Nature is our greatest asset - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Nature is our greatest asset

Photo credit: Katrina Bellefeuille

You are supporting a long-term vision for nature, people and economies

Long-time nature conservation supporter and Alberta-based Y2Y donor, John Mitchell, has spent countless hours in and around the mountains hiking, camping and fishing.

To him, the mountains are a place to rejuvenate, and can speak volumes to our spirits even in their silence. For these reasons, John considers mountain ecosystems to be one of the greatest resources of all.

However, with human populations growing steadily, nature’s limits are being increasingly tested.

In its 2021 Global Risks Report, the World Economic Forum ranks biodiversity loss as the world’s fourth greatest risk by impact. The report also estimates that $44 trillion of economic value generation — more than half of global Gross Domestic Product — is moderately to highly dependent on nature and the services it provides to people.

Coal mines in Alberta threaten nature’s inherent value to people and wildlife

Proposed coal mines in Alberta’s iconic Rocky Mountains, foothills, and life-giving headwaters regions, are yet another layer threatening nature’s inherent value to both people and wildlife.

“Trading modest employment growth and a small royalty stream for permanent damage to one of the world’s majestic but fragile mountain ecosystems, and the waters that flow from there, is simply an unwise decision,” says John.

A big part of progressing and having thriving economies moving forward is preserving these wonderful, special places far into the future.

John Mitchell, Y2Y donor

Having spent much of his business career working in Alberta’s oil and gas industry, John is used to weighing risk and return — and with coal mines in the Eastern Slopes, it is clear there is more to lose than to gain.

“With these coal mines, we have to look at the impact they’ll have not just hundreds, but thousands of years down the road. The cumulative effects this would have on the integrity of the Yellowstone to Yukon region is serious and irreversible,” says John.

From the large carnivores right down to the smallest of insects that rely on these ecosystems, we must place more value on not taking from, but preserving nature.

“We’ll continue to need resources, but more and more, the ‘engine of growth’ will turn to solutions that are not all resource-based,” adds John. “A big part of progressing and having thriving economies moving forward is preserving these wonderful, special places far into the future.”

We need strong local economies and healthy ecosystems

Now is a time to look into the more sustainable economic opportunities that can come into play around protected areas — and to explore more deeply how to preserve outstanding natural features of the region for all people and uses, while supporting a strong local economy.

Riding Muskwa-Kechika Management Area’s Gataga River in northern British Columbia. This area is an example of decision-making that benefits our economies and ecosystems. Credit: Wayne Sawchuk

Y2Y’s research in Alberta and B.C. draws from the various perspectives, experiences and knowledge of people across the community. These projects help us to better understand the opportunities and challenges in providing for both a strong local economy and healthy ecosystems.

With your help, we can continue to protect valuable wild places from Alberta’s Rockies, to the Upper Columbia in B.C. and beyond.

It is through projects of this kind that we can not only preserve our memories and experiences in them, but also support a long-term vision for people and nature.

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