Langley resident Ted Lightfoot created a weatherproof mural of an Orca to mark World Wetlands Day. Black Press Media photo

Langley resident Ted Lightfoot created a weatherproof mural of an Orca to mark World Wetlands Day. Black Press Media photo

VIDEO: We must save our wetlands to save humanity, B.C. activist says

For World Wetlands Day, Ted Lightfoot created a weatherproof mural of an orca

  • Feb. 2, 2019 12:20 p.m.

To save ourselves, we need to save our wetlands, environmental activist Ted Lightfoot believes.

“Save the wetlands, you save the salmon, you save the beavers, you save the orcas, you save humanity,” Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot spoke Saturday in Langley at the unveiling of a weatherproof mural of an orca at the Kwantlen First Nation cultural centre for World Wetlands Day.

It took Lightfoot, a former biologist, a week to complete the mural, using different coloured tarpaulins and mother-of-pearl for the eyes.

Lightfoot planned to display the banner at another World Wetlands Day event later in the day.

“The importance of wetlands is paramount,” said Lightfoot.

“The killer whales are all dependant on the salmon.”

World Wetlands Day aims to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands by marking the anniversary of the 1971 creation of an worldwide agreement on wetlands in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

Canada is one of 170 countries that have signed the international convention on wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, a treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

This year, event organizers focused on wetlands as a natural solution to climate change.

Wetlands buffer coastlines from extreme weather, while coastal wetlands such as salt marshes, mangroves, seagrass beds, and coral reefs act like shock absorbers to reduce the intensity of waves, storm surges, and tsunamis.

Inland wetlands such as flood plains, rivers, lakes and swamps “function like sponges, absorbing and storing excess rainfall and reducing flood surges,” a ramsar.org online message states.

“Wetlands are the most effective carbon sinks on Earth.”

Since 1970, an estimated 35 per cent of the wetlands have been lost, releasing centuries of stored carbon.

“Individuals, communities and governments must work together to protect these amazing ecosystems, which help us prepare for, cope with and bounce back from the impacts of climate change.”

READ MORE: Langley man travels coast-to-coast to honour Canada’s national symbol

Last year, Lightfoot was given an Environmental Hero Award for his work protecting the fish habitat and riparian area for Nathan Creek in North Langley.

Lightfoot formed the West Creek Awareness Group, and has been actively involved with WOLF (Watchers of Langley’s Forests), the Glen Valley Watershed Society, the Langley Field Naturalists and the Langley Environmental Partners Society.

Lightfoot built a mobile display trailer depicting beaver habitat and the beaver as a keystone species of Canada. At his own expense, he travelled across the country to raise awareness about the beaver, its habitat and importance to the history and natural environment.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dan Law is Tofino’s new mayor. (Westerly file photo)
Dan Law elected mayor of Tofino

Cathy Thicke and Jacky Challenger earn council seats.

District of Tofino election official Jayson Towers and election deputy chief Cass Spence welcome Tofitians to the polls. (Nora O’Malley photo)
TOFINO BY-ELECTION 2021: General voting day is today

Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Tofino Community Hall

Nelly and Jens Heyduck hold samples of their Ahoy Bags made from discarded sails. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet’s Ahoy Bags up for two Small Business BC Awards

German-Canadian wife and husband team transform old sails into one-of-a-kind beach bags

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is investigating the shooting of a Tla-o-qui-aht man by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht on Feb. 27. (Black Press Media file photo)
‘Police have killed more TFN members than COVID has,’ First Nation demands transparency in Tofino RCMP shooting investigation

Julian Jones, a 28 year-old Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation man was shot and killed by police on Feb. 27.

Blue Crush Concierge co-owners Ashley Wells and Erika Greenland, pictured here following COVID-19 social distancing alongside their dogs Hank and Lady Bird, are up for two SBBC awards. (Photo courtesy of Erika Greenland)
Three Tofino companies up for Small Business BC Awards

Tofino Kombucha, Blue Crush Concierge and Surf Sister all received nomination honours.

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read