Saving the Great Bear Rainforest The Great Bear Rainforest is one of the few truly wild places remaining in our province. It's home to the famous spirit bear, six million migratory birds, 3000 genetically distinct salmon stocks and many unique species of plants all coexisting in a space roughly the size of Ireland. Most importantly, it's the largest tract of intact coastal temperate rainforest left on the planet. And, until a few years ago, there were no concrete, long-term plans in place to preserve it.
In an effort to keep pressure on the provincial government to ratify the agreement, Greenpeace Canada, ForestEthics and the Sierra Club of B.C. launched the "Keep the Promise: Save the Great Bear Rainforest" campaign in fall 2008. Capulet Communications was brought onboard to run the social media component.
Out of the Woods and Onto the Web
Our role was to use social media to build online awareness of the campaign and generate signatures for the petition. Key components included:
- Save the Great Bear Rainforest Facebook Group: Our Facebook group attracted over 4,000 members and became the hub for our online activities. In addition to participating in our other online activities, like signing the online petition, we encouraged our members to donate their status message for one day to the Great Bear Rainforest.
- Bear Your Soul Flickr Contest: More than 200 Flickr users participated in this contest and submitted photographs illustrating why the BC government needed to honour its agreement to conserve the Great Bear Rainforest.
- Local Blogger Outreach: We targeted B.C. bloggers writing on ecological or environmental issues and approached them to cover the campaign. Many did, including DeSmogBlog, OutdoorVancouver.ca, VancouverBC.com, and Hummingbird 604.
- We also maintained a Twitter feed and helped promote a two-minute Youtube video.
"Using social media and smart, well timed web tactics, Capulet helped the environmental groups working to protect the Great Bear Rainforest make the noise they needed to get the BC government's attention. In the end, the promise to protect one third of the globally significant rainforest was fulfilled." Natalie Southworth, Communications Coordinator, Rainforest Solutions Project
At the peak of the campaign, supporters were sending nearly 100 emails per day to the provincial government through the Save the Great Bear website. The campaign received coverage in several mainstream media outlets, including the Vancouver Sun and the CBC (watch Darren on CBC News). In the end, more than 16,000 British Columbians signed the petition and the BC government kept its promise. On March 31, 2009, the agreement was ratified.