Great Spirit, give us hearts to understand;
Never to take from creation’s beauty more than we give;
Never to destroy wantonly for the furtherance of greed;
Never to deny to give our hands for the building of earth’s beauty;
Never to take from her what we cannot use.
Big Thunder Algonquin prayer

Following a decade of negotiations, British Columbia has unveiled a historic agreement to protect a massive swath of rain forest along its coastline after reaching an agreement that joins the interests of First Nations, the logging industry, and environmentalists.

Under the agreement announced February 1 about 85 per cent of forest within the Great Bear Rainforest will be protected, with 15 per cent available for logging under the most stringent standards in North America. The great Bear Rainforest covers 6.5 million hectares (24,700 square miles) including forests, waterways and mountains. It is home to 26 Aboriginal groups, known as First Nations, and the habitat of Spirit Bear, a rare subspecies of the black bear with white fur and claws.

“The deal will deliver certainty for coastal forests, local communities, and jobs for years to come, “according to the Coast Forest Products Association. It will also end the commercial grizzly bear hunt but allow other existing tourism-related businesses

Öur leaders understand our wellbeing is connected to the wellbeing of our lands and waters, “said Chief Marilyn Stett, president of Coastal First Nations. Ïf we use our knowledge and our wisdom to look after our lands and waters and communities, they will look after us in the future.”

Based on an article by Ros Russell, C.S. Monitor February 29, 2016