Fraser Basin Council releases fourth "State of the Fraser Basin report"



    
    Conference draws over 300 people from across all sectors seeking new
    ways to make change for sustainability
    

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 19 /CNW/ - The Chair of the Fraser Basin Council, Dr.
Charles Jago, opened the sixth biennial State of the Fraser Basin Conference
in Vancouver today by offering words of warning on the health of the Fraser
River Basin and its communities, based on the Council's newly released
Sustainability Snapshot 4 report.
    "I believe we live in an era of over-leveraged ecosystems, many of which
are threatened with collapse," said Dr. Jago. He noted that the current
economic crisis brings into sharper focus the urgent need for long-term
thinking and integrated action - economically, environmentally and socially.
    Dr. Jago said there is value in a shared vision and in targets, adding
that the Council is interested in exploring the concept of how that can be
done collaboratively to engage as many people as possible.
    One of the tools the Council has developed to help people become more
sustainable is the State of the Fraser Basin Reports, the Sustainability
Snapshots. The current report, Snapshot 4, is the fourth published since 2003
and covers 18 indicators, detailed quantitative and qualitative reporting,
profiles of sustainability in action, and specific steps towards
sustainability that private and public organizations as well as individuals
can take.
    Dr. Jago noted three broad categories of indicators: 1) the current
well-being of human populations and human communities in the Basin; 2) the
current state of the natural environment; and 3) the current interaction
between people and the natural environment. The report's initial assessment of
human populations and human communities in the Basin is Fair to Good, with the
exception of the ongoing need for improved living conditions among BC's First
Nations and other people such as those on low-incomes, especially the
homeless.
    The Snapshot's scores the natural environment Fair to Poor. For example,
over the past two years salmon stocks have recorded continued declines and
there are also concerns about biodiversity. The Fraser Basin is home to six of
the eight ecosystems identified as being at risk in BC.
    For the interaction between human activities and the environment in the
Fraser Basin, the results are Mixed, but tending to Fair. Greenhouse gas
emissions were at a 16-year high in 2004, but decreased by 5% from 2004 to
2006. There were high rates of household environmental activities - such as a
reported 99% rate of recycling, according to one survey - but there was an 18%
increase in solid waste disposal from 1996 to 2006.

    
    Notes for Media:

    -  State of the Fraser Basin Conference: The Conference runs through to
       noon on February 20 at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre.
       Media are welcome to attend both plenary and concurrent sessions at
       the Conference. Please sign in at the registration desk.

       On Friday, there are three speakers on "Redefining Wealth": Virginia
       Greene of the Business Council of BC, Tamara Vrooman of Vancity and
       Pierre Gratton of the Mining Association of British Columbia. See the
       Conference program at www.fraserbasin.bc.ca.

    -  BC Youth Congress: Three youth speakers will be available for
       interviews about their own work in sustainability. The Council hosted
       its first-ever BC Youth Congress on sustainability on February 18, in
       which 80 youth, aged 17 to 29, participated.

    -  Sustainability Snapshot 4: The Snapshot covers 18 sustainability
       topics, and includes a breakdown of regional data across the Fraser
       Basin. Data and charts that are available on request. "Steps for
       Sustainability" may be published "tips" helpful to public and private
       sector organizations and to people from every walk of life.
    

    The Fraser Basin Council is a non-profit society established in 1997 to
bring people together to find solutions to longstanding issues and conflicts,
and take advantage of opportunities to advance sustainability in the Fraser
River Basin and beyond. The Fraser Basin Council works to ensure that the
decisions made today will protect and advance the economic, environmental and
social dimensions of sustainability into the future.





For further information:

For further information: on the Council, visit www.fraserbasin.bc.ca;
Media Contact: Denise Palmer, Communications Manager, T: (604) 488-5352, E:
dpalmer@fraserbasin.bc.ca

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FRASER BASIN COUNCIL

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