Social unrest, political activism, worry about human impact on this earth—sound familiar? In 1969, British Columbians were facing concerns that are still making headlines today. At the end of a decade of changing technological and political landscapes associated with draft dodgers, hippie flower power and the rise of the counterculture, a group of serious-minded citizens created Sierra Club BC to protect and preserve wild places in the province.
From that moment, Sierra Club BC played an important role in many of the environmental issues in the province, from the protection of the Nitinat Triangle and the West Coast Trail in 1972; to the 1993 War in the Woods, the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history; to a twenty-year campaign that culminated in protection of the Great Bear Rainforest; to the ongoing opposition to the Site C Dam and the Trans Mountain pipeline. In fifty years, the club has helped to convince governments on both sides of the political spectrum to protect 15 per cent of BC’s land base and just over 3 percent of BC’s marine areas from development. Still active today, Sierra Club BC has thousands of members, volunteers and supporters, all working to protect the province’s wild areas and confront climate change.
Diane Pinch’s non-fiction homage to Sierra Club BC provides an overview of the lasting impact the group has had, not only in BC, but in all of Canada. Replete with first-hand accounts, maps and photos, the book is a heartfelt in-depth look at environmentalism in Western Canada through the years, from the perspective of one of the most influential groups in operation. Sierra Club BC’s philosophy of “passion and persistence” and commitment to science-based evidence and peaceful activism have given the club its incredible staying power.
About the author
Diane Pinch, a retired psychologist and long-time volunteer with Sierra Club BC, was first introduced to the group in 1975. She has spent the last five years digging through the archives and interviewing colourful and charismatic Sierra Club BC members to put together a faithful narration of the challenges and successes the club has faced over the last fifty years. She lives in Victoria, BC.
- Short-listed, George Ryga Award
Excerpt: Passion and Persistence: Fifty Years of the Sierra Club in British Columbia, 1969–2019 (by (author) Diane Pinch)
“If you keep going the way you are, I’m sure you will be successful.” — Princess Anne, on protecting the Nitinat Triangle