we journey on

NET NIRACHATSUWAN

Where are you living now?

I will be living at Quest University Canada for the next two years. Apart from Quest, I am also living and learning at Tacomepai, a permaculture farm in Thailand.  http://www.tacomepai.com/2012/index.php/homepage

Which moment do you remember fondly while in the Great Bear Rainforest?

One of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life was at the Kiel harvest camp. Everyone was around the fire roasting marshmallows, talking about inspirational people in our lives, and just relaxing on the sand. The simplicity of that moment required nothing besides kids (including us) being content with nature and their close ones.

Did someone have a particularly strong influence on your experience with the youth paddle? Who was it? and how did they influence your experience?

Magdalena Angel was the most influential person for me in this youth paddle. Her openness to the changes in people’s decisions and environment, to the challenges that we faced personally, and with the bigger issue at hand, was based on altruistic motivations. Her unflagging support and care for everyone set an example for us all and made us a team right from the start, not just individuals with a common cause.

What is your current work / course of study? Did participation in the GBRYP have any influence on where you are now? If so how?
The GBRYP made me think about the word “development” from many different perspectives. I also thought about how culture and inter-generational living play such a crucial part in transferring knowledge about living with nature. This is especially important for many urban societies today, where we are not physically close to our natural resources. Now, I am driven to learn more about my home country of Thailand and about the Thai traditional (more environmentally-friendly) method of living.

What lessons has this experience taught you?

This experience taught me that leading by example is that best way to change negative thoughts and tackle a problem.

Do you have anything on your bucket list for the near future (or not so near) relating to the GBR or Hartley Bay, or environmental activism, action, and awareness raising?

After I graduate from Quest, I would love to work on a documentary that would capture the different seasons of the Thai traditional way of living. The film would teach and share the benefits of living with nature. From my experience in Hartley Bay, the Gitga’at First Nations were (and still are) an inspirational group of people who know how to be patient when facing difficulties, and who also know how to stand up for what is right for their children’s future and the environment.

Do you have any advice for young people who want to engage and take action on a cause they are passionate about?

Be mindful of your own emotional/ spiritual/ materialistic inputs and outputs, explore your own thoughts and actions whilst learning about or changing others’ thoughts and actions.

Sum up the GBRYP in one sentence.

An inspirational trip that brought people together for the future of the Great Bear Rainforest.

KRISTY GRAHAM

Kirsty

Which moment do you remember fondly while in the Great Bear Rainforest?

I remember fishing with Myron and sleepy Net – going out on the water early in the morning. We didn’t catch any salmon, but the rock fish that we snagged made good feeding for the eagles. Myron taught me how to set the trolling lines and inspired me to get my fishing licence and learn how to fly fish from my father.

What is your current work/course of study? Did participation in the GBRYP have any influence on where you are now? If so how?

In September I’m moving to Scotland to start my PhD at the University of St Andrews. Actually, the paddle made me waver from my current path, because it made it much much harder to leave British Columbia. After the paddle I thought about staying and doing conservation work, but I’m now working on accepting that life is long and I will have time to come back soon enough.
Do you have any advice for young people who want to engage and take action on a cause they are passionate about?

Planning is really important! Map out your plan in three parts: (1) Preparation, (2) Project, (3) Post-production. If you’re working with a group of people, this is a great way to figure out what role each individual will play during each stage, so that no-one feels at a loose end or becomes overwhelmed. It was great how the GBRYP developed very organically, but there were some things left to the last minute that could have been shared more evenly.

Sum up the GBRYP in one sentence.

Paddling with friends old and new, with a shared cause against the Enbridge pipeline, in the most beautiful place on earth – words prove inadequate.

 

BRIANNA POWRIE

 

Where are you living now?

A: I am living in Squamish, BC, and am starting my third year at Quest University.

Which moment do you remember fondly while in the Great Bear Rainforest?

A: Quite a few memories come to mind but one that particularly stands out is having those three orcas swim past us on the last leg of our paddle. We had been talking all week about how amazing it would be to see orcas, but still had not seen them. Mostly everyone had lost hope that we would see them at that point.

All of a sudden, one of the Hartley Bay students pointed and yelled “orca!” but no one really knew what she’d said. Until we looked ahead and saw three orca fins coming straight for us. The mom and baby swam right beside our canoe and the bull out further by the boat. My first thought at seeing them was “I can’t believe this is happening right now!” It was definitely the cherry on top of an amazing week in a beautiful and pristine place.

Did someone have a particularly strong influence on your experience with the youth paddle? Who was it? and how did they influence your experience?

A: I would say that the GBR itself is what influenced me the most. There was a certain peace that came over me while paddling throughout the waters. All of my worries and stresses about life that I had before arriving in the Great Bear disappeared. It’s a place that shows first-hand how to live in balance with your surroundings. It frustrated me afterwards, as I was sitting back at home thinking about the trip, on how stupid humanity’s way of living is in general. We take and take and take and think that everything will always be there for us and that we don’t need to respect the earth that is giving us life.

Experiencing a place like the Great Bear, assured me that the profession I strive for will work towards restoring, protecting and conserving ecosystems such as the Great Bear.

What is your current work/ course of study? Did participation in the GBRYP have any influence on where you are now? If so how?

A: Yes, the GBRYP definitely had an effect on the path I’m taking in my studies. I have always loved being in nature whether it’s the ocean, forest, grasslands of interior BC, etc, but the GBRYP helped me realize that I want to spend the rest of my life helping to conserve ocean habitat. I am now on a path to focusing on Marine Biology, while before I was more geared towards Sports Medicine.

Sum up the GBRYP in one sentence:

A: A life changing week in a region that runs on balance, harmony and cooperation among the ecosystems themselves and the people.

 

ERIN EMPEY

Where are you living now?

Still in Vancouver.

Which moment do you remember fondly while in the Great Bear Rainforest?

Too many. Playing “Manhunt” with the kids. Almost tipping the canoe on a paddle to see the sea lions. Getting up close to the whales. The Gitga’at sharing a feast with us. Hearing a wolf howl at night.

Did someone have a particularly strong influence on your experience with the youth paddle? Who was it? and how did they influence your experience?

I was disturbed by a couple of Cam’s stories, in particular the divers who overharvested sea cucumbers in their territory without permission and how under-appreciated the Gitga’at’s role in rescuing passengers from the Queen of the North is.

What lessons has this experience taught you?

A lot of people who have never been to the northwest coast do not appreciate what is at stake. It’s an abstraction to people who are pre-occupied with their stock portfolios, or making their fortunes in the tarsands, or appeasing lobbyists in Ottawa. It’s easy to look at a map from an office building in Calgary and think there’s nothing there, it’s like a blank canvas.  I think you need to smell the air, see the wildlife and meet the people to get a sense of how devastating a massive industrial project would be to the region.