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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Environmental issues in British Columbia : an historical-geographical perspective Qureshi, Yasmeen


Concern for the state of the natural environment has been growing throughout the world in recent years as it becomes clear that the world is in the midst of an environmental crisis. In B.C., this has led to widespread public controversy over issues such as pollution, logging, and the preservation of wilderness areas. This thesis seeks to bring present conflicts into perspective by examining the historical roots of the various discourses on the environment in B.C. Present environmental controversies take place within a legislative framework, therefore some understanding of the historical development of that legislation and the predominant attitudes that helped shape it is necessary. The first two chapters of this thesis provide this background, focusing on forest policy and parks and wilderness policy. The third chapter addresses the outdoor recreationists, the sport hunters and anglers of B.C., who, although often contributing to the depletion of wildlife populations, also helped shape wildlife policy and worked for the preservation of wildlife habitats. With the foundations for the environmental movement set, the fourth chapter deals with the rise of the environmental movement and environmental interest groups during the 1960's and 70's. This includes a discussion of the counter culture, general social changes of the period, the rise of ecology, and protests in Strathcona Park during the late 1980's. The final chapter considers the reactions of the forest industry to the environmental movement. The forest industry has never had to be so aware of public opinion and so cautious about the image it projects as it is now. The focus is on one major company, MacMillan Bloedel, and the evolution of its public relations policies during the 1960's and 70's.

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