On June 6, concerned local residents demonstrated outside seventeen MLA offices and demanded immediate action to protect BC forests.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 6, 2019
Concerned local residents demonstrated today outside seventeen MLA and government offices, demanding science-based protection of B.C.’s old-growth forests, improved forest management and support for First Nations that seek to protect more forest.
Sierra Club BC and concerned citizens are calling on the B.C. government to take immediate steps to save the few remaining intact areas of old-growth forest on Vancouver Island and endangered old-growth forests across the province. These actions are imperative in light of the worsening global climate and ecological emergencies.
The demonstrations are part of a province-wide day of action initiated by Sierra Club BC to highlight the plight of B.C.’s old-growth forests. Demonstrations were held in Oliver, Campbell River, Sidney, Duncan, Courtenay-Comox, Parksville, Nanaimo, Langford, Langley, Nelson, Prince George, Sechelt, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria.
“B.C.’s forests are in a state of emergency that cannot be ignored any longer,” said Sierra Club BC’s Galen Armstrong. “This government was elected on a promise to use conservation solutions applied in the Great Bear Rainforest across BC, yet they have failed to act. The longer we delay the less old growth will be left, with negative consequences for communities, endangered species, ecosystems and our climate. Once these trees are gone, they will never come back.”
B.C.’s coastal temperate rainforests are among the rarest ecosystems on the planet, but today less than 10 per cent of Vancouver Island’s largest old-growth trees are left. The current rate of old-growth logging on Vancouver Island is more than thirty soccer fields per day or about 10,000 hectares a year. This logging typically uses industrial clearcutting logging practices.
The loss of BC’s last old-growth forests is threatening plants and animals, carbon storage and environmental services like clean air and clean water. Species that depend on old-growth forests will not survive as the majority of the Island is progressively covered by young, even-aged forests.
Increasing conservation and stringent forestry laws are needed to ensure communities have clean water and clean air as a basis for a diverse economy, including tourism and recreation. These steps are critical to reduce the damage from worsening climate impacts like droughts and flooding.
Moving away from destructive practices like clearcutting must be part of provincial climate action to increase the amount of carbon stored in forests. This will translate into more jobs and less damage per cubic metre wood. Protected areas and logging regulation must also respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The NDP’s 2017 election platform included a commitment to act on old-growth logging, promising to take “an evidence-based scientific approach and use the ecosystem-based management of the Great Bear Rainforest as a model.” The mandate letter for Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson calls for sustainable management of BC’s old-growth forests. However, it remains unclear what steps the province is planning to take to protect endangered old-growth ecosystems.
Sierra Club BC is calling for immediate action by the provincial government to protect and restore endangered old-growth ecosystems, before intensifying climate impacts like drought, wildfires and storms—coupled with destructive logging practices—further exacerbate pressure on ecosystems.
For more information:
Sierra Club BC’s “White Rhino” map showing Vancouver Island’s most endangered old-growth rainforests and recent old-growth logging: https://sierraclub.bc.ca/white-rhino-map-shows-vancouver-islands-most-endangered-old-growth-rainforests/
Sierra Club BC
June 6, Noon
In communities across BC
Join us on Thursday, June 6 for a day of action for forests!
On Feb. 6th, we delivered letters to MLA offices across the province to send a message to the BC government: immediate, decisive action must be taken to enact a moratorium on old-growth logging in critical hotspots like the Central Walbran. Protection for Vancouver Island’s last ancient rainforests must be combined with strong support for Indigenous Nations and good long term forestry jobs.
Since then, old-growth forests are still being clearcut, as quickly as ever. Exactly four months since our February action, it’s time to increase the pressure and make sure all BC MLAs get the message.
We’d love for you to join us or to deliver a letter to your own MLA on the same day.
This is a province-wide day of action, and forests are being mismanaged across the province. We invite you to bring forward local forestry problems – and solutions – in your region of British Columbia.
To add an event in your area or do a letter delivery to your MLA, please contact email@example.com. We’ve created a toolkit with suggestions, talking points and images you can print out for your visit. We’ll also add your town to the list of MLA visits on our media release!
Vancouver: 10 AM at MLA George Heyman’s office (642 West Broadway), Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territory
Victoria: 12 PM at MLA Carole James’ office (1084 Fort St.), Lekwungen territory
Victoria: 12 PM at MLA Rob Fleming’s office (1020 Hillside Ave), Lekwungen territory
Langford/Sooke/Metchosin: 12 PM at Premier John Horgan’s office (2806 Jacklin Rd., Langford), Coast Salish territory
Campbell River: 11:30 AM at MLA Claire Trevena’s office (908 Island Highway), K’ómoks and Homalco territory
Boundary Region/Oliver: 12 PM at MLA Linda Larson’s office (6369 Main St), Sylix Okanagan territory
Prince George: 12 PM at Shirley Bond’s office (1350 5th Avenue), Lheidli T’enneh and Dakeł Keyoh territory
Langley: 12 PM the Township of Langley City Hall (20338 65 Ave), Stó:lō Nation territory
Sunshine Coast (Sechelt): 12 PM at MLA Nicholas Simon’s office (#5 4720 Sunshine Coast Highway), Squamish, Sechelt, Sliammon and Kla’hoose First Nations territory
Courtenay-Comox: 4 PM at MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard’s office (437 5th Street), K’ómoks territory
Nelson: 12 PM at MLA Michelle Mungall’s office (433 Josephine St), Ktunaxa, Syilx Okanagan and Sinixt territory
Nanaimo: 11 AM at MLA Doug Routley’s office (#112, 50 Tenth St., Southgate Mall), Snuneymuxw First Nation territory
Parksville: 12 PM at MLA Michelle Stilwell’s office (2B-1209 Island Highway), K’ómoks territory
North Vancouver: 12 PM at MLA Bowinn Ma’s office (5-221 West Esplanade), Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territory
Surrey: 12 PM at MLA Tracey Redies’ office (135-1959 152nd Street), Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations territory
Sidney: 12 PM at MLA Adam Olsen’s office (215-2506 Beacon Ave.), W̱SÁNEĆ territory
Duncan: 12 PM at MLA Sonia Furstenau’s office (164 Station St.), Coast Salish territory
Join the Facebook discussion, visit our province-wide Day of Action page!
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RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Haven’t sent your own letter yet or want to know more about the crisis in ancient rainforests?
We’ve got a handy letter tool and links to resources.