B.C. residents mark one year of provincial inaction to protect last remaining giant trees
April 30, 2021
Across British Columbia, people are marking the one year anniversary of provincial inaction for old growth forests today by visiting their local MLA offices bearing gifts.
səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Territories (Vancouver, BC) — Across British Columbia, people are marking the one year anniversary of provincial inaction for old growth forests today by visiting their local MLA offices bearing gifts.
Constituents from Vancouver Point Grey, North Vancouver-Lonsdale, Kootenay West, Nelson-Creston, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in Victoria and more delivered clocks — representing both a common one-year anniversary present and the urgency of the matter — as well as letters, and more calling for immediate bans on logging at-risk old growth forests. Dozens more joined the day of action online via video to deliver their personal message to the B.C. government. April 30 marks one year since the province received a landmark report and series of recommendations for old growth management reform, which brings attention to the serious threat to old growth forests in B.C., and the need for immediate logging deferrals.
The panel highlighted the risk of “irreversible biodiversity loss” in forest ecosystems, recommending that the province take action to defer logging in at-risk old growth forests within six months.
“Old growth forests are at a precipice in B.C. and people are increasingly frustrated by the lack of action from the provincial government,” said Tegan Hansen, forest campaigner at Stand.earth. “Without crucial logging deferrals, the last remaining old growth forests are being logged and ancient giants are lost forever. People will not simply stand by and watch this happen: the longer the province delays, the more constituents will take action to hold their elected officials responsible.”
The day of action coincides with mounting tensions surrounding old growth forests as the provincial government delays action on their commitment to fully implement all 14 recommendations from the old growth panel. During the fall election, Premier Horgan and the B.C. NDP made explicit promises to implement the recommendations in totality — including to immediately defer logging in areas of high ecological risk while fully involving and consulting with Indigenous Nations over the development and implementation of any associated policy or strategy. The government’s commitment to involve Indigenous peoples in decision-making processes around old growth is imperative; despite logging permits being issued in old growth areas that fall within Indigenous territories, Indigenous peoples have historically been largely excluded from high-level plans and orders that guide old forest management.
Despite these promises, the majority of at-risk old growth forests in BC remain open to logging, including vulnerable, biodiverse areas, like the Fairy Creek Watershed.
“Despite promises from the B.C. NDP, the vast majority of remaining, productive old growth forests in B.C. are still open to logging,” said Hansen. “A year ago today, the old growth panel charted a new path forward for old forests, but so far the province has stuck to the old handbook of talk and log policies. As people across the province take action to demand change, it’s time for the provincial government to honour their promises for old growth forests.”
Stand.earth is demanding that the provincial government immediately defer logging in at-risk old growth forests across B.C. in order to make space for full engagement with Indigenous Nations, and to establish immediate, transparent, and accessible funding pathways for Indigenous-led revenue and economic diversification planning, as well as conservation planning.
In keeping with Covid-19 safety measures, participants will not be gathering in groups but rather are encouraged to post photos of their delivery online with the hashtag #TimesUp4OldGrowth and leaving items at offices.
Photos will also be uploaded here throughout the day and available for media use.
Ziona Eyob, Canadian Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 604 757 7279 (Pacific Time)
*There are number of people available at multiple MLA offices for comment, please connect with the Canadian Communications Manager if you wish to obtain their contact information.*