Victoria's Secret, high-school rappers and First Nations communities
honoured for contributions to conserving Canada's Boreal Forest
OTTAWA, Dec. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - What do Aboriginal communities, teen rap
musicians and a US company, best known for its lingerie, have in common?
According to the Boreal Leadership Council (BLC) - plenty; they have all been
instrumental in helping to conserve Canada's Boreal Forest and in raising
awareness of its global importance.
"This year, progress towards protecting Canada's Boreal Forest has really
picked up momentum. The hard work of many, many people, including the
communities that we honoured last night, has created the opportunity to
celebrate some of the most significant land conservation initiatives in North
American history, protecting millions of hectares of the Canadian Boreal
Forest," said Larry Innes, Executive Director of the Canadian Boreal
The Boreal Awards recognize leadership, innovation, cooperation and
excellence among stakeholders who live and work in Canada's Boreal Forest
region, along with those who have made an outstanding contribution to
protection of the Boreal Forest and the advancement of the principles outlined
in the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework.
Last night at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa the following
award winners were honored:
Individual Achievement Award: Student GEORGE WOODHOUSE, with Blake
Godward and David Lawless, for creatively spreading insightful messages among
youth about the importance of Canada's Boreal Forest through video and song.
Corporate Award; LIMITED BRANDS, INC. (parent company of Victoria's
Secret) for significantly advancing sustainable conservation in the Boreal
Forest by changing their purchasing policy and actively advocating for Boreal
Community Award; POPLAR RIVER FIRST NATION for their unwavering support
to protect their traditional homelands on the eastern side of Lake Winnipeg,
and their leadership in advancing, with the Province of Manitoba, a proposal
to have a significant area of Canada's Boreal Forest in Manitoba and Ontario
declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Community Award: LUTSEL K'E DENE FIRST NATION for their vision and
leadership in advancing the designation of the East Arm National Park on the
Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. Together with the Governments
of Canada and the Northwest Territories and the other Akaitcho communities,
Lutsel'Ke has been at the forefront of accomplishing the largest single land
withdrawal for conservation in Canadian history.
Award recipients were selected by a committee of the 18-member Boreal
Leadership Council, which itself has had the most significant expansion since
the group's inception. Earlier this week, Nexen Inc., the Pembina Institute,
Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta and Domini Social Investments LLC joined the
BLC. These groups were officially welcomed at Thursday's event.
"It was a pleasure to welcome fellow leaders in Boreal conservation on an
evening when creativity and passion for Canada's Boreal Forest were so evident
in the nominees and recipients of the Boreal Awards. These organizations have
committed to implementing the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework as they
move forward," said Mike Martel, Senior Vice President of Forest Resource
Management with Tembec Industries Inc. and past chair of the BLC.
The Canadian Boreal Forest is the largest intact forest remaining on the
planet, rivaling the Amazon in size and ecological importance. It stores twice
as much carbon per acre as tropical rainforests, mitigating the effects of
global warming. It also teems with wildlife, including nesting grounds for
billions of migratory songbirds and 40% of North America's waterfowl. Canada's
Boreal is also home to some of the world's largest remaining populations of
grizzly and polar bears, wolves, woodland and barren-ground caribou.
The Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, a visionary plan for Canadian
wilderness developed by the Boreal Leadership Council, is endorsed by over
1500 scientists, 25 Aboriginal organizations, 100 corporations and leading
conservation groups in Canada.
The Boreal Forest Conservation Framework calls for permanently protecting
at least 50% of the Canadian Boreal and applying strict environmental
safeguards for development in any other areas.
Based in Ottawa, the Canadian Boreal Initiative brings together diverse
partners to create new solutions for Boreal conservation and acts as a
catalyst for on-the-ground efforts across the Boreal by governments, industry,
First Nations, conservation groups, major retailers, financial institutions
The Boreal Leadership Council (BLC) is comprised of leading conservation
groups, Aboriginal organizations, resource companies and financial
institutions, all of which have an interest and a stake in the future of
Canada's Boreal Forest. Members of the Council are signatories to the Boreal
Forest Conservation Framework, and are committed to Framework implementation
in their activities.
Rap music is not often associated with the Boreal Forest. Owen Sound
student George Woodhouse, along with friends and classmates Blake Godward and
David Lawless, changed all that with a recent science class project. Their
class was assigned a project to discuss what they had learned in their ecology
unit, and the avid musicians went beyond typical expectations to produce a rap
song - complete with music video - about Canada's Boreal Forest. Peppered with
such insights as "Now in maybe twenty years you're gonna wonder why/All the
birds and trees were just left to die" the teens' song makes some hard-hitting
points about the importance of the Boreal Forest to the planet and the threats
it faces from increased industrial development.
Link to Rap Song: http://www.borealbirds.org/movies.shtml
On December 5, 2006 Limited Brands unveiled a leadership paper policy that
has significantly advanced sustainability and conservation in the Boreal
Forest. The policy, changes to paper and within its supply chain, and the
suite of advocacy and communication initiatives that Limited Brands has
undertaken are helping to ensure that the pulp for the company's catalog paper
does not come from endangered forests in the Boreal. This is creating positive
incentives and awareness, resulting in Boreal conservation and sustainability.
The established policy goals and commitments are that Limited Brands will
(1) partner with its primary paper supplier to eliminate all pulp supplied
from endangered forests of Canada's Boreal Forest, including Alberta's Rocky
Mountain Foothills and the British Columbia Inland Temperate Rainforest;
(2) Shift its catalogs to either 10% post consumer waste or Forest Stewardship
Council (FSC) certified content beginning in 2007; (3) A preference for FSC
certification; (4) Overall catalog paper reduction; (5) A commitment to
continual improvement on environmental attributes of catalog paper and paper
use; (6) A commitment to phase out of sourcing from Caribou Habitat and
Endangered Forests; (7) and one million dollars committed to research and
advocacy to protect Endangered Forests and ensure leadership in the catalog
industry; (8) Support the Boreal Conservation Framework.
In the past year, Limited Brands has had a profound impact on Canada's
Boreal Forest, taking action and helping to catalyze key changes in their own
sector, within paper mills, the logging industry and governments. By engaging
with media and being a strong public advocate of environmental paper and the
Boreal Forest, they have also been highly instrumental in bringing the
importance of Boreal forest conservation and market demand for sustainability
into the public sphere. In the past year, J. Crew, Crate & Barrel and LL Bean,
three of the biggest and best known brands in the sector, have followed
Limited Brand's lead and strengthened their procurement policies to prefer FSC
certified paper and to incorporate recycled fiber.
Along with their outspoken commitment to change and inspire other
companies, they are influencing change in the logging industry. After
announcing their commitment to conservation initiatives, Limited Brands
convinced its paper supplier to terminate their contract with a supplier
producing pulp in the Boreal forests of Alberta's Rocky Mountain Foothills.
Limited Brands has also convinced one of its principal suppliers to have all
four of its mills certified to FSC Chain of Custody - creating more demand for
FSC certified fiber from the Boreal.
Poplar River First Nation
The traditional territory of the 1200 member Poplar River First Nation is
located on the eastern side of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, and forms a
significant part of Canada's Boreal Forest. For thousands of years, the Poplar
River First Nation has carried out its traditional mandate to protect the
region and its resources. Over the past eight years, Poplar River has worked
with the Government of Manitoba and with conservation organizations to secure
interim protection for over 800,000 hectares of undisturbed forest land (an
area larger than Banff National Park). In 2004, Poplar River developed a
comprehensive land protection and management plan for their territory-a
precedent-setting accomplishment among First Nations in the region. Poplar
River's current efforts are focused on securing permanent protection of their
land and advancing a larger UNESCO World Heritage Site proposal with other
First Nations in the region. Sophia Rabliauskas, one of the key leaders of
these efforts, was recently honoured with the international Goldman
Environmental prize for her role in this work.
Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation
The Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation occupies a vast traditional territory in
the eastern Northwest Territories. This homeland spans a great swath of land
from the boreal forest around the East Arm of Great Slave Lake to the
barrenlands of the upper Thelon River basin. The ancestors of the Lutsel K'e
Dene settled in this territory because of its rich natural resources - the
pure waters and abundant wildlife have sustained generations of Dene since
The Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation has the sacred responsibility to ensure
that its traditional territory remains capable of sustaining the way of life
of its people for generations to come. Future generations must be able to
experience the land as their ancestors have before. In this interest, the
First Nation has taken a leadership role in realizing the following
- The halting of uranium exploration in the upper Thelon River basin, the
"Place where God Began";
- Investigating the feasibility of establishing a new National Park in
Thaidene Nene ("Land of the Ancestors"), the core of Lutsel K'e's
- The interim protection of approximately 95 000 km(2), comprising the
largest land withdrawal in Canadian history.
Currently, the Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation is focusing on completing its
conversation network with a finalized National Park and a Special Management
Area in the upper Thelon, as well as beginning comprehensive land-use planning
in its entire traditional territory.
For further information:
For further information: Larry Innes, Canadian Boreal Initiative, (416)
575-6776, www.borealcanada.ca; Mike Martel, Tembec Industries Inc., (819)
627-4744; Boreal Award Winners Contact Information: George Woodhouse, (519)
371-7775; Limited Brands: Tom Katzenmeyer, Senior Vice President of Investor,
Media and Community Relations, (614) 415-7076; Poplar River First Nation: Ray
Rabliauskas, (204) 799-3120; Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation, Chief Adeline
Jonasson, (867) 270-3051; James Marlowe, Thaidene Nene Working Group, (867)