Sierra Club BC statement in response to today’s court decision on the injunction application by logging company Teal-Jones Group to remove Fairy Creek/Ada’itsx forest defenders.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2021
Sierra Club BC is calling on the B.C. government to speed up solutions to avert imminent risk of losing irreplaceable at-risk ecosystems after court grants injunction to Teal-Jones logging company, clearing the path to clearcutting in one of the last intact old-growth areas on Vancouver Island.
“The confrontation between logging company Teal-Jones and forest defenders in court is the result of the ongoing failure of the provincial government to follow through on their promise and deliver solutions to protect globally rare and endangered old-growth forest like the spectacularly intact Fairy Creek rainforest in Pacheedaht territory,” said Sierra Club BC senior forest and climate campaigner Jens Wieting.
“This whole issue is a continuation of the provincial government pitting Indigenous bands (as defined by the Indian Act) against the people making up the Nations that those bands are said to govern. This is the same colonial government that removes Indigenous people from the land and diminishes their ability to be self-sustaining by way of displacement. These policies coerce Indigenous Nations to choose between financial impoverishment and the impoverishment of land and resources,” said Ma̱k’wa̱la – Dakota Smith, Sierra Club BC’s forest relations coordinator.
“Without leadership from the provincial government, including adequate funding to First Nations and forestry dependent communities that currently see no alternative to logging the last old-growth trees for short-term relief, there is no hope for the promised paradigm-shift in forest management,” added Wieting. “Support for Indigenous-led conservation solutions and transition in the forestry sector is paramount to give communities a real choice, prepare for the inevitable end of old-growth logging and to safeguard natural life support systems that we have brought so close to collapse.”
Earlier this month, Sierra Club BC partnered with Ancient Forest Alliance and Wilderness Committee to issue a report card assessing the B.C. government’s progress on protecting old-growth forests. March 11, 2021 marked exactly six months since the provincial government published the report from its independent old-growth panel, followed by the promise of Premier John Horgan to implement the panel’s recommendations in “totality”.
The panel called for a paradigm-shift to safeguard the biodiversity of forests in B.C. with a three-year framework, including logging deferrals for all at-risk old-growth forests within the first six months. Half a year later almost all at-risk forests remain open for logging and the B.C. government has not developed a plan with milestone dates and funding, leaving First Nations and forestry workers with uncertainty about whether conservation, economic diversification and the transition to sustainable second-growth forestry will be adequately funded.
Meanwhile, the province is locking in species extirpation, climate disaster and new conflict by auctioning new cutblocks in old-growth forests through its own agency, BC Timber Sales, including 927 hectares on Vancouver Island alone in 2021.
“Once again, our government has made promises it chooses not to fulfill. This time it not only failed its Indigenous constituents, but also forestry workers, specifically loggers, by refusing to take swift action. This failure will leave the Indigenous Nations here without access to traditional regalia and canoes. It will also leave the next generation of forestry workers in an unstable job sector,” added Ma̱k’wa̱la – Dakota Smith.
Jens Wieting, Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner | Sierra Club BC
firstname.lastname@example.org, (604) 354-5312
Ma̱k’wa̱la – Dakota Smith, Forest Relations Coordinator | Sierra Club BC
email@example.com, (250) 514-7800
Photo by TJ Watt/Ancient Forest Alliance