Well done, Canadians.
Sometimes the monstrous machine of industry and corporate greed can feel like too much for us as individuals to battle. But a bunch of Canadian citizens has just shown what a committed band of individuals can do.
In the first crowdfunding effort of its kind, Canadians have raised $3 million to purchase a stretch of coastal wilderness in British Columbia to save it from development. The 2,000 acres (800 hectares) of pristine coastline in the Princess Louisa Inlet on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast are virtually untouched. The land includes a fjord, the top rim of which branches into high alpine snow pack forming multiple dramatic waterfalls that run down the rock.
Crowdfunding efforts were organized by B.C. Parks Foundation, a non-profit group whose mission is to protect natural landscapes in the province. The foundation's CEO Andrew Day told the CBC that the land, which is being sold by a private owner, had some interest from logging companies and developers. So people stepped up to stop that from happening.
And it wasn't just a handful of rich donors who pooled their money—scores of average Canadians offered what they could to the fundraising effort.
"It was so many people who gave us $10 or $15 and said, 'This is all I can do, but this is a wonderful thing that you're doing,'" Day told the CBC.
B.C. Parks Foundation will buy the land and make it into a protected park. The organization wrote a letter of thanks to all who donated to the fundraiser.
Dear Park Supporters,
You did it! Your love for British Columbia and beautiful places like Princess Louisa Inlet has done something miraculous. In just a few short months, you have raised $3 million to protect a jewel in B.C'.s coast.
We still have to finalize the sale with the vendor (now September 3rd), and there are more steps to come, but in donating the funds you have scaled a substantial peak on this amazing expedition.
We know people want to keep B.C. beautiful, and we know our parks are the core of our identity. They are our cathedrals, our towers, our pyramids; the wonders of our world. But we couldn't have predicted such a fabulous outpouring in such a short time from so many different people and places. We are in a state of awe and gratitude.
We will keep you posted when the deal is finalized. Any funds that continue to come in will be put in our Parks Bank to protect more areas in Princess Louisa and British Columbia.
With our deepest appreciation and admiration,
Ross Beaty, Board Chair
Andy Day, CEO
As land is continually being logged and used for development, and as governments are not always reliable protectors of the environment, crowdfunding to buy natural areas may be the most effective way of protecting them.
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Day says the foundation will work with the indigenous Sechelt Nation and the provincial government to work out the details of how to preserve the land. "We'll do our best to make sure that that area stays protected forever," he told the CBC.
Well done, B.C. Parks Foundation and ordinary Canadian citizens. Seriously, well done.