects of climate change and creating a healthier future for everyone. We are doing this work in in partnership First Nations, local governments, industry, scientists, and non-governmental organizations.

The conservation of long-term ecosystem health and biodiversity is crucial to the health and well-being of communities, mitigating and adapting to climate change, maintaining clean air and water, and the responsible stewardship of wildlife and natural resources for future generations.

This is a new approach toward stewarding land and water in B.C. It commits to the conservation and management of ecosystem health and biodiversity as an overarching priority through legislation and other enabling tools.

The draft BEHL Framework is a result of extensive collaboration. We engaged with various stakeholders, including First Nations, industry representatives, local communities and municipal leaders. Your input matters.”

Please support the BEHL, sign the petition, write letters and speak up for it.

Roseanne Van Ee enthusiastically shares her knowledge of the outdoors to help readers experience and enjoy nature. Follow her on Facebook.