The story of We are the Salish Sea starts with a small act. Laurie Gourlay lives in the tiny town of Cedar on BC’s Vancouver Island. In celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, he responded to a call for Canadians to nominate favourite landscapes as potential new UNESCO Heritage sites. The winning nomination will be Canada’s submission to UNESCO.
Laurie nominated the Salish Sea, a collection of waterways that includes the Strait of Georgia, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound on BC’s west coast. The region is already celebrated for its exceptional biodiversity; it’s home to over 3,000 species including iconic mammals like orcas and grizzly bears. It’s also home to eight million people, the first of whom were the Coast Salish tribes who have lived in the region for over 10,000 years.
Laurie completed the application process, but needed help building the case that the Salish Sea ought to be Canada’s submission to UNESCO. That’s where Sea Legacy comes in.
Formed by famed nature photographers Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier, Sea Legacy uses powerful media to propel people to take action to protect oceans. Sea Legacy provided storytelling expertise in the form of breathtaking photos and video that help make the cultural and environmental case for international recognition for the Salish Sea.
Chief Storyteller, Mike Berard, is optimistic about the application. “There’s a pretty impressive list of submissions,” he says, “There are beautiful places across the country. But, the Salish Sea is unusual in that it’s both culturally very significant and a natural treasure.”
Sea Legacy’s campaign website—WearetheSalishSea.eco—showcases those awe-inspiring images and invites Canadians to submit a letter of support for the Salish Sea application. Why did they pick a .eco domain? “There’s a lot of clutter on the Internet. It’s still like this juvenile, growing beast. It’s interesting to see a URL pop up that’s dedicated to what we do. We’re also a relatively new organization, so it helps us carve out a space to do the conservation work we’re focussed on. There was an alignment in the .eco domain—we all share the same goal.”
Show your support at WearetheSalishSea.eco.