Grassroots Approach, National Impact: The Wilderness Committee’s People Powered Model to Protect the Environment


© Photo Courtesy of The Wilderness Committee

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All change begins at the local level: passionate, committed people connecting to organize and stand up for what’s right. This is the powerful idea the Wilderness Committee was founded on more than forty years ago and what still drives the organization today.

The Wilderness Committee focuses on personal relationships and face-to-face organizing—the keys to making a difference.

From leading small groups through the snowy undergrowth in Catchacoma forest in southern Ontario to organizing climate justice marches in the streets of Winnipeg to supporting First Nations-led conservation efforts on the wild west coast of B.C., the group’s activists are on the ground. They work on building the connections needed to win change on some of the most pressing environmental issues in the country.

The Wilderness Committee works on the things that matter most. The organization responds nimbly to emerging community priorities to fight battles, whether or not in the spotlight. That’s because they’re held up by activists and supporters—individual donors who make up the majority of its revenue—and not by government or corporate funds. While images of hundreds of activists being arrested standing up for ancient trees last year drove the issue of old-growth logging into living rooms across the country, Wilderness Committee staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly on this campaign for decades.

Through grassroots public education, original research, and public campaigning, the Wilderness Committee helped elevate the plight of ancient forests. Bringing people out to walk amongst 100-year-old trees, organizing public meetings, rallies and demonstrations, publishing articles, generating tens of thousands of online actions and helping more people make their voices heard within halls of power. These continuous, high-impact tactics are the Wilderness Committee’s specialty.

And their efforts are working. After several decades of insisting otherwise, B.C.’s government finally admitted that forest management needs improvement. It acknowledged a paradigm shift is required for sustainability and that the remaining old-growth should be protected.

While there’s still a long way to go, the momentum is growing towards a better future for iconic old-growth forests.

Applying their tenacious spirit and grassroots approach, the Wilderness Committee has and will continue to win progress in its fights for endangered species, climate justice, and healthy ecosystems that everyone can enjoy. The battle to protect and preserve the world around us is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and this organization has a vital role to play.

The strength of the Wilderness Committee has always been the people who power it: volunteers, staff and most of all, their supporters. So much is riding on the success of campaigns for a healthier planet.

The world is changing fast. For better or for worse, this is an all-hands-on-deck moment, and the Wilderness Committee invites you to be part of it.

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Together, we’re working tirelessly to protect life-giving biological diversity in Canada through strategic research, community mobilizing, and grassroots public education.


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