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31 Jan 2022 • Makii

Milky Change goes to... Vancouver Island!

“Take care of what is there” is the motto of an NGO we got to spend an unforgettable day with in Vancouver. 
  • “What do whales have to do with protecting ancient forests?”...

    ...Clemens and Philipp asked when I organised their day trip to Vancouver Island during the recent North America Tour. “A lot!” is what they were about to find out and together with the NGO Wilderness International the band spent a whole day learning about and experiencing first hand how precious nature is in many different forms. 

  • The day started off early, very early.

    Starting off their journey with the help of Harbour Air, the world's first and only fully carbon neutral airline, they boarded a seaplane and enjoyed the amazing views of Canada's lush landscape until they arrived safely at their first stop, Victoria, on Vancouver Island.  
    Here they met with Jette and Tobi from Wilderness International, a non-profit based in Germany, Canada and Peru, that works for the protection of the last wilderness areas of the planet. The NGO purchases ancient forest and legally protects it for the future. Take care of what is there (a slogan Clemens came up with when they explained their mission) is the motto under which their organization operates. This approach is more direct and effective immediately in comparison to the (also important!) efforts of planting new trees. This is why we wanted to meet up with them and learn more about it. 

    The day started off early, very early.
    Perks of an early rise: good-morning-rainbows
  • So, going back to the question “Why are we going on a whale watching tour...

    ...when the job is to protect forests?” 

    Here is Jette and Tobis answer: 
    Because everything in the temperate rainforest ecosystem here along the West Coast is connected. Resident orcas for example depend on salmon as a food source. And salmon depend on intact forests because that is where they are born: in clear and cool streams in intact forests. At the end of their life, they swim back up the same rivers to spawn. 

    Salmon in turn are important for the forest. Grizzly bears, wolves and eagles fish them out of the rivers and carry them into the forest. There, they eat parts of them. But what they leave slowly decays and brings nitrogen into the soil. 80% of nitrogen in the forests actually comes from the salmon! This allows the trees here to grow so giant. By protecting ancient forests, we guarantee that salmon have a place to spawn and continue to exist as a basis of life for orcas. The forest is also important for healthy sea life in general. Floating deadwood for example is an important habitat for creatures in the open ocean, while sunken deadwood is of great importance for organisms on the seabed. And leave litter and needles that fall into the water provide nutrients. 

    So, going back to the question âWhy are we going on a whale watching tour...
    Just before the orcas showed up.
  • A day to remember

    The whale watching tour with Eagle Wings, turned out to be a lifetime experience for the boys. Keeping a safe distance to the boat but swimming right towards it, the orcas made a lasting impression on the band and their appreciation of those friendly giants.

    After the whale watching tour they also got to check out another type of giants, the ancient trees that the NGO is working so hard to protect. The trees are several hundreds of years old already and can live for another thousand years. That is why it’s important to make sure that the protection work is permanent. 

  • A memorable day outdoors came to a fantastic close, indoors, with the livestreamed concert in Vancouver. If you are interested in learning more about our partners of the day, check them out here: Wilderness International, Harbour Air, Eagle Wings

    And a big warm thank you to everyone who helped us make this happen and especially to anyone that donated to their cause

    Take care of what is there. 💚

Title picture: © Wilderness International