by Dan Kingsley
Fairy Creek isn’t a fairy tale. It’s a tragedy born from last century’s values that bespeak of our need for a new story. Imagine cutting down an old growth forest (2.7% remaining intact) to be akin to cutting down your grandparents because you can get all their inheritance, all to yourself, and do it all legally. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a crime to steal this genetic heritage from our children. These Standing People (the trees) have no voice, no vote, only forest defenders who, over the past months, have positioned their human bodies for arrest in support of preserving Fairy Creek, the last unlogged old-growth valley on Southern Vancouver Island (outside of protected parks – which are too few and far between).
Two members of the band Carmanah, Pat and Laura, who are the Jellyfish Project’s (JFP) presentation band, are there now on the front lines at the Caycuse blockade and are the liaisons to the RCMP and to the forest industry.
Remember Tzeporah Berman, who is now the director of the environmental organization Stand.earth? Well, she also has taken some time to join one of Rainforest Flying Squad’s blockades. In fact, she has been arrested again. Their website tell us:
“There are moments in history when our government fails us. When we are called to stand up. This is one of those moments. I can’t believe that almost 30 years after massive protests in Clayoquot, we have to do this again — but now, there is so little old growth left standing and the government has so far broken its promise to protect what’s left. I am heading to the blockades in Caycuse and Fairy Creek, and I hope more British Columbians join us, or support from home”.
“As one of the organizers of the Clayoquot Blockade in 1993, Tzeporah Berman was charged with criminally aiding and abetting violation of the injunction 857 times (the number of arrestees) and was briefly jailed. All the charges were dismissed, however. The Clayoquot blockades still stand as the greatest act of nonviolent civil disobedience in Canadian history.”
Do you want to be a part of preserving the Fairy Creek legacy forests?
Then do something!
I am personally moved that the busy director and chair of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is taking precious time to stand up for BC’s old-growth forests today. I request we Suzuki Elders help and be inspired to join her. Time is short for the old-growth trees and, just like them, we Elders are no different with time but we at least have agency.
Paul Stamets, mycologist, says:
“Having spent decades studying the role of mushroom mycelium in habitat health, it is clear to me that the latest remnants of old growth forests are genomic libraries that must be protected. In recognition of the current climate crisis, continued destruction of forest ecosystems is unacceptable.
Genomic storage and the vast essential depth and breadth of ecological functions of forests are essentially ignored within the legislation and licensing standards overlooking Canadian forestry activity. The simplistic measurement of timber board-feet of lumber grossly under-assesses the value of old growth forests.
Our research over recent years has identified strains of polypore mushrooms which have potent antiviral properties, especially Agarikon (Fomitopsis officinalis = Laricifomes officinalis), a species which grows almost exclusively in these native forests. Preserving the biodiversity of fungi ( mycodiversity) depends on preserving the old growth forests …”
Kati George-Jim of the T’Sou-ke First Nation in British Columbia says:
“We stand with Elder Bill Jones. The British crown is dependent on colonial rule of law, carried out by the federal and provincial governments, policies and police, which all explicitly seek to undermine the inherent rights and responsibilities of indigenous peoples. We see this take the form of Indian Band Nations, Indian Residential and Day Schools, Indian Hospitals, Potlatch Bans, and Treaty Negotiations – to name a few. The provincial colonial entities have illegally occupied and exploited the lands on behalf of the crown and are directly responsible for destruction of our lands. B.C. has an extensive history of using corporations, as early as the Hudson’s Bay Company and as recent as Teal Jones, to legitimize land and resource theft and dehumanizing Indigenous peoples. It is not only an insult to the survivors of genocide, it is also a dangerous situation where the provincial government is continuing to financially and politically profit off of the “divide-and-conquer” methods of colonialism”.
BC’s own forest watch dog and board chair, Kevin Kriese, says the findings show BC Timber Sales’ forest stewardship plan is not consistent with specific biodiversity objectives (think of what the anti-viral mushrooms may offer to a future pandemic) that are legally required under the Vancouver Island Land Use Plan established two decades ago. Meanwhile, BC Timber Sales continues to auction off cut blocks across the province. On the Island, over 50 per cent of that is considered old growth.
This year, 2021, BC Timber Sales plans to auction off over 1,100 hectares of old growth on Vancouver Island. That’s more than half of the land mass of the City of Victoria. Since 2018, BC Timber Sales’ old-growth cut blocks on the Island have been four times as large — over 4,000 hectares. According to the BC Forest Practices Board report, those sales and planning processes should be halted immediately until a new plan is in place.
If you would like to do something to express your support for retaining vital intact forests in this time of climate change (real forests are critical to our fight against climate change) and world-wide biodiversity crisis, please consider:
- calling BC Premier John Horgan‘s office (250.387.1715). Ask him to respect the wishes of the majority of BC residents and uphold his campaign promises to protect old growth, and the BC gov’t’s September 11, 2020 commitment to embark “on a new, holistic approach to protecting old growth forests“.
- calling your MLA
- supporting forest defenders by sharing messages on social media and/or donating (see Rainforest Flying Squad or any of the myriad BC organizations working to protect our forests: Sierra Club of BC, Stand.earth, Ancient Forest Alliance, etc.
- learning more: https://thetyee.ca/News/2021/05/14/Old-Growth-Garage-Sale/.
The Jellyfish Project’s Executive Director, Naomi Fleschhut, says:
“I will say that I’ve been on community consultation calls with BC Timber Sales over the years, and their complete lack of mandate for anything beyond business as usual is frustrating, appalling and shockingly outdated. Their job is to liquidate timber for the BC coffers. They need a new mandate.”
These little actions are the least we can do to support the frontlines sacrifices of everyday citizens for our earth and our future, including our two Jellyfish Project family members.
Create your own action(s) in your own community or get just older, not wiser, not elder.
- Call your MLA
- Call BC Premier John Horgan
- Call Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development Katrine Conroy
- Call Minister and Family Development Mitzi Dean. It’s their future that’s at stake.
- Write a letter(s) to your local newspaper
- Call in to your local radio station
- Make banners and signs
- Stage demonstrations at local government offices
- Fund raise for their legal defense fund
- Share information widely through social media
- Find ways to share this information with the public at large, not just the choir of like-minded folks