6. Take Action
You are ready to start a transformation – how will you do it? There are an infinite number of ways to take action. What you do will to be shaped by the unique situation you are in and the gifts that you as an individual can bring. Focus on identifying your strengths and the aptitudes of your team. Here are some ideas that can get you started. Be sure to think outside the box as you plan your own action.
Meet with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development FLRNORD and the logging company with rights to log in your community. Share your concerns and your solutions and keep records. Find your local district office here.
Meet with your MLA. As your publicly elected representative, your MLA is required to listen to you as a constituent, whether you voted for them or not. Our friends at the Wilderness Committee have made it really easy to request a meeting with your MLA here.
Document what is happening in the forest. Spend time in the forest, observing, taking photos and taking notes. For example, you can document signs of terrain instability, or document the size of trees. Share what you find with us, your network, and with the Forest Practices Board if you have concerns.
Hire experts to assess contentious information. For example, hire a hydrologist if you dispute the logging company’s hydrology report. Or develop a new visual impact assessment based on the community’s chosen viewpoint. You could hire a black bear den expert to identify bear dens in the area, or an archaeologist to identify Culturally Modified Trees.
Compile existing research for the area in question and present these to the forest company and FLNRO. For example, compile all local species at risk or wildlife research. You may find a Species at Risk in the area that the forest company doesn’t know about or is not taking adequate steps to protect. Forest companies have legal obligations to protect species at risk. Learn about species at risk through the BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer website.
Request a deferral of planned logging by writing a letter to the forest district or Forests Minister. The B.C. government has committed to implementing all of the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review, which includes immediately deferring logging in endangered old-growth ecosystems. Identify the high-risk areas in the forests near you and request logging deferrals.
If you find a very big tree, it may be eligible for protection under the Special Tree Protection Regulation. You can read about the regulation here.
Gain media attention about the issue. Write an Op-Ed, submit a news tip, stage a publicity stunt. You can reach out to Sierra Club BC for assistance in getting the media’s attention.
If you are concerned about the competency or conduct of a forester, you can file a complaint with the Association of BC Forest Professionals.
You can file a complaint with the Forest Practices Board if you are concerned about planning, logging, protection of resources (water, wildlife, soils, etc), and industry compliance with the law.
Create an alternative plan for the forest in question, such as a Nature Based Plan or Ecosystem-based Conservation Plan. This plan can be used to assess logging proposals, to demonstrate a unified community vision, and to present an alternative to the status quo. There are many ways to do ecosystem-based planning. Silva Forest Foundation provides a good overview of this method of planning.
Launch legal action such as a temporary injunction against the company that is planning to log.
Consider applying for a community forest tenure or First Nations Woodland License. These are area-based tenures that allocate the timber rights in a certain area to a community (and excludes forest companies from logging that area). For more information, connect with the BC Community Forest Association or your local FLRORD staff.
Consider obtaining community watershed designation. Community watersheds have slightly more protection under Forest and Range Practices Act (such as larger riparian reserve zones in a logging block), but logging and road building can still occur in community watersheds.
Create a guardian program. Indigenous Guardians act as the “eyes and ears” of the territory and play an important role in monitoring and managing the land. Check out the Indigenous Guardians Toolkit here.
Use the land. Some suggestions:
Ensure that someone is always on the land – whether it’s Indigenous Guardians, water protectors, forest protectors, or other people.
Provide community members with opportunities to practice culture in the forest, such as building trails to areas where people gather plants for food and medicine.
Set up a camp or cabin at the site to provide shelter for community members who are using the land.
Put up flagging tape or signage identifying the values that are at stake, and areas of special significance.
Use your imagination! While forestry is regulated provincially, you never know what will be the “tipping point” that finally shifts the direction of how we care for the land. Generating excitement, sharing your knowledge with international networks, or making a viral TikTok video can all help. Don’t underestimate using your gifts in service of this movement. We all have a role to play.