New polling shows British Columbians want action towards conservation goals - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

New polling shows British Columbians want action towards conservation goals

Trip through B.C.'s Columbia Headwatesr in August 2020. Photo: Nadine Raynolds

Looking to 2022 British Columbians want movement towards big and important nature conservation goals

Polling commissioned by Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) shows that the majority of British Columbians care about nature, want it protected, and want to see big nature conservation goals set by the government for 2022.  

After the climate disasters of 2021, B.C. residents want movement forward by the government. Topline results show a solid majority of residents see protecting nature as one of the best ways to contribute to fighting climate change and they want B.C to step up. They want the government to work with First Nations to protect wild places, making highways safer for people and wildlife, and nature-positive economic decisions. 

The Nanos Research poll conducted in October for Y2Y also found: 

  • Seven in ten residents of British Columbia (70 percent) support the government setting big and important nature conservation goals — such as the 30 x 30 plan to conserve 30 percent of Canada’s lands and waters by 2030 
  • 74 percent of respondents say we do not need to choose between creating jobs and conserving nature — we can do both. 
  • Three out of four B.C. residents (75 percent) would be more likely to support the provincial government on creating at least one major new provincial park or protected wilderness — if the government worked with First Nations and local communities; 
  • 84 percent of British Columbians support building additional wildlife crossings and fencing on roads in key areas to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and protect wildlife connectivity, allowing animals and humans safe passage. 

According to Y2Y’s B.C. program director, Candace Batycki, these findings send a strong message to decision-makers that British Columbians care deeply about lands, waters, and wildlife in the province, and want government to get to work with communities and Indigenous peoples to keep nature healthy and protected far into the future.  

“People, more than ever, are concerned about the environment,” says Batycki. “These poll results show that British Columbians understand that conserving nature and wildlife doesn’t mean sacrificing a strong economy. Especially seeing the impact from natural disasters this past year, they know that we need to step up and protect wildlife and the lands and waters of the province. Leaders can take steps right now to protect old-growth forests, protect and restore caribou habitat, and ensure places for people to recreate and wildlife to live.”    

Hiking through B.C.’s Upper Columbia region in August 2020. Wild places like this in southeastern B.C. are ideal habitat and a critical movement corridor for grizzly bears and need our protection. Credit: N. Raynolds

Scott Niedermayer, a Y2Y board member, Hockey Hall of Famer, two-time Olympian, four-time Stanley Cup champion and conservationist, supports British Columbia focusing on nature conservation and taking the right steps forward. 

“It has been heartbreaking to witness fellow British Columbians losing property in the fires this summer and the flooding this fall. We must do all we can to limit our impact on the earth, to try to limit the impact of these disasters,” says Niedermayer, who lives in B.C.’s Okanagan. “I would like to see B.C. be a leader in conservation and an example of how we can lead a sustainable way of life, allowing future generations to enjoy this incredible planet.”  

“People in British Columbia love nature, so it’s no surprise there is strong support for additional protections,” says Batycki. “Regardless of age, where we live, what work we do, or who we vote for, we share a love for the natural world which surrounds us and unifies our communities. The poll results clearly show this.” 

The poll was conducted by Nanos Research for Y2Y Oct. 15 to Oct. 23, 2021. 800 residents of British Columbia were polled to better understand public opinion on the protection of lands, waters, and species in the province. Results are valid ± 3.5%, 19 times of out 20.