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‘The love gives you the strength’

Our members who love their local forests, rivers, wildlife and community make our independent journalism possible. Here’s a celebration of that love 💖

When this photo popped up on my phone yesterday, it stopped me dead in my tracks. It was taken a year ago, in the lobby of a downtown Vancouver hotel around 10 p.m., at the end of a legendary day. 

My co-founder Carol Linnitt (left) and I were feeling frayed in that special way reserved for after you’ve put your heart and soul into something, and left absolutely everything you have on the field. That day we stood in front of a microphone outside of the B.C. Supreme Court and announced The Narwhal and photojournalist Amber Bracken were suing the RCMP for breaches of press freedom. The rest of the day was packed with media interviews, filming for a video project and dinner with our Narwhal colleagues.

Somehow, after all of that, sitting in that hotel lobby, our nervous systems frazzled, we just couldn’t stop laughing. Amber sat across from us, shooting a surreptitious video. “We’ve lost it,” I say to Carol. “We’re off our rocker,” she says back. I laugh some more. And then I say: “Our team’s so great. I just love them.”

That day feels like a lifetime ago somehow. In a way, it was. Carol recently gave birth to her second child, and looking at this photo of us from a year ago, I felt so much love for her, and the deep friendship between us that gave rise to The Narwhal and continues to sustain us through good times and bad.

Reflecting on that love, I couldn’t help but think about what David Suzuki told me in a recent interview.

“Without the love, I think you give up,” Suzuki said. “The love is what gives you the strength.”

It’s not just romantic love he’s talking about, but a love of nature — which reminded me of how The Narwhal got going in the first place back in 2018. In the years leading up to the launch, Carol and I used to go out surfing at Sombrio Beach, and those long days in the car and in the water together amongst the trees on the wild west coast of Vancouver Island inspired us to think bigger about what we could do if we trusted our deepest instincts. Surf trip by surf trip, we overcame our fears and moved forward with a vision for a non-profit news organization that met audiences where they were at, built a team of the best journalists across the country and fearlessly investigated stories about the natural world readers couldn’t find anywhere else.

Six years on, the two of us have multiplied into 25 staff. Our dream has come to fruition more quickly and more beautifully than we ever could have imagined. Even more remarkably, our membership — those who give whatever they can afford to support our journalism — has grown to 6,128 generous souls. Together, our members will give more than $1 million in 2024, an incredible feat at a time when news organizations big and small are struggling to survive.

Will you help us grow even stronger for the year to come by becoming a member of The Narwhal today?

Here’s what Tara Cullis-Suzuki told me during that recent interview. “I think it’s a very odd thing that when we are trying to work as environmentalists, we are always getting all these facts — we’re using our left brain and we’re trying to use logic and convince politicians and the public and so on,” Tara said. “But what is really at the heart of everything we do is emotion, it’s a sense of what could be done to make life better. And that is a kind of love.”

This dedication to making life better is one carried by all of us here at The Narwhal, but especially by loyal readers like you who love their local forests, rivers, wildlife, community members and — yes — independent journalism, too. 

But the reality is our in-depth journalism about the natural world is only possible because of the 6,128 members and counting who donate whatever they can each month or year, and we need 222 new members to join this month to stay on budget.

Thank you to each and every one of you for sharing your love and hope for the planet with us here at The Narwhal. The work we do is not always easy, but it is always worth it.

You make our journalism possible and, perhaps even more importantly, you remind us why we do this work — for you. 

Keep the love alive, 

Emma Gilchrist
Editor-in-chief

P.S. Every new member who joins, at any amount, helps ensure we can cover the places you love. Will you make a difference today and become one of the 222 new members we need to sign up by the end of the month? 

We’ve got big plans for 2024
Seeking out climate solutions, big and small. Investigating the influence of oil and gas lobbyists. Holding leaders accountable for protecting the natural world.

The Narwhal’s reporting team is busy unearthing important environmental stories you won’t read about anywhere else in Canada. And we’ll publish it all without corporate backers, ads or a paywall.

How? Because of the support of a tiny fraction of readers like you who make our independent, investigative journalism free for all to read.

Will you join more than 6,000 members helping us pull off critical reporting this year?
We’ve got big plans for 2024
Seeking out climate solutions, big and small. Investigating the influence of oil and gas lobbyists. Holding leaders accountable for protecting the natural world.

The Narwhal’s reporting team is busy unearthing important environmental stories you won’t read about anywhere else in Canada. And we’ll publish it all without corporate backers, ads or a paywall.

How? Because of the support of a tiny fraction of readers like you who make our independent, investigative journalism free for all to read.

Will you join more than 6,000 members helping us pull off critical reporting this year?

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Thousands of members make The Narwhal’s independent journalism possible. Will you help power our work in 2024?
Will you help power our journalism in 2024?