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Climate change requires action in BC

July 10, 2014, Vancouver - As national controversy about how to address climate change continues, four of B.C.'s professional associations, representing more than 9,000 forest professionals, professional biologists and technologists, and professional planners, released a joint statement recognizing that "climate change is occurring and it has fundamental impacts on British Columbia's communities and ecosystems." This is the first time anywhere in the world that a joint statement of this kind has been released by professional associations, and recognizes the role and responsibility of the associations and their members in addressing climate change.

The Joint Statement commits the professional associations to take steps to enable and encourage their members to "incorporate the best available climate-science into [their] professional decisions." As well, the professional associations ask all levels of government to support the role of professionals through "strong action and leadership on climate change."

"Forest professionals are used to planning many years out, so we have been seeing the effects of climate change for a while now," said Sharon Glover, CEO of the Association of BC Forest Professionals. "Formally acknowledging that the ecosystem is being affected by climate change is an important first step towards taking adaptive actions. We look forward to working with the other professions to ensure climate change is addressed."

"The College of Applied Biology has developed practice guidance on incorporating principles of stewardship which calls for our members to take a comprehensive, holistic view, maintain resilient ecosystems, assess alternatives and maintain future options in all of their work," explained Pierre Iachetti, PAg, RPP, MCIP, Executive Director of the College of Applied Biology. "The joint statement on climate change complements our principles of stewardship and fits with our mandate of upholding and protecting the public interest by preserving and protecting the scientific methods and principles that are the foundation of the applied biological sciences."

"Professional Planners in BC recognize that climate change is real and are concerned about its probable negative impacts on communities, economic well-being, and of course the environment" says, Andrew Young, President of the Planning Institute of British Columbia. "Unified action is needed now to help reduce the vulnerability of current and future generations to climate change induced impacts. BC's Registered Professional Planners look forward to collaborating with other professionals to help address the challenges created by climate change."

"Globally, the involvement and input from biology professionals is paramount to preventing, minimizing, adapting and monitoring the effects of climate change," said Megan Hanacek, RPF, RPBio, Managing Director of the Association of Professional Biology. "Continued collaborative work between members of natural resource professional associations and governing bodies is key to tackling climate change, one of the greatest challenges ever faced by mankind and ecosystems."

The Joint Statement resulted from an ongoing series of meetings between representatives of the associations over the past year and a half to discuss the responsibilities of professionals in addressing climate change. The Associations hope that other professional associations, in BC, Canada and globally, will recognize the role, and responsibilities, that their members play to engage professionally with climate science and to incorporate it into their professional decision- making.

July 10, 2014  By Association of BC Forest Professionals

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