By Lea Hogdal
Students for The Salish Sea are fighting for its survival and protection, as a broad set of environmental issues continue to threaten it. The Salish Sea is a watershed that is divided between Canada and the U.S. While it is split between borders, it’s ecosystem is undivided and needs to be treated as such, members at the meeting said.
“We wanted to work towards creating a healthy Salish Sea; a healthy biological and cultural watershed,” Izzi Lavallee, a junior and one of the head members, said.
The club began just last fall and has been fast-moving ever since. In its first year the club raised $21,000 during various campaigns and has now helped expand the club to eight other universities that border the Salish Sea. Jane Werner, a senior at Western and another head member, says they wanted to get bases covered from all corners of the Salish Sea to protect it, and save it.
Their first benefit was the Lelu Island “Salmon is Life” fundraiser, which consisted of an organic and locally donated wild salmon dinner. The event was a success, with a turnout of about 100 people.
It was, as Werner puts it, an “entry for who we are as students for the Salish Sea.” This event allowed them to get recognized by the community and is what ultimately sparked the growing Salish Sea club movement.
The club is currently moving forward on many projects, including bake sales, beach cleanups, documentary nights and a November fundraiser concert. This allows students the opportunity to volunteer in whatever capacity they can, whether that be taking part in bake sales or in campaigns such as the “no net pens” campaign, as pictured above.
The club is a welcoming and creative space for anyone who wants to make a difference in the environmental issues of their own community. Lavallee speaks to her own experiences in the group.
“I personally feel that we are doing this work to heal the Salish Sea watershed, not for our own egos, but for the future generations and the incredible creatures subject to human exploitation and destruction. [Creatures] who do not have a voice and have been marginalized into extinction.”