In this latest video, our Climate and Conservation Campaigner Mark Worthing powerfully speaks about the importance of forests.
What: A conversation on what’s happening in Vancouver Island’s forests and potential paths forward
When: Tuesday, November 6 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: Tia’s Cafe – #4-1705 Campbell Way, Port McNeill
Sierra Club BC’s Conservation and Climate Campaigner Mark Worthing will be visiting Port McNeill with representatives from the Wilderness Committee to talk forests.
Forests and the industries they support are changing on Vancouver Island. Join Sierra Club BC and Wilderness Committee for presentations and discussion about forests, and share your ideas about how we make forestry in a changing climate work for communities, Indigenous peoples and ecosystems.
Vancouver Island’s iconic rainforest is under threat — much of the original old-growth rainforest has been cut down, and many ecosystems have been pushed to the brink. In an era of climate change, the importance of healthy intact old-growth rainforests couldn’t be greater.
How do we make a just transition to sustainable second-growth forest industry in a way that recognizes the rights, title and authority of the Indigenous Nations who have thrived here since time immemorial? How do we ensure old-growth is protected in a way that works for local communities? How will forests, and forestry be impacted by global climate change?
Over the last year, our organizations have held 10 townhall-style meetings in several communities on Vancouver Island, including Port Hardy and Campbell River. We know forests and forestry are the heart and soul of Port McNeill, and we want to connect talk forests with you.
We’ll present the facts on what’s happening in Vancouver Island’s forest, and highlight potential solutions and paths forward. Most importantly, we want to hear ideas from the residents of McNeill, Alert Bay and Sointula on how to better manage these precious ecosystems.
We hope you can join us!
This event is being held on the territories of the Kwakwaka’wakw people.
Forests and the industries they support are changing on Vancouver Island. Sierra Club BC and Wilderness Committee are hitting the road for discussions in communities about the state of our forests. We want to hear what you think about how we can make forestry in a changing climate work for communities, Indigenous peoples and ecosystems.
Vancouver Island’s iconic rainforests are under threat — much of the original forest has been cut down, and many ecosystems have been pushed to the brink. In an era of climate change, the importance of healthy intact old-growth rainforests couldn’t be greater.
How do we make a just transition to sustainable second-growth forest industry in a way that recognizes the rights, title and authority of First Nations who have thrived here since time immemorial? How do we ensure old-growth is protected in a way that works for local communities? How will forests and forestry be impacted by global climate change?
In a 6-stop discussion series, we’ll present the facts on what’s happening in Vancouver Island’s forests, and highlight potential solutions and paths forward.
Most importantly, we want to hear your ideas on how to better manage these precious ecosystems.
We hope you can join us!
** Port Hardy: November 2, 7-9 pm, Cafe Guido
** Campbell River: November 2nd, 7-9 pm, Campbell River Community Centre
** Duncan: November 3rd, 7-9 pm, Island Savings Centre
** Nanaimo: November 8th, 7-9 pm, Vancouver Island University, Building 250, Room 125.
** Port Alberni: November 9th, 6:30-8:30 pm, Echo Community Centre
** Courtenay: November 10th, 7-9 pm, Native Sons Hall
These events are being held on the territories of the Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Coast Salish peoples.
Are you in the Lower Mainland?
Join Sierra Club BC’s forest and climate campaigner Jens Wieting as we stroll among the giants in Stanley Park. Jens will lead us on an enlightening journey as we see some of the largest old-growth trees in BC.
Details: Saturday October 28, 11 am – 12:30 pm. Meet where Cathedral Trail meets North Lagoon Drive. RSVP on Facebook
This walk will take place on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam First Nations.
The time has come to end logging of endangered old-growth forests on Vancouver Island and B.C.’s south coast. First Nations, communities, organizations, and citizens are calling for the protection of old-growth forests. Their voices are getting louder, more varied, and more numerous.
A shift is underway since leaders of the Ahousaht First Nation in Clayoquot Sound announced an end to industrial scale logging in their Hahoulthlee (traditional territory) in October 2015. This spring, Sierra Club BC released its latest data in form of a Google Earth tool showing the ecological emergency for endangered old-growth rainforest on Vancouver Island. Politicians and logging companies are hearing over and over the same call: old-growth is far too valuable to destroy.
Voting to defend ancient trees
“Vancouver Island growing away from old growth logging?”
This was the headline of an article featured in many Vancouver Island newspapers discussing a “dramatic shift in Island thinking.”And it was just one of many media articles in previous weeks highlighting the momentum.
This change was reflected in the vote by the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities in favour of halting harvesting of old-growth in April, stating old growth has more “economic, social and environmental value as wildlife habitat, tourism resource, carbon sink and much more” if it is left standing. The decision was echoed by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, which voted in May to support the same principle across the province in instances where old-growth trees “have or can likely have a greater net economic value for communities if they are left standing.”
Sierra Club BC Forest campaigner Jens Wieting explained that benefits of logging endangered old-growth rainforest on Vancouver Island are greatly overshadowed by its negative impacts. “Logging no longer has the same economic importance. We have two trends: there are fewer benefits from logging and increasing benefits of keeping trees standing.”
The benefits of protecting old-growth forests
A Times Colonist editorial recognized the economic benefits of protecting old-growth forests: “Old-growth forests and other pristine areas of B.C. attract an increasing number of visitors, and will continue to generate jobs forever. When an area is logged off, the jobs are gone until the forest regenerates, and that takes a long, long time. We should remember, too, that forests are about more than esthetics or recreation—they are vital to the health of our watersheds and even the air we breathe.”
Looking at the old-growth logging more broadly shows that many Vancouver Island communities must diversify their economies to move beyond resource extraction dependant livelihoods and avoid ending up as ghost towns. It is time to thrust ourselves into a just transition away from ecologically destructive logging of Vancouver Island’s finite non-renewable old-growth to a diverse economy including old-growth tourism, sustainable, value added second-growth forestry, conservation financing and carbon revenue for First Nations (such as in the Great Bear Rainforest and the Cheakamus Community Forest Carbon project).
Preventing destructive logging practices
While many were calling for an end to old-growth logging, others were highlighting the damage currently taking place in our ancient forests. The Tyee and numerous Vancouver Island newspapers reported on Sierra Club BC’s work to increase scrutiny and awareness about poor practices and destructive logging of some of the last intact old-growth rainforest on Northern Vancouver Island by Lemare Lake Logging in East Creek.
Also in June, the Vancouver Sun’s Stephen Hume stated that proposed logging in the endangered Cameron Valley Ancient Forest (“Firebreak”) on Vancouver Island would be “a crime against nature”. In July, Hume reported on Sierra Club BC’s study showing that high rates of old growth rainforest logging on Vancouver Island will lead to an ecological and economic collapse in a generation unless provincial government policy changes.
In the Times Colonist, the Wilderness Committee reminded readers that government and industry must show leadership to protect one of the grandest stands on the island, the Central Walbran, from further fragmentation through old-growth cutting: “Listening to the destruction of some of the last old-growth rainforest on Vancouver Island is tough, but it’s not as frustrating as watching our elected officials turn their backs on this problem and on the citizens, local governments and business groups who want it addressed.”
The recent completion of the final steps of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements through First Nations governments and the BC government, with the support of a group of environmental organizations and logging companies, shows that solutions are possible. As a result of the agreements, 85 percent (3.1 million hectares) of the region’s coastal temperate rainforests are now off-limits to industrial logging. The amount of old-growth available as part of the remaining 15 percent of the forest will be capped and subject to the most stringent commercial logging legal standards in North America. In contrast, very little old-growth remains in the southern half of the coast, and even less is protected.
Learn more, do more
For more information, including what must be done to safeguard Vancouver Island’s endangered old-growth rainforest and how to contact the B.C. government to share your concerns, please check out our newspaper “Vancouver Island’s Last Stand” (jointly published with our friends at Wilderness Committee)
Help us continue to protect B.C’s natural spaces by donating today.
Sign-up for Sierra Club BC news to stay up-to-date and next steps in the fight to save our endangered old-growth rainforest.
On March 11, 2016 Sierra Club BC’s biodiversity and forests campaigner Mark Worthing traveled with investigative journalist Ben Parfitt to Powell River to speak at Sierra Club Malaspina’s event “Are Forests Forever?” Following the event, the wonderful Malaspina group sent some kind words to thank Mark and Ben for their contributions and dedication.
You could have heard a pin drop while Mark Worthing talked about his extensive exploration of B.C.’s coastal estuaries and rainforests. He brings a kind-hearted approach to radical discourses like decolonizing, solitary work and direct action. He talked about his work as a tree-planter (which payed for his education) and how that work gave him claw like hands. His passionate enthusiasm, of our B.C. forests and wildlife sure won my heart. Google “Mark Worthing” to view his vast experience of B.C. forests, his education and activism. I am sometimes cynical on what is happening to our forests and precious resources, but this young man gave me back my spark and hope.
We were so honoured and grateful to have Ben Parfitt speak as well at the “Are Forests Forever” event. Most of you know of Ben as a freelance writer, researcher and commentator on natural resources, business, environmental and social justice and more. Ben is the author of Forest Follies: Adventures and Misadventures in the Great Canadian Forests. I was not alone in wanting this evening with Ben and Mark never to end. Thank you Mark & Ben. We sincerely hope that you can visit Powell River again soon.
Thank you to Sierra Club Malaspina for hosting this wonderful event!