Earth Medicine

Earth Day: an ongoing commitment to old growth forests

Images by award-winning nature and conservation photographer, and forest activist TJ Watt

As we celebrate Earth Day and Earth Week, I continue to lobby for sustainability and a range of environmental issues and challenges including an end to logging old growth forests. This is ongoing for me, not just on April 22nd.

The preservation of old growth forests is even more in the news at present due to the Fairy Creek situation: over the past eight months, Teal Cedar ( a division of the Teal-Jones Group) has been actively logging a 5150 acre area of old growth forest in the Fairy Creek watershed in unceded Pacheedaht First Nation’s territory on Vancouver Island.

Did you know that in Canada, logging is not legally considered as deforestation, which is defined as  clearing trees for a change to a non-forest land use?

Here in BC, Canada, I was hopeful that the destruction of our old growth forests — rich ecologies creating oxygen, with a diverse variety of flora and fauna — was coming to an end. Our provincial NDP government had promised to enact all fourteen recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review Panel including the banning / deferring of logging in old growth forests (defined by the panel as ancient forests greater than 500 years old and coast forests greater than 300 years old in ecosystems with higher disturbance intervals, per p.56 of the panel’s report ) within six months of the election. 

That election was October 24, 2020, six months ago today.  As of yet, no action has resulted from that promise. And they are still logging at Fairy Creek.

To read or download the full report of the Old Growth Strategic Review Panel, published in April 2020, click here

What can you do? 

Take action in any way you can in your locale:

  • if not familiar with the issues, educate yourself on the history and challenges 
  • Advocate. Protest. Lobby.
  • join and/or financially support an environmental group 
  • lobby for a change to the legal definition of deforestation both federally and provincially to ensure old growth forests are protected
  • write, email or call your provincial MLA/MPP and/or federal MP (in Canada) or similar representatives in your country
  • in social media, use hashtags such as #OldGrowthBlockade #SaveFairyCreek #WorthMoreStanding #LandBack #PreserveOldGrowthTrees and others specific to your concerns and locale
  • Purchase ethically and minimize use of forest products

You can also sign online petitions. The following are specific to BC, but hopefully of interest to all Canadians and our international allies in the fight to preserve old growth forests :

Ancient Forest Alliance Petition to Protect BC’s Endangered Old-Growth Forests and Forestry Jobs

Change.org Stop logging in BCs old growth rainforests  

LeadNow Petition demanding a moratorium on logging BC’s remaining ancient trees

Sierra Club BC Ask BC’s Forests Minister to protect Old Growth Now

The Wilderness Committee Petition to protect BC’s old-growth rainforests

Fairy Creek

The current blockade is a complex issue, especially as it raises our awareness to cultural imperialist issues and long-term stewardship of the land. The Pacheedaht First Nation is divided on their view of the current anti-logging blockades and the impact to their sovereignty. You can read more in this 14-April CBC News report.

For more information about the Fairy Creek blockade, from the Rainforest Flying Squad perspective, visit their website Last Stand For Forests.

If you are in alignment with the blockade, donate to the Fairy Creek GoFundMe page.

And if you want to see an end to old-growth logging, I invite you to support any environmental organization focusing on the preservation of old growth forests such as the Ancient Forest Alliance, Greenpeace, Sierra Club BC, The Wilderness Committee, etc.

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