Something special happened on September 28. People across the province from Campbell River to the Kootenays and many places in between stood in front of their MLA offices to say old-growth forests must be protected, we want all beings to thrive, and we want our communities to be safe and resilient to climate impacts.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the day of action and who contributed to the cause using our forest action centre. The message and spirit were strong at the 17 locations across the province!
Here are some photos from the day of action and what is happening next!
Ladysmith, photo by Beverly Joy
Saanich, photo by Mya Van Woudenberg-Sierra Club BC
North Vancouver, photo by Aurora Tejeida--Sierra Club BC
So why did so many communities come together on this day?
September 2023 marked the 3rd anniversary of the Old Growth Strategic Review (OGSR), which set a clear three-year timeline to advance its 14 recommendations for a paradigm shift in forest stewardship. But progress has been slow, and most old growth remains unprotected, including the most at-risk forests. With the B.C. Legislature returning to session this week, we came together to send MLAs back to Victoria with a strong mandate to do more for the forests.
Nelson, photo by Louis Bockner
Here is a recap of the positive work the B.C. government is pursuing and how we can advocate for strong protections. Premier David Eby and the BC NDP government have committed to:
1. Doubling protected areas from 15% to 30% of B.C. by 2030;
2. Establishing a conservation financing mechanism to fund Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and other forms of protection, and
3. Developing a Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health Framework to align land management practices with the goals of minimizing species loss, maintaining vital ecosystem services, and ensuring ecosystem resiliency.
Nanaimo, photo by Elaine Briere
Surrey, photo by Anjali Appadurai
Victoria, photo by Mya Van Woudenberg -- Sierra Club BC
Speeding up progress on deferrals for at-risk old growth;
Making conservation funding available as soon as possible and making sure it is directly tied to addressing short and long-term impacts of both temporary deferrals and permanent protection. This is needed to take the pressure off First Nations, who often depend on logging revenue;
Expediting the paradigm shift in forest stewardship, decision-making, and planning, to prioritize biodiversity and community health over short-term timber values;
We commend Premier Eby for the steps taken toward protecting old-growth and reforming forestry in B.C. and we know there is still much work to be done. By standing united for old growth we are sending a clear message that we want real protection for old growth forests and all the life they sustain.
Add your voice to call on the B.C. government to act quickly. When we lose old-growth forests, we lose so much more than big trees.