Call for moratorium on old growth logging: enough is enough
Direct action — that’s what’s happening at Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew right now as concerned citizens establish a presence to protect the last intact tributary on the San Juan River and one of the few pockets of ancient forest in the region. The Fairy Creek blockade brings focus to the plight of our old growth forests once again, amongst an ongoing and ever-growing chorus from scientists, environmental organizations and B.C. citizens. In the absence of a substantive plan that considers the public good, forest management in this province is dominated by corporate need for ever-increasing and immediate economic returns — an impossibility in the face of finite and dwindling old growth forests. It’s a need that we can never ever satisfy. Meanwhile, some of our most important needs — maintaining the earth’s biodiversity and addressing the climate crisis — are being put aside.
With one per cent of old growth forest left, B.C. citizens must be wondering about the government’s headlong rush to harvest all that remains, even when it’s located on steep hillsides and difficult terrain. Nothing is sacred anymore — First Nations reconciliation and culture, biodiversity, climate crisis benefits, the reverence for intact ecosystems. When is enough enough?
The scientific report BC’s Old Growth Forest: A Last Stand for Biodiversity recently authored by Dr. Rachel Holt, Dr. Karen Price and David Daust presents a clear picture of the losses we have suffered and what we still stand to lose. One can only wonder about the recommendations of the Old-Growth Strategic Review Panel, currently languishing on the desk of Forests Minister Doug Donaldson. Is that the reason for the rush to harvest it all before that report is released?
The myth of forest and related jobs has now been exploded with the careful research Forestry Doesn’t Pay the Bills, Folks, written by David Broadland of Focus Magazine. Now we discover that taxpayers are subsidizing the industry to the tune of a million dollars a day. That is money that should be funneled to education, habitat conservation, health and social programs.
The truth is that old growth forests have a value far beyond the immediate monetary value they might bring. Old growth is cited as a critical element in our climate crisis strategy, a system that provides the air we breathe, the water we drink, habitat for wildlife, a biodiversity that provides food, health and wellness benefits, not to mention the uses we have yet to discover. Our children, grandchildren and those to come will need old growth forests more than ever before. Intact old growth can and does provide jobs beyond cutting it all down — recreation, ecotourism, education, research, culture, value-added wood products, just to name a few. No one visits Super Natural B.C. to see clearcuts.
The Fairy Creek blockade is reminiscent of Clayquot Sound in 1993 when nearly 11,000 people came to protest the clear-cut logging practices of government and industry. People were arrested by the hundreds, willing to pay the court fines if it meant saving the forest. It was a direct action that succeeded — an important lesson that could be repeated at Fairy Lake. At this point we must all take a stand about what is important to the citizens of B.C. To destroy our ecosystems is to destroy ourselves.
Enough is enough.