The Fairy Creek blockade, defending the last remaining intact watershed that feeds the San Juan River, is making news headlines this week. I fully support this action and although I am not a forester or a scientist, I am a retired psychotherapist, who grew up with a proud ex-logger father who hammered into his offspring that forests are resources to be exploited and even seen as an encroaching enemy of civilization. My parents’ post-war attitude of colonization was rooted in fear of difference, fear of strangers, of what is unclean, untameable, dark, and of the natural world. Genocide and ecocide are linked, just as greed and hatred are. Now we should know better. Wild ecosystems are actually vital to maintaining our human need for beauty, spiritual meaning, interdependency and integrity. With the imminent destruction of BC’s last remaining ancient forests, using the word “holocaust” seems horrifyingly accurate.
In June, a team of independent scientists, headed by Rachel Holt, revealed that the NDP have been obscuring how much old forest is left. She called their words, “incredibly misleading.” The official tally says there is 23% of the original ancient forest left. Rachel Holt claims most of that 23% are small old alpine trees and/or small old trees in boggy forests. She explains that big old forests make up 1% of that 23%. She predicts that if we keep cutting them down, all will disappear within 12 years. Karen Price, another scientist suggests that” the ecological web of life” is vanishing in front of our eyes. BC Timber Sales, are currently permitting logging in the Taylor River, Upper Tsitika Valley, the Nahmint and the Caycuse, and are poised to cut Dakota Ridge on the Sunshine Coast, home to many black bears and their huge cedar denning trees. Ironically, the Old-Growth Review panel has delayed the official news release until the fall. Unofficially, we know an overwhelming majority of the presenters want to save old-growth forests. This June, a report came out outlining plant and animal species only found in Canada. The conclusions states that we need to protect more lands to protect iconic species. Vancouver Island is the second biggest hotspot in Canada, full of iconic species, and yet it is being raped and pillaged as never before. BC has a global responsibility to save what ancient forest is left for many reasons:
1. Stabilizing climate: Old forests store alot more carbon than young
ones and they cool air temperatures. Ecological apocalypse and run
away tipping points are driven by deforestation and the demise of
2. Species at risk: Biodiversity depends on animals and plants having
enough space to reproduce and evolve. Salmon, orcas: rivers, streams, slope/soil stability, fungi,
birds and bear life cycles all interact and depend on
4. Indigenous land rights: Most or all of the forests being logged
were stolen from indigenous peoples. The logging corporations
consult with Band Counculs, using bribes of small logging operations, while hereditary family members are ignored.
5. Evolutionary Survival: Old-Growth is an apex phenomenon which takes
up to one thousand years to accomplish. The great mystery of evolution must be respected.
6. Pandemic restraints: Wild animals that live in forests carry
viruses that humans cannot withstand.
” The path of faith is protest.” Rabbi Jonathan Sacks