Onto the STRETCH GOAL!!!!! $20,000
If we can bring in another $5,000, we'll produce a powerful piece of journalism on the Mount Polley mine disaster of 2014.
You may or may not know the story of this environmental disaster. But it was so bad, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs' Grand Chief Stewart Phillip compared it to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.
Disaster or an ongoing environmental catastrophe or example of nature coming back strong?
We don't know. We know that when the Mount Polley tailings pond had a breach, it emptied years of mining waste into the neighbouring creeks, lakes and river. And we know at the time, salmon were sickened by the toxicity of the debris. How have they been doing since that time?
If we make our stretch goal, we can afford to find out and bring that story to hundreds of thousands of readers.
With your support, we can report on how the Mount Polley disaster has impacted local wildlife, particularly salmon, over the last three years. We'll put two reporters to work to quickly bring this story to Canadians in time for British Columbia's provincial election.
The State of the Animal got funded today!
The State of the Animal is an ongoing series by the award-winning Canadian news team at National Observer.
Please back this project so we can tell a moving and important story of whales and bears in the Great Bear Rainforest.
We'll look at how global warming, trophy hunting and the fracking industry are impacting these animals. We'll also explore how their habitat is being affected, their amazing home in the temperate rainforest of Canada's West Coast.
Your dollars will fund research with scientists, naturalists, local First Nations, and other experts on the humpback whales, orcas, Spirit Bears, and grizzlies in North America's most precious coastal wilderness.
Please pledge now so we can start reporting on stories that otherwise will simply not be told.
The thing about bears...
Whether you live in Toronto, Manhattan or Montreal, you probably have fond memories of reading bear stories to a child (or being read to) — those magical furry creatures with adorable ears.
From Winnie the Pooh to dear old Paddington, bears have a disarming way of helping us see ourselves in the world.
There's something deeply nourishing to the human psyche, knowing that 'Wild Things' still roam the earth. It's the stuff of mythology. It feeds imagination, fuels dreams, and inspires adventures.
And about those whales...
Beneath the ocean, we are enchanted by the profound grace and mystery of whales. They delighted us as children with their songs and spouts, and as adults, rekindle a deep sense of connection with other sentient beings.
Maybe you even relished singing to your kids about the baby whale frolicking in the sea, asking 'Is your mamma home?'
The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest coastal temperate rainforest left on Earth.
Stretching 64,000 square kilometres from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to Alaska, it's famous for towering fjords, thousand-year-old trees, First Nations communities, and of course, those impossibly magical white Spirit Bears, which are found nowhere else on the planet.
You might think the Great Bear Rainforest is a place beyond time and the ravages of industry. But this is a critical moment for the wild animals of the Earth, even in a remote and magnificent rainforest.
While most of the ancient trees have been protected by conservation legislation, the rainforest animals remain at risk.
They're threatened by trophy hunting, climate change, new pipelines, and industrial projects that would send tankers of fracked gas through this stunning ecosystem.
British Columbia still permits trophy hunting of grizzly bears, even in the Great Bear Rainforest.
Local First Nations oppose the practice, as do more than 90 per cent of the people in the province. Yes, you read that right — 90 per cent, which means more people still believe Elvis is alive than support the grizzly trophy hunt.
And most of the trophy hunters coming to the Great Bear Rainforest are Americans, looking for a thrill by getting their kill.
The New York Times calls British Columbia the "Wild West" of political cash because its government refuses to limit donations to political parties. Millions of dollars pour in from foreign sources and corporate interests.
Back this project and you'll be funding investigations into the political donations and money trail behind the trophy hunt.
You'll also be funding interviews with scientists, First Nations, and other wildlife and climate experts to learn how climate change, hunting and industrial development are impacting the delicate balance of the rainforest.
You'll learn how warming waters are affecting the lives of whales and salmon. You'll learn what songs the humpbacks are singing. You'll learn how noise from ships and tankers impacts life under the sea.
Back the team at National Observer
There are so many reasons that your support is critical. Please back this project today and we can get started, even before this Kickstarter ends!
Your support will send National Observer's award-winning reporting team into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. We'll bring back the same kind of stunning, audiovisual, feature-length stories that have made us a daily read for tens of thousands of Canadian households.
We will bring this astounding place to life through words, videos, pictures. We will listen, read, write, and speak the truth.
There is no undo button.
"Once we lose the wild places and wild things that live here, we'll never get them back... We cannot undo some things once they are done."
That's the way Moira Le Patourel, a naturalist who spends months every year in the Great Bear Rainforest, described the urgency of the moment.
But it's a future you can help prevent. It's not too late, and with your help, National Observer will give a voice to these silent creatures that will echo in the halls of policy-makers and advocacy groups around the world.
Here's why we're worth it
National Observer is a progressive, proudly independent, made-in-Canada news outlet.
We're committed to bringing you stories about animals from across Canada, from Spirit Bears in the Great Bear Rainforest to the threatened caribou in Quebec. From the wolf cull to the trophy hunt; from animal experimentation to animal welfare — our journalists are winning awards for their off-the-beaten-path investigative journalism.
Across Canada, National Observer is known for its in-depth coverage on under-reported stories. We specialize in climate, energy, business, culture and politics.
Our reporters get days, weeks, sometimes even months, to do what it really takes for the investigative reporting that is so vital to defending democracy.
Many of our long-term investigations and features can be found in our Special Reports section.
We know Kickstarter, and we know journalism.
And believe it or not, we were actually founded through Kickstarter. We're a team of veterans and young reporters who got together to challenge the lack of meaningful coverage on climate and the environment.
Founder and editor-in-chief Linda Solomon Wood guides and manages the organization from Vancouver. In Ottawa, managing editor Mike De Souza directs the investigative team. Bruce Livesey is our lead investigative reporter and he works from Toronto.
To date, we have successfully over-delivered on three Kickstarter projects: the 'Tar Sands Reporting Project' in 2014, 'Reports from the Energy Battlegrounds' in 2015, and 'Reports from the Race Against Climate Change' in 2016. Kickstarter even named us the "most socially responsible project" of the year in Canada.
A history of award-winning animal stories
And when it comes to animals, we get it.
In 2016, our senior national reporter Elizabeth McSheffrey won the Clement Award for Media from the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals for her unparalleled coverage of animal welfare issues in Canada.
Her investigations uncovered the legislative loopholes that permit cruel farming practices in Canada, the ethics of animal liberation, how pets keep getting caught in fur traps, and the deficiencies in a federally-funded regulator for animals in science.
Elizabeth caught Canadian luxury retailer, Kit and Ace, lying to the public about its use of canine fur, which ultimately led to the company banning its use the following year.
We don't mean to brag
We swear we don't mean to brag, but we want you to feel confident that we can pull this off.
At the 2016 Canadian Online Publishing Awards, National Observer won gold as the 'Independent Publisher of the Year,' and in the categories of 'Best News Coverage' and 'Best Column.' We won the Canadian Journalism Foundation's Excellence in Journalism Award in 2012 and 2014.
Thanks to successful Kickstarter funding, we have already built a progressive news platform, in a country dominated by Conservative-controlled media, that:
- Exposed the oil industry's powerful influence over the government of former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
- Exposed conflicts of interest behind the biggest pipeline proposal in Canada and its government oversight panel, prompting the chief executive of the National Energy Board and the pipeline panel members to recuse themselves.
None of it would have happened without Kickstarter and it especially wouldn't have happened without you.
We mean business
Your support highlights inspiring solutions in the race against climate change; stories of breakthrough technology, resilient communities and individuals making the world more sustainable as we transition off fossil fuels.
This kind of reporting is expensive, time-consuming, and URGENT.
Thank you ahead of time for backing the project.
And thank you to nature photographer Brad Hill for our project photo "Eyes of a Spirit" of a spirit bear in a crab tree.
Witness Living Treasures first hand on a Great Bear Rainforest Cruise.
The $13,000 reward will give you the opportunity to see this magnificent coastal rainforest for yourself on a eight-day cruise with members of National Observer's reporting team.
Don't miss your chance! Check out the video below.
For your reference:
More than 2,000 people have backed National Observer's award-winning reporting on energy, climate and the environment since 2013. Get to know our in-depth journalism better by viewing our last three Kickstarter projects...
Risks and challenges
National Observer's editorial team are true Kickstarter veterans who have over-delivered every time. National Observer was founded with funding from a Kickstarter campaign in 2015! We're managed and owned by a dynamite team of women (and a few great men) and we are confident we will succeed. Having a female CEO and editor-in-chief is incredibly rare in the news industry. We emphasize diversity on our team, a passion for the craft, compassion and expertise. Our mission is high quality, in-depth investigative journalism on energy, environment and climate.
The risk? If you've read this far, you probably get it. The risk is that too few stories will be told; too many people will pay too little attention.
All we'll hear about is the latest thing Donald Trump said or did. The risks of fracked gas, trophy hunting and climate change will remain as invisible as the carbon we pump into the air.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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