By Galen Armstrong, Lead Organizer
“Thanks so much for hosting, it was the most fun I’ve had in a while.”
A volunteer said this after a group of us spent a full afternoon outside the University of Victoria library, in near-freezing temperatures, approaching strangers with the dreaded clipboard and asking them to “take action.”
Does that sound like a fun afternoon to you? Oh, but it is!
You’ve probably experienced something like this at some point: when you get a group of people together with a common purpose, magic can happen. In our case, the common purpose is protecting what’s left of old-growth forests in BC.
With irony-free smiles on our faces, we report this terrible piece of news to passers-by who are kind enough to pause for a moment:
“Every second, three square metres of old-growth forest is being cut down on Vancouver Island.”
It feels like a rude thing to say to someone. But it’s a rude reality. This fact is based on Sierra Club BC’s review of government data and recent satellite images: in 2016, over 10,000 hectares of old-growth rainforest were logged. That’s more than 10% higher than the annual average between 2005-2015. Download our map of the destruction.
How do we get to three square metres per second? Let’s do the math.
There are 10,000 square metres in a hectare. If 10,000 hectares were logged, that makes 100 million square metres of old-growth rainforest cut on Vancouver Island in 2016.
100 million divided by 366 days (2016 was a leap year, after all) is 273,224 square metres cut every single day. Divide that by the number of seconds in a day (86,400, to be exact) and you’ve got 3.16 square metres per second.
Rounding down to be on the conservative side (you never know when some Twitter troll will jump out from behind a stump emoji and question your figures), we get three square metres of Vancouver Island’s precious and last remaining endangered old-growth forest cut down. Every second, of every hour, of every day…
If you’re like me, you probably don’t feel like “taking action” quite yet. But what if I told you that we are sending hundreds of letters each week to BC Forests Minister Doug Donaldson? What if I told you that our voices, combined with voices from our partners at other organizations and thousands of everyday British Columbians, is adding up to an enormous amount of pressure for real change on this issue?
Not only that, but the act of going out and hitting the streets with a group of like-minded folks and a bunch of clipboards and asking strangers to make their voices heard – is an often hilarious (oh, the people you’ll meet!) and always fun experience.
Come and try it out. We’ll prove it. We head out every week. I lead some canvasses, and volunteers lead some canvasses. And – saving some big news for the very end here – we are thrilled to welcome back organizer Brynne Morrice to lead old-growth forest canvass teams in Vancouver!
Get in touch with one of us, and let’s get laughing. For a common purpose.
To join our Victoria canvassing team, contact Galen Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org
To join our Vancouver canvassing team, contact Brynne Morrice at email@example.com