MaPP: environmental sustainability of the North Pacific Coast 

Photo: 2021 BC Reconciliation Award recipient, Marine Plan Partnership

The North Pacific Coast covers more than 100,000 km2  of British Columbia’s coastline, extending from northern Vancouver Island to Canada’s border with Alaska, from shore to the continental slope. The sheer scale of this coastal region is reflected in the ambitious nature of the Marine Plan Partnership, known as MaPP, a collaborative initiative between eighteen First Nations and the Province of British Columbia.  

Established in 2011, MaPP aims to develop marine spatial plans that support both environmental sustainability and economic prosperity in the region. MaPP respects Indigenous rights and title, recognizing Indigenous peoples as stewards of the land and sea. Indigenous-led marine planning ensures that environmental sustainability is rooted in Indigenous perspectives and practices, contributing to the holistic management of marine resources. Their endeavors resulted in them receiving the 2021 BC Reconciliation Award.  

At its core, MaPP recognizes the critical importance of environmental sustainability in managing the coastal and marine resources of the North Pacific Coast. The region is rich in biodiversity, supporting diverse ecosystems ranging from temperate rainforests to productive marine habitats. However, it also faces significant pressures from human activities such as shipping, fishing, tourism, and resource extraction. 

One of the primary objectives of MaPP is to identify and designate areas for ecosystem protection and conservation. Through extensive consultation with Indigenous Nations, stakeholders, and scientific experts, MaPP develops marine spatial plans that establish marine protected areas (MPAs) and other conservation measures to safeguard sensitive habitats and species. 

MaPP seeks to promote the sustainable use of marine resources, including fisheries, aquaculture, and marine transportation. By establishing zones for different activities based on ecological considerations and community priorities, MaPP aims to minimize conflicts between resource users while ensuring the long-term health and productivity of marine ecosystems. 

In light of the growing impacts of climate change on coastal and marine environments, MaPP integrates considerations of climate resilience into its planning processes. This includes identifying areas of ecological significance, enhancing ecosystem resilience to climate stressors, and mitigating the impacts of sea-level rise and ocean acidification. 

MaPP’s collaborative and adaptive approach to marine planning prioritizes environmental sustainability while supporting the social, cultural, and economic well-being of coastal communities. By integrating Indigenous knowledge, scientific expertise, and stakeholder engagement, MaPP strives to achieve a balance between conservation and development, ensuring that the North Pacific Coast remains healthy and resilient for generations to come. 

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BC jewellery designers embrace sustainability 

Photo: 2022 Applied Art + Design Award recipient, Louise Perrone

Sustainability in jewellery design looks at the environmental and social impacts of the industry while creating beautiful, enduring pieces. In BC, designers like Bridget Catchpole and Louise Perrone are leading the way in incorporating sustainable practices into their jewellery brands. 

As a 2023 recipient of the Applied Art + Design Award, Bridget Catchpole, based on Hornby Island, embodies the ethos of sustainable jewellery design through her commitment to ethical sourcing and eco-friendly materials. She recognizes the importance of minimizing the environmental footprint of jewellery production and prioritizes using recycled materials in her designs.  

With a distinct artistic vision, Bridget stands out as a pioneer in the use of single-use plastics and marine debris, addressing critical issues such as material exploitation, consumerism, and climate change through her artistry. 

Photo: 2023 Applied Art + Design Award recipient, Bridget Catchpole

Bridget’s contemporary art jewellery is meant to be cherished for years to come, avoiding trends that contribute to a culture of disposable fashion. Bridget’s art is truly transformative, demonstrating her unique ability to elevate everyday objects into captivating one-of-a-kind adornments. She consistently seeks inspiration through collaborations with esteemed international contemporary artists, pushing the boundaries of creativity. 

Bridget’s work implicitly speaks to the human condition, emphasizing the importance of biodiversity and urgently calling for a re-evaluation of our relationship with discarded materials. Her creative vision not only celebrates her artistic passion but also serves as a powerful reminder of the pressing issues facing our world today. 

Similarly, Louise Perrone, a jewellery designer based in Vancouver, embraces sustainability in her brand’s designs. Louise is a recipient of the 2022 Applied Art + Design Award who takes pride in making things with her hands and using unconventional materials in an interesting way.  

Louise’s textile jewellery explores issues of gender, labour, and sustainability by combining goldsmithing traditions with hand-sewing. Using materials derived from domestic and industrial textile and plastic waste, Louise’s work involves altering plastic objects and enveloping them in fabric, inviting a consideration of what jewellery can conceal and reveal about the maker, the wearer, and ourselves. 

“By taking this waste, this rubbish and elevating it through an appreciation for making things with your hands and using skills that have been passed down through generations, it creates a piece of jewellery which is often associated with value,” says Louise. 

Both Bridget and Louise demonstrate that sustainability can be integrated into every aspect of jewellery design, from material sourcing to production and beyond. Their brands serve as shining examples of how designers can create innovative jewellery without compromising on their environmental and social responsibilities.  

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Sḵwálwen Botanicals: incorporating sustainability into plant-based skincare products

Photo: Leigh Joseph, Skwálwen Botanicals, 2020 Indigenous Business Award recipient

Sḵwálwen Botanicals exemplifies the profound intersection between sustainability and Indigenous business practices. Based in Squamish, Sḵwálwen Botanicals is a recipient of the 2020 Indigenous Business Award, showcasing its dedication to both cultural preservation and environmental stewardship. 

Skwálwencreates small batch botanical skincare products based on Indigenous plant science while honouring traditional Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) plant knowledge. Its products incorporate wild harvested plants with organic, high-quality ingredients. As an ethnobotanist and scientist, founder, and PhD candidate, Leigh Joseph leads her company in handcrafting skincare products inspired by traditional Indigenous plant knowledge, passed down through generations. By incorporating Indigenous botanical ingredients such as cedar, salal, and sage, Sḵwálwen Botanicals not only celebrates Indigenous culture but also promotes sustainable harvesting practices. 

Sustainability is woven into every aspect of Sḵwálwen Botanicals‘ operations, reflecting a holistic approach to business that prioritizes environmental responsibility. Here’s how sustainability plays a pivotal role in the company’s ethos: 

1. Ethical Wildcrafting: Sḵwálwen Botanicals prioritizes ethical wildcrafting, which involves harvesting plants in a manner that respects their natural growth patterns and ensures their long-term viability. By practicing sustainable harvesting techniques and obtaining permission from landowners and Indigenous communities, the company minimizes its impact on wild plant populations. 

2. Traditional Knowledge: Sḵwálwen Botanicals honours Indigenous traditional knowledge by incorporating ancestral teachings into its product formulations. By valuing and preserving Indigenous plant wisdom, the company contributes to the revitalization of traditional ecological knowledge systems, which are essential for sustainable resource management. 

3. Environmental Conservation: Sḵwálwen Botanicals is committed to environmental conservation and biodiversity protection. The company carefully selects botanical ingredients that are native to the region and promotes the restoration of Indigenous plant habitats. Additionally, Sḵwálwen Botanicals minimizes waste and utilizes eco-friendly packaging materials to reduce its environmental footprint. 

4. Community Engagement: Sḵwálwen Botanicals actively engages with Indigenous communities and collaborates with local artisans and knowledge keepers. Along with donating product for events, raffles and community use, Skwálwen has planted hundreds of Indigenous plants back onto the lands in partnership with Indigenous youth. 

 By fostering partnerships with Indigenous organizations and supporting community-led initiatives, the company strengthens cultural connections and promotes economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples. 

Through its commitment to sustainability and Indigenous values, Sḵwálwen Botanicals demonstrates the transformative potential of business as a force for positive change. By honouring traditional knowledge, promoting environmental stewardship, and uplifting Indigenous communities, Sḵwálwen Botanicals embodies a vision of sustainable business rooted in respect, reciprocity, and reverence for the natural world. 

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