We must redefine ‘sustainable’

We must redefine ‘sustainable’

Even 10 years ago, I believe growing more trees than were harvested was considered “sustainable”.

We must redefine ‘sustainable’

I watched the video of the Dec. 19 Municipality of North Cowichan meeting and am greatly appreciative of the welcome and the allotment of time for public expression. We are a community of great diversity and when we come together like this, showing respect for one another and listening, I know we will create and maintain healthy social and political avenues in line with the beautiful natural setting we live in and value.

Now, how to move forward?

I didn’t hear anyone say they wanted to see our forests managed in an unsustainable manner. So let’s start with what we have in common, the desire to manage our municipal forests in a sustainable way. To work together from this common baseline we need to understand what we mean by “sustainable”.

Thirty, 20, even 10 years ago, I believe growing more trees than were harvested was considered “sustainable”. Admittedly, there has been some greater recognition and more science applied to forestry management and I am thankful that our Forestry Advisory Team is so conscientious. Most recently as the degradation of the planet’s resources has exponentially increased and is reaching a “tipping point”, greater attention, science, and resources have been devoted to renewing what has been used and abused and the definition of “sustainable” has broadened even further.

Clear cuts are not sustainable. Scraping all leftover scraps into a pile and burning them is not sustainable. Planting a mono culture is not sustainable. Applying toxic fertilizers and pesticides is not sustainable. A tree farm is not a forest.

I want our municipal forests to be forests. Living a natural life cycle is sustainable. A canopy of tall, strong trees is sustainable. Letting what has died drop to the forest floor to decompose and create a rich nutrient base to support new growth is sustainable. An understory that provides habitat for diverse species, retains soil and moisture, and inhibits the spread of invasive species is sustainable.

When this environment is in place, there will be opportunity to selectively remove trees in a way that does no harm to the overall health of the forest system. The priority though, should be the health of the forest ecosystem over the removal of trees. This is the crux of what sustainable means now; the health of the ecosystem over the extraction of resources.

With this as our baseline, we will live in abundance of natural beauty in our backyards, spiritual health in our hearts, and mental health in our minds. This balance with nature need not mean live in depravation, just not in denial or greed.

Please extensively research the models of sustainable forest management used both locally and internationally that were put forward at the meeting.

Thank you for listening, and because of this willingness to listen, I am uplifted and more confident that we will rise to meet the challenges of our time with integrity.

Martha Lescher

Duncan

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

Just Posted

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Parking permits for people with disabilities

These permits are issued to the person, not the vehicle owner or driver.

Dr. Bernhardt’s freshly planted strawberries. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Hoping for a bumper crop of strawberries

Because our new plot gets a lot of sun, maybe strawberries won’t become consumed by wood bugs

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson Column: Newton’s first law of motion

I could have sworn I told them to help each other get unbuckled and to come inside.

Commercial property owners in Duncan will have an opportunity to beef up their security in 2021 with matching grants from the municipality. (File photo)
City of Duncan to help commercial properties increase security

Municipality to set up matching grant opportunities

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Most Read