Valentine’s Day lured a group of about 200 people, mostly seniors, to the legislature Monday as they wanted to show some love for B.C.’s old-growth forests and once again call for a permanent end of all ancient tree logging.
“Our love is rooted in a sense of connection and a deep connection to all of life,” said Jackie Larkin, a member of Elders for Ancient Trees. “We’re standing up for our love for the ancient forests, the living communities of trees and shrubs and mosses and lichen.”
Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones pleaded for the “province to come to its senses” and said the mission of the gathering was to save the last of the old-growth forests. “Do the right thing and stop old-growth logging,” he said.
Erin Renwick of Parents 4 Climate said all the time she has spent advocating for the environment has been a “labour of love” and it’s all been for her kids. She noted that Forests Minister Katrine Conroy has achieved great heights in her career while also balancing being a mother and dealing with other struggles.
“I see that you, too, are a fierce woman; I am asking you to be fiercer,” Renwick said.
“You didn’t become a politician because you wanted an easy life, and you are in a position of power at a time of great importance. You have this one chance, stop allowing old-growth logging, our ancient forests are almost gone and your deferrals mean nothing because forests are still being cut every day.”
Renwick also called for a just transition for forestry workers and for First Nations to be financially compensated for losses, while also being included in forest conservation.
The provincial government recently came to an agreement with four coastal First Nations, which included deferring harvest on 2,500 hectares of lands on Vancouver Island. As of mid-January, about two-thirds of B.C.’s 204 Indigenous communities had responded to maps and recommendations for deferral of up to 2.6 million hectares province-wide.
Larkin expressed concern for species such as the marbled murrelet and western screech owl.
“We are painfully aware that we are holding the future of our children, grandchildren and so many species in our hands. We have taken stock of what we’re facing – collapsing ecosystems and a burning planet,” Larkin said.
Her vision of forestry management would include stopping all old-growth logging, ending all previously granted cutblock approvals and ensuring Indigenous consultation lives up to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
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