by Morgan Blakley
When it comes to development, industry’s voice often overwhelms nature. Growing up in British Columbia, I’ve witnessed first-hand the damage that resource extraction can do when nature can’t advocate for itself.
The Judge is a small mountain that overlooks Diana Lake and the Beaver Valley in eastern British Columbia. I still remember scrambling to the summit of the Judge during a hike and seeing the jarring contrast between intact wilderness and clear-cut forests.
From the Judge, you can see a thick forest of trees that extends across the part of the valley that’s protected by Kootenay National Park. Beside this lies the stark evidence of where logging operations have clear-cut large swaths of the valley, diminishing it to stumps and debris. Seeing an entire watershed that looked like a run-down log yard really angered me. It is sights like these that have compelled me to become an environmental lawyer and serve as nature’s guardian.
From my vantage point, first as an articling student and now as Ecojustice’s newest staff lawyer, I look to the past and find hope that my generation will find ways to restore the balance we seem to be missing. I look to the Clayoquot Sound protests, the civil rights movement and the implementation of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and know that we can make a difference.
But to have a lasting impact, we need help from all corners of society: engaged youth, forward-thinking businesses, concerned citizens — and lawyers in suits. It’s in the courtroom where Ecojustice wins victories that hold government and industry to account. And it’s through public debate, protest and other forms of civic engagement that other Canadians can use their power to do the same.
I believe we all have a responsibility to steward the environment that nourishes us and make sure our natural resources are developed in a way that protects people and the planet for generations to come.
Whenever I think about the career I am committed to, my thoughts return to B.C.’s forests. I want to live in a Canada where logging and industrial development don’t threaten endangered species and people. The reward will be well worth the challenge.