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It’s time for the BC government to curb raw log exports and boost value-added forestry jobs

February 27

Between 2013 and 2016, more raw logs were shipped from BC than during any other four-year period in the province’s history, prompting two forest industry unions and three leading environmental groups to call for a ban on raw log exports from old-growth forests and bold government action to stimulate BC’s flagging forest sector.

Raw log exports. Photo by TJ Watt.

The call follows new research released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC Office (CCPA-BC) that shows how exports of raw, unprocessed logs are surging. If these logs were processed in some of BC’s hardest hit forestry communities, at least 3,600 new jobs could be generated.

Last year, BC forest companies exported enough raw logs to frame nearly 134,000 homes, which equals roughly half of  Vancouver’s standing single-family homes. Instead of creating thousands of good-paying jobs in rural communities, logs are exported in raw form.

The Public and Private Workers of Canada along with UNIFOR (Canada’s largest private sector union), the Ancient Forest Alliance, Sierra Club BC and the Wilderness Committee say the Province should enact a bold three-point plan to curb exports and stimulate jobs:

  1. Place an immediate ban on all exports of raw logs from old-growth forests.
  2. Immediately impose progressively higher taxes on log exports from second-growth forests to encourage investment in domestic mills.
  3. Introduce new policies to increase value-added forest manufacturing and jobs in rural and First Nations communities.

Four years of log export data analyzed by the CCPA-BC uncovered a number of disturbing trends in log exports from BC:

  • Between 2013 and 2016, nearly 26 million cubic meters of raw logs, with a combined sales value of more than $3 billion, were shipped from BC – more than any other four-year period since record keeping began.
  • More than one in three logs exported in the past five years came from BC’s centuries-old coastal old-growth rainforests
  • Most log exports in the past five years came from public lands under direct provincial control, not from private lands where the BC government has no jurisdiction, which is a sharp reversal from previous norms.

Vancouver Island rainforest. Photo by Charly Caproff.

Sierra Club BC is working toward solutions for healthy rainforests and healthy communities and worked with the BC government, First Nations and stakeholders on implementation of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements. Regional models like the Ecosystem-Based Management framework in the Great Bear Rainforest must be complemented with coherent province-wide conservation, climate and economic policies to ensure forestry can contribute jobs as part of a diverse, low carbon economy. For more information, please read our ten-point plan for transition toward this vision in our report, The Future is Here.

Please donate today to support our work protecting BC’s ancient and endangered old-growth forests.

Feature image by TJ Watt.

 

B.C. budget offers 1950s thinking in response to 2017’s challenges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 21, 2017

Sierra Club BC released the following statement from communications director Tim Pearson in response to the release of the 2017 B.C. Budget:

“This budget offers 1950s thinking in response to 2017’s challenges.

“It’s a budget blind to the need to transform our economy away from fossil fuels. It’s a budget blind to the potential jobs and prosperity that can be created with a realistic road map to a post-carbon economy. And it’s a budget that shows no meaningful commitment to climate action.

“Where are the investments in the affordable, renewable energy alternatives and innovation that will power our economy and provide jobs now and far into the future? Nowhere.

“Instead, we get support for the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tankers project, increased fracking and the Site C megadam—a boondoggle that will subsidize fossil fuel exploitation and drive ever increasing Hydro bills for decades to come.

“Every million dollars invested in fossil fuels generates two jobs. That same million dollars would deliver 15 jobs via renewable energy projects.

“If we want a thriving economy and good, green, family-supporting jobs, we need a budget that will drive a shift to a sustainable, post-carbon economy.

“We need affordable, climate-friendly energy sources that will create jobs in communities throughout B.C. and drive innovation in clean technology.

“We need a genuine commitment to forest health, not the re-announcement of last year’s reforestation funding and no real plan for how our forests will aid in climate action.

“For years, this government has treated the environment and climate change as an afterthought. This budget is no exception.

“It’s a blindness that will hurt our economy and rob us of jobs, as other jurisdictions leave us behind in innovation, as the market for fossil fuels evaporates and as British Columbians are left to pay down mountains of debt.”

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Contact:
Tim Pearson
Director of Communications, Sierra Club BC
(250) 896-1556
tim@sierraclub.bc.ca

Environmental groups applaud Ahousaht Land Use Vision

Clayoquot Sound Conservation Alliance supports Ahousaht leadership in conservation and community development goals announced today

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

January 25, 2017

TOFINO – This afternoon, the Ahousaht Hawiih (hereditary chiefs) publicly announced their nation’s new comprehensive Land Use Vision for their territory, which sits within the heart of the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Representatives of the Clayoquot Sound Conservation Alliance (CSCA) (comprised of Greenpeace, Friends of Clayoquot Sound, Sierra Club BC, STAND. earth and Wilderness Committee) were present to support and congratulate the Hawiih for this initiative.

“The Ahousaht Land Use Vision steps up to meet the environmental and social imperatives of the 21st century with solutions for rainforest conservation and community benefits within their famous territory, located in one of the most beautiful and ecologically rich landscapes in the world,” said Valerie Langer of Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics), a member of the CSCA.

Under the Land Use Vision about 80 percent of Ahousaht territory will be set aside as cultural and natural areas “to conserve biological diversity, natural landscapes and wilderness, and to provide for Ahousaht continued spiritual, cultural and sustenance use.”

The new Land Use Vision was developed by the Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS) under the direction of the Hawiih, in consultation with the community of Ahousaht First Nation. It identifies different land use designations for their territory. The bold vision moves Ahousaht First Nation away from old-growth logging and other unsustainable industries in ecologically important rainforest areas while prioritizing low-impact, community-led economic development by and for the Ahousaht people. The vision follows the declaration of a moratorium on old-growth logging in Ahousaht territory, made by the Hawiih in 2015.

The organizations that form the Clayoquot Sound Conservation Alliance have been advocating for the protection of the region’s globally significant temperate rainforest for more than three decades.

Ahousaht First Nation traditional territory sits in the heart of Clayoquot Sound, which remains the largest area of old-growth rainforest on Vancouver Island.

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Read the Ahousaht land use vision

For more information, please contact:

Valerie Langer, Strategic Projects, STAND.earth (formerly ForestEthics) (604) 307-6448

Jens Wieting, Forests & Climate Campaigner, SierraClub BC (604) 354-5312

Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner, Wilderness Committee (250) 516-9900

Jeh Custerra, Campaigner, Friends of Clayoquot Sound (306) 361-7855

Eduardo Sousa, Senior Forests Campaigner, Greenpeace (778) 378-9955

 

Feature image by Jens Wieting

The Coral of Vancouver Island’s Rainforest – An unprotected underworld

By Mark Worthing

January 2017

This article was originally published in Island Parent Magazine.

Have you ever hiked through the forests of Vancouver Island and come across rivers bursting out of the ground from seemingly nowhere? Or have you followed the path of a creek to find that the rushing water disappears underground? If you have, you’re likely walking on a karst landscape with a complex cave system of limestone, dolomite or marble beneath your feet.

Photo by Charly Caproff

Photo by Charly Caproff.

Vancouver Island has more caves than all of Canada combined. These caves are a result of the large limestone deposits that span along its length. Where this soluble rock is exposed to rainwater or to the surface of the earth (epikarst), we call this a karst landscape.

Thousands upon thousands of years of rainwater carves the bedrock through alchemy and time. This forms the magical architecture of underworld sinkholes, caverns, caves and disappearing rivers. This phenomenon happens to correlate with Vancouver Island’s spectacular ancient rainforest.

If you were to take a flight above a karst forest, you’d see a richer colour in the forest canopy. The most productive salmon-bearing streams in coastal B.C. feature karst somewhere within their river system. These limestone deposits have the same basic chemistry as coral reefs, oyster shells, eggshells and antlers.

After the last Ice Age, rich nutrients were left behind by receding glaciers. These provided the food today’s old-growth trees needed to develop into some of the planet’s most unique and magnificent forests. Over time, that fertile topsoil has been sucked up into the trees and other plants, carrying on the lifecycle of ancient forest ecology. This has helped create towering nutrient-rich cedar, spruce and Douglas fir trees with roots clutching coral limestone bedrock.

This gift of glacial nutrients only comes once. It now exists only within the decomposition cycles of dead plant matter and fungus on the spongy forest floor. The topsoil has also been pulled down into valley bottoms and waterways, creating healthy salmon-bearing rivers and exposing the karst bedrock below.

When a karst landscape gets this nutrient gift, one of the most endangered ecosystems on Vancouver Island is created: old-growth karst forests.

Unlike Alaska and Washington where there is stringent protection, British Columbia has absolutely no legislated protection for karst landscapes or even caves. A Cave Protection Act has been tabled for first reading in the B.C. Legislature more than once and the U.S. federal Cave Resources Protection Act was made into law over three decades ago. Yet the logging industry’s death grip on the provincial government seems to block attempts for legislation. Karst or cave protection might damper logging companies’ profit margins, so there is little political will to regulate.

Photo by Tristan Crosby.

Photo by Tristan Crosby.

There is also no protection for rivers or creeks that ‘disappear’ underground. Logging and road building is legal on top of areas that could be massive cave and karst systems. Not only is this dangerous to workers and a risk to public health, but it is belligerent negligence of a fragile ecosystem.

The logging culture on northern Vancouver Island is extremely cavalier, which is unfortunate as the north end of the island has the most caves and karst landscape features. The legendary Maquinna Cave near Tahsis has had its entrance covered and desecrated with logging and road-building debris. Logging-caused slides near Holberg have flooded out entire cave systems and clogged water drainage systems older than the country of Canada.

The forest of the Walbran Valley and northern Vancouver Island’s East Creek sit on top of karst limestone. Within the Flathead Valley of B.C.’s southern Rockies lies the deepest cave systems in North America. All of these cave systems are vulnerable without legislated cave or karst protection.

Yet there is hope for these magnificent places. First Nations leaders are asserting sovereignty over their lands and sacred cave sites. The Horne Lake Caves boast 17,000 visitors per year, and they recently received Destination B.C.’s first-ever Remarkable Experiences Award. Through ecotourism and parks, the public is becoming more and more engaged with the fascinating and fragile world below the roots of the ancient forests of Vancouver Island. So get out there and explore!

Feature image by Charly Caproff.

End of Old-Growth

By Mark Worthing

November 21, 2016

This article was originally published in the Watershed Sentinel.

Something remarkable happened in Victoria this September. The Union of British Columbia Municipalities, representing over 3 million British Columbians, voted to save all the remaining old-growth forests on Vancouver Island. Preceding this, British Columbia’s largest and most broadly-based business organization, the BC Chamber of Commerce, had voted for the protection of old-growth forests. They stated that forests garner more revenue when left standing because of their economic benefits (derived largely from tourism), and they urged the provincial government to legislate permanent protection through conservancies and parks.

Photo by Jens Wieting.

Photo by Jens Wieting.

Much of this energy precipitated one year ago from the Ahousaht ʔaahuusʔatḥ ḥawiiḥ (hereditary leadership) announcement of a moratorium on industrial scale logging in their ḥaaḥuułi (traditional territory) of Clayoquot Sound. Tyee Ḥawiiḥ Maquinna Lewis George announced that, “the end has come to the large scale logging operations of the past that leave much to be desired in the way of long lasting environmental footprint and very little community benefit.”

Many other First Nations on Vancouver Island are making similar moves by coming to their own conclusions about the archaic nature of old-growth logging economics, especially in a post-Tsilhqot’in-ruling legal context.

Increasingly, unions and forestry workers are calling for an end to old-growth logging, particularly in relation to raw log exports.

Arnold Bercov, president of the Public and Private Workers of Canada, explains how raw log exports have resulted in thousands of job losses, with more than half of coastal mills closing within 20 years. He argues for the retooling of mills for second growth in order to keep jobs in Canada and lessen the impact on old-growth forests. “Of the 18 mills on the coast, 14 are really tooled for old-growth, even though that is not the majority of wood being cut on the coast. At some point, that is just a recipe for disaster…. We’re talking about taking young people’s future and putting it on a boat and moving it offshore to other countries.”

The outstanding question is this: how can the provincial government ignore the cries of the business community, many First Nations, union workers, municipalities, and the environmental community while allowing the wholesale liquidation of one of our most important ecological and cultural gifts?

The companies practicing industrial-scale resource extraction have had a major influence on provincial policy, which can make it difficult to shift priorities going forward. This is reflected in Elections BC’s Financial Reports and Political Contributions System (contributions.electionsbc.gov.bc.ca) and amounts to about one million dollars over approximately ten years.

At a quick glance, the governing party received the following approximate contributions: Western Forests Products ($1/3 million), TimberWest ($1/4 million), Interfor ($50,000), Teal-Jones Forest Products (over $100,000), Canfor (over $100,000), Terminal Forest Products ($40,000), Truck Loggers Association ($56,000), Coast Forests Products Association ($100,000), Council of Forest Industries ($40,000), A&A Trading ($30,000), Holbrook Dyson Logging Ltd., Lemare Lake Logging Ltd., and the list goes on…

The governing party is making policy decisions that stand to benefit the businesses that support the party financially. All the while the public feels ignored.

Old growth tree - Andrew S. Wright

Photo by Andrew S. Wright.

What lies behind the lawlessness?
There are two policy barriers that hinder meaningful engagement with the public: the Vancouver Island Land Use Plan and the Forest Range and Practices Act.

The Vancouver Island Land Use Plan is a dusty old document that started out compromised and has subsequently been watered down. First, it employs old data sets with huge information gaps. Secondly, it doesn’t mention First Nations, their title, their opinions, their management priorities, or their territories. Lastly, it doesn’t include anything on climate change whatsoever. Somehow, despite these fatal flaws, this clunky old plan is what determines the fate of the landscape across Vancouver Island. It’s a shame and it needs to be put through the paper shredder.

Second only to the Vancouver Island Land Use Plan in archaic and irrelevant policy is the BC Forest Range and Practices Act (FRPA), which could more aptly be re-named the Logging Companies Wrote This Act Act. It gives little or no control to the regional district managers who manage their respective regions. Paradoxically, a regional district manager cannot actually deny a cutting permit.

FRPA is a compilation of the forestry objectives left over from the now axed Forest Practices Code. Unlike FRPA, the Code had mechanisms for public input on how companies could operate in Crown forests. Now, licensees draft sub-par Forest Stewardship Plans (FSPs) on which the public only rarely has an opportunity to give input. The Forest Practices Board, BC’s publicly funded forestry watchdog, concluded the following after a comprehensive investigation: “[FSPs are] not measurable or verifiable and therefore not enforceable … [they] do not demonstrate consistency with government’s objectives … [are] inadequate as tools for public review and comment … [are] difficult to understand, do not provide the type of information the public wishes … [have] intervals of ten or more years … [and] are not improving over time…. Innovation in FSPs is rare.”

In addition to the weaknesses of FRPA, the ministry responsible lacks the capacity to adequately ensure minimum compliance.

Logging Walbran photo by TJ Watt

Photo by TJ Watt.

In contrast, the provincial government provides significant oversight of an appraisal system through which the taxpaying public heavily subsidizes logging companies. While the American government doesn’t hold the hand of their logging companies, our provincial government bends over backwards to give higher tax subsidies to logging with higher operational costs. The provincial government subsidizes remote areas from which it is typically more expensive to extract timber (and which are often old-growth forests) more than they subsidize accessible, cost-effective areas. The public is paying to artificially keep this industry afloat. Meanwhile, the forestry industry maintains that logging operations are pursued in the interest of supporting communities and creating jobs.

So what happens when the regional land use plan is rickety, the regulatory regime for the industry is as fierce as a puppy, the global demand for a finite resource is booming, and you have a government unwilling to shift its policy priorities? You end up with privatization, a supreme lack of public input, and the liquidation of one of the most important ecological, climatic, and cultural phenomena known to the planet – old-growth forests. People are realizing that now is the time for this to end.

Knowing which way the wind blows
Somehow, despite the obvious fact that old-growth forests (especially high-productivity ones) are vanishing, the provincial government continues to perpetuate the myth that old-growth forests are not disappearing. They go so far as to make this mythical claim in a “factsheet.” If this weren’t so serious, it would be comical.

We owe it to our forestry workers, millworkers, and communities to shift policy priorities away from this finite resource. We also owe it to the landscape itself. Karst, water quality, endangered species, traditional cultural use, salmon, carbon sequestration, recreation, spiritual refugia, medicinal plants, and cultural modification histories are being undermined by government negligence. But we all know this. It’s just that the government either doesn’t, or ignores it.

Andy Mackinnon is arguably one of the most respected and widely affirmed botanists, ecologists, and researchers on biogeoclimatic ecosystems in western Canada. You may recognize him from the book you go to when you ask yourself, “What plant is that?” Plants of Coastal British Columbia has sold more than 250,000 copies. Mackinnon also worked for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, so he’s no rookie.

“When people asked my ministry how much old-growth there was left, I would have to say: ‘Go talk to the Sierra Club BC.’ So believe me when I say that there is much less than 10% of productive lowland old-growth forests remaining on Vancouver Island. And just in case it wasn’t painfully obvious to you, that means that in fact, old-growth forests are disappearing,” says Mackinnon.

Don’t let the government “factsheets” or the “jobs vs. environment” narrative fool you. Our current system is designed to be obtusely inaccessible to the public and acutely beneficial for industry. The industry has become accustomed to an unhealthy degree of ownership over public assets, while the public has come to assume we don’t have the right to say how we think our natural resources should be managed.

So while there is an obvious us-versus-them dualism occurring in this struggle, there are some encouraging signs as well. In the post-1990s war-in-the-woods era, First Nations have consistently been a voice of reason between logging interests and the environmental movement. While not perfect, the Great Bear Rainforest agreements are a testament to what can be done when unlikely adversaries sit down together. No one seems to be entirely happy with the agreements, which in my understanding means everyone compromised. From the Elaho Valley, to Clayoqout Sound, and now the Walbran, Indigenous voices (for and against old-growth logging) are finally being recognized as integral to this issue. This is a step in the right direction that everyone can agree on. The First Nations of Vancouver Island are industry leaders, community leaders, and environmental advocates – and they are taking their land back at varying speeds.

Photo by Andrew S. Wright.

Photo by Andrew S. Wright.

In absence of democracy – Blockadia
A very wise man once said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” Blockade culture and the reemergence of war-in-the-woods 2.0 can be understood in a similar vein. Unfortunately it takes confrontation for meaningful conversations to even start. Don’t blame protestors (protectors, forest defenders, or territorial asserters) for taking action in the absence of any real government leadership on matters vital to the land. They are often the ones who go unthanked, unrewarded, and unrecognized after stakeholder conversations begin and then end. You would merely be policing their tone. Sierra Club BC neither advocates for nor participates in any illegal activity, but we understand the anger and political asphyxiation that drives people to engage in alternative tactics.

Old-growth logging will end. The conversation that needs to be had is how we can end it in a way that is socially just for workers and dependent communities and that maintains ecological integrity across the landscape. That mandatory conversation is now at hand and the writing is on the wall.

The other option, which defines our provincial government’s current policy priorities, is to log it until it’s gone and then watch logging towns become ghost towns and original forest ecosystems turn into tree plantations. I wonder what the elk, murrelets, and traditional canoe builders would do.

Feature image by Jens Wieting.

B.C. Groups Win Prestigious Buckminster Fuller Design Award for Role in Safeguarding Great Bear Rainforest

Fuller Challenge Award 2016 goes to Rainforest Solutions Project, a project of Tides Canada Initiative with Greenpeace, Stand.earth and Sierra Club BC

October 5, 2016

Vancouver, BC – British Columbia’s Rainforest Solutions Project (a project of Tides Canada) with member groups Greenpeace, Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics) and Sierra Club BC has won the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s (BFI) Fuller Challenge Award for their role in crafting and implementing solutions for the recently finalized Great Bear Rainforest Agreements. The BFI is a prestigious cross-disciplinary academy dedicated to solving global problems through design-thinking education. This $100,000 award specifically recognizes the innovation in complex process design that the three member organizations worked collectively and collaboratively to develop.

For over fifteen years the three groups worked together with the forest industry, First Nations governments and the Government of British Columbia to troubleshoot barriers and develop solutions for safeguarding the Great Bear Rainforest. The outcome is a new legal and policy framework that concurrently advances First Nations governance and economic aspirations over their territories, high levels of conservation, and logging activity which respects nature’s limits.

Eighty-five per cent (3.1 million hectares) of the region’s coastal temperate rainforests will be permanently off limits to industrial logging. The remaining 15 per cent (550,000 hectares) will be subject to the most stringent legal standards for commercial logging operations in North America.

“Thank you to the Fuller Challenge for believing in our collective work to help safeguard this spectacular region, home to more than two dozen Indigenous communities who have stewarded their traditional lands since time immemorial. This award further validates our solutions model for large-scale forest conservation, uplifting Indigenous rights and fighting climate change,” says Greenpeace’s Eduardo Sousa. “ We’ve learned that breakthroughs are possible, but only through constructive dialogue and steadfast collaboration. We believe what has been achieved here in the Great Bear Rainforest can inspire other forest regions facing their own challenges.”

“Everywhere we look we see the environment, the economy and Indigenous people pitted against each other. It’s not a coincidence, it’s systemic. The model of management now operating in the Great Bear required prying open that system and then inventing what would replace it”, says Valerie Langer with Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics). “It took villages to do so and our unwavering dedication to see the change through multiple scales across multiple jurisdictions.”

The Fuller Challenge Selection Committee noted that by collaborating and innovating solutions with Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments and industry, the Rainforest Solutions Project member organizations demonstrated “the importance of large-scale and long-term comprehensive design thinking.”

“This award is a big motivator for us to build on the Great Bear Rainforest solutions. What has been accomplished offers us a compass to guide us toward solving similar conflicts elsewhere: science-based decision-making, aligning with nature’s limits, respecting Indigenous rights, and collaboration between governments and stakeholders. This is the approach we must pursue globally and with urgency, to save the life-support system of our planet, the web of life and our own species.” says Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC.

The Rainforest Solutions Project’s members Greenpeace, Sierra Club BC and Stand.earth together with Coastal First Nations-Great Bear Initiative, Nanwakolas Council, the Government of British Columbia, BC Timber Sales, Catalyst Paper, Howe Sound Pulp & Paper, International Forest Products and Western Forest Products, worked hard to move from conflict to a shared outcome rooted in 15 years of collaboration and negotiation. As of February 2016, the vision for conservation and community well-being committed to in 2006 is now underway with legal and policy agreements.

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Media Contacts:

Tim Pearson, 250.896.1556, tim@sierraclub.bc.ca

Eduardo Sousa, 778-378-9955, esousa@greenpeace.org

Valerie Langer, 604-307-6448, valerie@stand.earth

Read more about the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements

Feature image by Andrew S. Wright

Statement on Elphinstone Logging Confrontation

Sunshine Coast, Skwxwu7mesh & shíshálh territories

September 13, 2016

Sierra Club B.C. has surveyed and visited the Elphinstone forests, Dakota ridge watersheds, and Chapman Creek watershed. We support Elphinstone Logging Focus’s vision for conservation of B.C.’s most at-risk ecosystems, in the territories of the Skwxwu7mesh & shíshálh.

A recent Sierra Club B.C. analysis of remaining intact forests on B.C.’s south coast and Vancouver Island shows there is very little intact unprotected productive old growth on the south coast. This area on the Sunshine Coast is among those with the highest levels of ecological risk. This eco-zone is the most impacted dry-forest area as a result of logging and development, increasingly compromised with climate impacts like extended drought conditions.

The current Mt. Elphinstone Provincial Park is divided into 3 separate ‘island’ parcels protecting only 139 hectares of land across the lower mountain slopes, between the growing communities of Gibsons and Sechelt on the lower Sunshine Coast.  The Park is about one quarter of the size of Stanley Park, split into three separate areas many kilometers apart.

The surrounding Crown land offers high-value recreation, and ongoing environmental services in an inter-urban zone. B.C. Parks states that the existing Elphinstone Park is “vulnerable to adjacent logging.”

A park expansion and connection initiative is desperately needed in order to maintain ecological integrity and connectivity across the landscape.

The shíshálh (Sechelt) nation made a declaration in November, 2014 stating their opposition to further industrial development in this zone. Sections of the expanded area (east of Roberts Creek) fall within Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish) territories who have not made public comment.

This is yet another example in which B.C.’s forest practices are failing our communities and failing our forests.

The type of peaceful confrontation undertaken by Elphinstone Logging Focus is a symptom of a non-democratic and disrespectful government process. While Sierra Club B.C. neither practices nor advocates civil disobedience, we understand that often it is the language of the unheard.

Sierra Club B.C. is calling on the provincial government to listen and to act.

The government needs to rescind this cutblock permit, commence a comprehensive park expansion and connectivity implementation process through engagement with the Squamish and Shishalh Nations and local communities, and respect the Sunshine Coast Regional District OCP Bylaw calling for an expansion of the Mt. Elphinstone Provincial park from a mere 140ha to a sustainable 2,000Ha.

It is time to stop logging endangered ecosystems and move to forest practices that respect nature’s limits and can sustain local communities and economies for the long term.

Image credit: Elphinstone Logging Focus

 

Contact:

Mark Worthing

Forests & Biodiversity Campaigner

Sierra Club BC

mark@sierraclub.bc.ca

250-386-5255 x:257

Read the piece from the Vancouver Sun Editorial Board calling on the provincial government to step up its leadership on the issue.

Sierra Club BC wins prestigious award

Sierra Club BC is proud to announce that we have been awarded one of the most prestigious international environmental awards for our work on the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements.

Great Bear Rainforest Agreement partners receive Sierra Club US’s 2016 EarthCare Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 9, 2016

First Nations governments, the B.C. government and a group of environmental organizations and forestry companies will tomorrow receive the 2016 EarthCare Award from Sierra Club US. With 2.4 million members, Sierra Club US is one of the largest environmental organizations in North America (and independent from Sierra Club BC and Sierra Club Canada).

The EarthCare award honours individuals or organizations that have made a unique contribution to international environmental protection and conservation.

The Great Bear Rainforest is one of the largest remaining relatively intact temperate rainforest areas of the world.   Fulfilment of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements was announced February 1, 2016 in Vancouver. Eighty-five percent of the remote wilderness region’s coastal temperate rainforests are now permanently off-limits to industrial logging. The remaining 15 percent of the forest are subject to the most stringent commercial logging legal standards in North America. First Nations oversight of their lands has been strengthened and new community development opportunities negotiated as a result of the government-to-government implementation process.

“The loss of biodiversity and natural ecosystems is a global crisis, and the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements are offering us a precedent-setting conservation model the world can learn from,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “These Agreements show us how to achieve an economy that respects both indigenous rights and nature’s limits.”

The Great Bear Rainforest Agreements protect biodiversity, help mitigate climate change, support improved community well-being, and provide a level of economic certainty to the forestry sector. The Agreements are considered a milestone for collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous governments, environmental organizations and forestry companies.

“The Great Bear Rainforest is a global treasure and now that it is set aside, it will be a landscape of hope where economic activity can occur without undermining the environment,” said Bob Peart, executive director of Sierra Club BC. “The Agreements provide an astonishing example of land use planning that balances many important values.”

After years of intense conflict, collaboration and negotiation, the new model of conservation management is informed by science, First Nations rights over their lands, and stakeholder input. The goal of this unique conservation approach is to maintain healthy forests and high levels of community well-being across the entire 6.4 million hectare Great Bear Rainforest, an area larger than Nova Scotia.

The Agreements were announced by indigenous alliances Coastal First Nations and Nanwakolas Council and the province of British Columbia, with the support of three environmental groups—Sierra Club BC, Greenpeace and Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics)—and five companies as stakeholder groups (Interfor, Western Forest Products, BC Timber Sales, Catalyst Paper and Howe Sound Pulp and Paper).

All parties involved are committed to Annual Monitoring reports and a five-year and ten-year review mechanism.

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For more information about the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements:
http://www.savethegreatbear.org/resources/category/updates

 

Contact:

Tim Pearson

Director of Communications, Sierra Club BC

250-896-1556

 

Image by Jens Wieting

B.C.’s climate fraud: a Trojan horse for destructive LNG pipedreams

B.C.’s so-called climate plan is a fraud. It borders on a criminal betrayal of the health and welfare of future generations and the natural world. A credible plan would act decisively to rapidly reduce the extraction, export and use of fossil fuels.