Last week I had the remarkable experience of watching a seal catch and eat a beautiful bright silver salmon. The sleek head surprised a few of us as it emerged suddenly, triumphantly, wielding a large fish in its mouth. Those of us who gathered to watch, wondered how it would manage to eat the catch which was clearly too big for its mouth. Almost instantly, two other seals appeared, and as they tore at the fish, revealing bright pink and white flesh, we assumed they were fighting over the fish. As we watched however, it gradually became clear that they were not fighting, but rather helping each other and sharing the catch. After a bit, one of the smaller seals (a juvenile, perhaps?) retreated to the shore with a good chunk and the other two continued to rip apart and feast on their catch, periodically making room for a seagull or two to take part as well. It was a great opportunity for the young family watching with me; “see they’re sharing their food with each other and the birds.”
We so often think the world is about competing and fighting over meager shares, and seem surprised to notice cooperation. I had occasion to reflect further on this while attending Good Jobs for a Green Future, a Green Jobs BC conference of primarily trade unions and environmental groups, with a scattering of business and academics for good measure. We have been steeped in the rhetoric that we can either have a healthy environment or good jobs, but one is fundamentally opposed to the other. Well this gathering is out to prove the opposite. The development of green jobs means that we are able to work in a world where the health of the environment is paramount and from that we create meaningful work that supports healthy vibrant communities that are fun and interesting.
It’s about working together, collaborating to create the world we want to live in, rejecting the old jobs vs environment dichotomy. GSA has always strived to work collaboratively, recognizing that we humans are an integral part of the beautiful, abundant, diverse Georgia Strait ecosystem and must figure out how to live and work in healthy connection with each other and the land and ocean with which we live. Like the seals, we need to work together to provide the sustenance necessary to support our families and communities. From our multi-sector work in the Clean Marine Program to our push for salmon aquaculture transition to closed containment technology, GSA has always understood the importance of collaboration and inclusive problem solving.