And, meanwhile, the clear-cutting continues ...
Updated: Dec 1, 2021
By Karen Moe aka Tanager
Heli Camp (Cut Block 8022) falling October 29th, 2021. Video: The Rainforest Flying Squad
I want to keep this short.
As short as my temper, as short as the short-term thinking of a culture of take, as short as the fight to protect some of the last remaining intact ecosystems in the world at Fairy Creek should have been. Unfortunately, as usual, what is just plain right has come up short.
I want to keep this short because it is so obvious that a patriarchal culture with its ideology of hierarchy, individualism and greed doesn’t work. If anything, the record breaking drought and forest fires in the summer in British Columbia, Canada along with what is being called ‘atmospheric flooding’ in the winter should be a wakeup call to connect the dots between decades of accelerated consumer carelessness and climate change. People are protesting; youth are raging; Indigenous Elders are generously sharing their wisdom. When there aren’t floods, the province is on fire. The eco-emergency that has been building for decades is now literally in our back yards. Let’s see how well I do at keeping this short.
Unfortunately, despite what should be so blatantly obvious, fighting against greed is complicated and, to make matters worse, the long-lasting devastation is still generally on the periphery of the consciousness of the culpable, be it in a geographic sense or the ideological, or both. The escalating travesties of our actions that are fueled by lack of awareness and acknowledgement are still happening primarily on the outskirts of the First World. Out of sight, out of mind, so to speak. Be it the water rising as the polar ice cap melts swallowing up small islands in the South Pacific and devastating the way of life of the Inuit in Northern Canada; be it the poisoning of the land by International (mostly Canadian) mining corporations in Mexico and Latin America; be it fossil fuel mega projects like the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Coastal Gas Link in rural BC with their origins in the earth-traumatizing tar sands and its toxic bitumen and fracking that turns the land into what Environment America calls “a dead-zone” that are, and will, wreak more devastation onto unceded Indigenous land and add millions of metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually into the severely compromised atmosphere, most people, rushing around making money and paying mortgages, don’t see (or don’t believe enough in the obvious in order to see, or see and throw up their hands in “nothing I can do”) what their lifestyles cause beyond themselves. Like environmental activists around the world, Mother Nature is fighting back.
Photo: Karen Moe
The clear-cutting in BC is both a reality and a metaphor
for this politics of out-of-sight, out-of-mind. The scarred mountainsides scraped bare of ecosystems are rarely, if ever, seen from highways as we race to-and-fro within the somnambulance of our self-righteous individualism. And, as tourists and locals go on weekend outings to the tiny, token patches of old growth like Avatar Grove—a minuscule show-case of the environmental bounty that is verging on no-more—the twenty-first century war in the woods at Fairy Creek BC, the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history, has been raging just around the corner since August 2020.
Last September, after a sacred circle at Fairy Creek led by Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones, Grandma Losah of the Tla’amin Nation and Haida Gwaii singer Charlotte Jones, I went to Avatar Grove. Contrary to popular opinion, I wasn’t happy at all. I didn’t gaze up in awe at the thousand-year-old trees and think how wonderful it is that we and our children can witness these protected epics. No, I was in mourning. Even though this fifty hectare tract of untouched forest is beautiful, it is only fifty hectares, a duplicitous showcase that is a sickening testimony to what has and is and will be cut down, a drop in the biodiversity emergency bucket.
On November 2nd, 2021 John Horgan and the BC NDP announced that they are “taking historic new action on old growth forests.” Great! Along with a happy-go-lucky trip to Avatar Grove, we can believe the NDP’s sudden bravado of goodness just like, after the June 7th announcement of the two-year deferrals of all old growth logging at Fairy Creek, it was, naturally, believed that all old growth logging was deferred at Fairy Creek. However, the numbers are rarely, if ever, reported; reality is rarely, if ever, contextualized. It was only 884 hectares of old growth that were temporarily protected within the 23,000 hectares of pristine forests that exist outside of the Carmanah/Walbran and Pacific Rim Parks; the logging continued (when Teal Jones could get past the Forest Defenders that is); Horgan kept telling the Forest Defenders to go home, that they had gotten what they wanted. The First Nations (read coerced Indian Band Council) don’t want you there. Meanwhile, the forests kept falling.
However, because of the tenacity of the Forest Defenders and the political climate of COP24, the government of BC has been called out on its barbaric forestry practices that are guided by corporate interests; they have had to do something so as not to be absolutely embarrassed on the international stage. And yet, even if that something is a step in the right direction, the new proposed deferrals, just like those in June, haven’t changed anything much.
“Too little too late,” says Joshua Wright, Forest Defender and spokesperson and mapping expert for the Rainforest Flying Squad in response to the November 2nd announcement.
“While it’s a welcome step in the right direction, we and Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones, remain concerned that it allows for the status quo of old growth logging to continue unabated,” said the Rainforest Flying Squad media statement in response to June 7th. At best, both announcements of deferrals are a step in the right direction because something is now (sort of) being done. Sort of being the key word because the logging hasn’t stopped.
Photo: Focus Wandering Photo
This tiny step in the right direction is shrouded by the concept of ‘deferrals.’ As John Horgan and the BC NDP announced in their statement of historic new action: “It means working in partnership with First Nations to defer harvest of BC’s most at-risk old growth forests.” OK great. Sounds good. However, surrounded by such positives as ‘partnership,’ 'historic new action,’ ‘direct support,’ and ‘equal footing’—to name but a few instances—the crucial verb ‘defer’ is only used once and, more importantly, the length of time of the deferrals is not stated. Why not? Because two years is far too short when in perpetuity is the civilized thing to do.
The definition of ‘Defer’ is: “to put off (action, consideration etc) to a future time; to delay.” As always within the furor of controversy, there are differing statements as to what the temporary deferral of clear-cutting (some of) BC’s ancient forests means, or can mean. The BC government tosses out sensationalist stats as Forestry Minister Katrine Conroy proclaims: “[d]eferring harvest in an area this large is unprecedented and surpasses the size of 226 cities of Vancouver” and, the NDP release adds: “Or 6,400 Stanley Parks.” 
Eighteen months ago, (more than the amount of time the Forest Defenders, invited by the hereditary first nations and Pacheedaaht Elder Bill Jones, have been blockading clear cutting at Fairy Creek and the surrounding area), the Technical Advisory Panel made up of foresters and scientists advised the government about action on forest management in order for the Horgan government to keep to their October 2020 electoral promise of stopping all old growth logging. Gary Merkel, one of the experts on the panel, reiterated the obvious: the few remaining ecosystems “that have remained relatively undisturbed since the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago are not replaceable.” The Globe & Mail reported that, according to Merkel, “[t]he deferrals are meant to buy time to transform the way forestry is done in B.C., replacing clear-cut logging with harvesting methods that mimic natural disturbance. This form of forestry is what is defined as sustainable, the opposite of clear-cutting, “which means that we would harvest in a manner more linked to the way nature would change the forest. In some coastal forests, that’s a few trees at a time.”  Unfortunately, while the deferrals and the idealistic outlook that they are meant to buy time to transform an extraction economy to a sustainable one hover undecided, the 10,000 year old ecosystems are still being logged.
Photo Focus Wandering Photo
In BC, the term deferral has taken on another definition:
delayed. The November 2nd deferrals of 2.6 million hectares of old-growth logging around the province have been triumphantly announced before they have become a reality. As a ‘new action’ paused before it has begun, Torrance Coste, national campaign director for the Wilderness Committee, comments: “Delaying deferral of what the technical advisory panel has identified as at-risk old-growth means accepting irreversible biodiversity loss.” Tzeporah Berman, the international program director for Stand.earth states: “The government is still delaying concrete action” and “Deferral is not equivalent to protection; deferral maintains at-risk old forests in the short-term,” emphasizes the Technical Advisory Panel. 
Even the government, at the same time as they announce their unprecedented action “prioritizing ecosystem health … clean air and clean water," undermines their celebratory stats of hundreds of Vancouvers (not very much when one really thinks about it!). Katrine Conroy dooms her own government’s triumph when she laments that these deferrals will result in 4,500 job losses, “if all the proposed logging deferrals were made permanent.” This doom is predictably hyperbolized by The Council of Forest Industries that estimates the proposed deferrals would shut down between 14 and 20 sawmills, threatening 18,000 jobs. Stats vary according to agenda. No matter. The doom and/or the glory are both but delayed proposals and, regardless of which side you’re on, the November 2nd announcement of unprecedented action is still only "Talk and Log" or what can now be called: “suspend deferrals and log.” As the deferrals dangle and the BC government scampers to save face, trees continue to fall, industry and its extraction economy are still winning. And the Forest Defenders aren't giving up.
June 25, 2021 marching towards an illegal RCMP exclusion zone while 2000 Road was being logged. Photo: Karen Moe
Industry is nervous, though.
One could say even frantic. They are afraid that they will be deprived of their ‘too much,’ and fear invariably brings out even more ferocity in the beast. In the hot bed of the battle between Forest Defenders and logging corporations in and around Fairy Creek, Teal Jones has been madly clear-cutting cut block 8022 around Heli Camp that was—tragically because at least 25% as of November 25th is gone—was once home to the rare speckled belly lichen and threatened marbled murrelet. Cut block 8022 is one that would have been affected by the two-year deferrals and Teal Jones has been taking full advantage of the delay by helicoptering loggers in when the vehicles can’t get past the unrelenting Forest Defenders. In early November, because of the beginning of severe storms, Joshua Wright told me that logging would typically not be happening in the current weather conditions. As the few remaining Forest Defenders will not give up trying to save the pristine forest, ironically, despite their proclamations of defending jobs, Teal Jones has even been putting their own employees’ lives in danger.
Part of the government’s new action on old growth forests is “to support the deferral process by immediately ceasing advertising and selling BC Timber Sales in the affected areas.” However, in true capitalist fashion with no concern for the biodiversity that is, despite the benevolence, still at risk, this halting of advertising and timber sales does not include the timber that has already been sold. Such unspoken gaps open up the possibility of corporate loop holes that could be filled by what cut blocks were sold previous to deferral and those that weren’t. As the Globe & Mail commented: “[t]he province will halt its own timber sales in the proposed deferral areas, but nothing more will happen until First Nations sign off on any deferrals within their traditional territories. It means most logging operations around British Columbia are unchanged while the province’s promised reforms are discussed at individual tables.” And meanwhile, the clear-cutting continues.
Video: Shawna Knight
What is rarely mentioned by mainstream media
is that the forestry industry, as one based on extraction, is going to end anyway. The stats of job loss and the devastation of rural communities if extraction forestry is transitioned to sustainability are never contextualized; paranoia is central and any analysis of the short-term nature of an extraction economy is presented without any discussion of the inevitability of when the timber is all gone. The jobs will end within the next five (some say three) years because there will be no more old growth and the forest fires and pine beetles are not going to stop killing the second and third growth any time soon, if ever. It is never mentioned that transition will benefit those who will lose their jobs clear-cutting as they, too, transition into long-lasting jobs through a more sustainable way of being on this earth.
One of the excuses the BC NDP government has made for not fulfilling their campaign promise to end old growth logging is because they say they have no choice. Due to the ravages of the pine beetle and forest fires, (caused, naturally, by the very same climate change that cutting old growth contributes to) there is not enough second and third growth to keep the industry going. Even if there were enough second and third growth to sustain the current extraction model of forestry, the increased mechanization of the industry—that feeds the always ravenous capitalist bottom-line—cuts jobs as technology develops. One logging Harvester operated by one person can fell, de-limb and cut-to-length on average 350-450 trees per day which has been approximated as 8-10 times greater than when trees are harvested with chainsaws. Granted, the harvesting machinery cannot fell the large old growth and these trees still have to be cut by individual workers. Nevertheless, as the less than 2% of old-growth forest that are still available for harvest and “the BC Forests sector cuts 55,000 hectares of old growth trees every year,” the forestry industry as we have known it for decades is destined to end. But, an ideology of take-now-and-don’t-think-about-later still rules the economy of Canada and the corporation dominated world. In response to Horgan’s propaganda of the loss of jobs-jobs-jobs, Elder Mike Arnouse of the Adam Lake Shuswap Nation half-joked at a Fairy Creek sacred circle last August: “You can make lots of jobs for yourselves. Clean up the water. Clean up the air. There are lots of jobs-jobs-jobs.”
In contrast to the Forestry Minister’s undermining of her now green government when she stated that 4,500 jobs will be lost if the deferrals pass, the government announcement states, as though this is a novel proposition, “we’re putting into place direct support for workers and communities to provide opportunities and a more secure future.” However, subsidizing the doomed forestry industry is nothing new. According to Kathleen Code, spokesperson for The Rainforest Flying Squad, “there is not another industry that is so directly supported by government, so here we have yet another subsidy to the industrial forest corporations.” Code challenges industry: “I would … ask … corporations like Western Forest Products and Teal Jones how much money they are willing to put into transition programs for their employees” (especially when they have to lay off their workers in 3-5 years). Naturally, we all know the answer. It’s always up to the government (meaning the taxpayer) to support the workers who are negatively affected by self-serving corporate business practices.
Clear Cut 2000 Road July 2021
As another example of the government prioritization
of an unsustainable industry, in 2015, The Rural Dividend Fund of $25 million was established “to provide financial support to small BC rural communities, Indigenous and non-Indigenous… [and] to provide small communities … some means of diversifying their economies.” That is, transition economies away from a dependency on natural resource extraction. In 2018, “in an effort to adjust to the end of the mountain pine beetle harvest and the devastating 2017 and 2018 fire seasons … The government [invested] $69 million for programs and supports that [would] offer [forestry] workers and communities various supports.” That same year, the government once again prioritized the subsidization of the crippled forestry industry and took the $25 million that had been pledged to economic diversification in another attempt to maintain a dying one. Even though this shift in funding was claimed only temporary, The Rural Dividend Fund has not been re-instated since.
August 14th, 2021 250 Forest Defenders led up Granite Main by Haida Gwaii singer Charlotte Jones. Photo: Karen Moe
And that gets us to the politics
of the First Nations themselves; the crucial part of the story of the clear cutting of ancient forests on unceded Indigenous land; the crucial part of the reality that is rarely told, and certainly not in the gap-filled sound-bites of mainstream media.
Canada claims to abide by the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which requires free, prior and informed consent to resource extraction in their territories. The BC Minister of Forests explains that “her government is legally obliged to uphold these principles,” but here’s where it gets fishy: in the same statement she says that “B.C.’s old-growth forests can serve as a bulwark against climate change” (meaning the historical new action that the NDP claim to be embarking upon). However, the defense against danger, strong support, encouragement in time of need that are the definitions of ‘bulwark’ are followed by a suspicious ‘but.’ The provincial is legally obliged to uphold these principles, Conroy states; however, what speaks in the un-spoken is: saving the old growth is not up to her government. And—even though their new “bulwark against climate change” is an absolute about face—they would gladly stop industry from raping the colonized land and happily end what they have been doing all along. But: it’s up to the very people who the BC and Canadian governments have exploited and oppressed for over a century; it’s up to the very people to save their land that was stolen and decimated by their now turn-coat benevolent oppressors. And so the cutting of old growth continues.
On November 2nd, 2021, “[t]he Province … request[ed] that First Nations indicate within the next 30 days whether or not they support the deferrals, require further engagement to incorporate local and Indigenous knowledge, or would prefer to discuss deferrals through existing treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements. Capacity funding of up to $12.69 million over three years is available to support this process.” Even though this imposition of responsibility framed as a request sounds fair enough on the surface, how exactly is the ‘free, ‘prior’ and ‘informed’ consent that the BC government is legally ‘obliged’ to uphold as per the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at work here?
There is no freedom provided by the panic of having to make a crucial decision for the future of their immediate communities and for the planet within thirty days. Communities that are still ravaged by the impacts of genocide cannot be expected to become adequately informed within thirty days without adequate resources. There is no ‘prior’ when this question along with its proposed deferral areas were shared with First Nations about a week before the government announcement. And, what will happen if First Nations opt for the more time that is necessary for them to make the informed and free decision as per the UN Declaration of their rights? In terms of the logging of old growth stopping ideally now or as soon as possible, what is ostensibly a Yes/No question could very well result in the trees continuing to fall in the designated deferred areas for months or more.
Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones wishing the 250 Forest Defenders well before we marched to the Sacred Red Dress Site August 14th, 2021. Photo: Karen Moe
during a press conference where Pachedaaht Elder Bill Jones, a residential school survivor, addressed the media about the Fairy Creek Blockades, one journalist asked “What about the citizens of your nation? Why aren’t more of them joining your protest?”
Elder Bill sighed, noticeably weighed down by the burden of having to explain the obvious (again)—the foundational truth that is rarely told:
“It was the Indian Act in the reservation system whereby we were isolated since 1920 or so and alienated from society and not allowed to integrate and not allowed to learn communication skills adequate for us to survive or make a good living in town. And a few of us have, like myself, but the great majority of our people were deprived of the communication skills systematically via the residential schools that set up the basis for our oppression. First, our communication skills were restricted and then, of course, our thinking abilities. We were systematically alienated from this world and given only the hopes of the band council saving us and the government of Canada provided the funds to keep our people isolated from even our own thoughts. When you go to my village, you will see that. Everybody is sitting in their house watching TV.”
Not only has the Indian Act dehumanized the Indigenous peoples of Canada, it has also divided them. The Indian Band Council was the system of governance set up by the colonizer in accordance with his earth-detached, patriarchal hierarchy that replaced the Potlach: the traditional Indigenous system of governance that was connected to the earth and the ancestors and, in contrast to the traditions of patriarchy, respected and empowered women. The Band Council is one of the two prongs of the Indian Act imposed upon the Indigenous peoples in 1876: the other being the residential schools that were in reality epicenters for genocide, the depth of these atrocities only recently being discovered and acknowledged by settler Canadians and the nation-state of Canada. Nevertheless, regardless of its roots in genocide, the Indian Band Council continues to be the legitimized voice of the First Nations and, when the government says they are consulting with First Nations, they are ostensibly only consulting the colonized and, as in the Pacheedaht Nation, they do not consult with all citizens in a First Nation.
The Indian Band Councils are elected—again another act of subterfuge in legitimizing the colonial system under the auspices of irreproachable democracy. As related by Elder Bill Jones when describing the colonized mentality of his people, the so-called free elections in the Pacheedaht Nation are ruled by the government funding that is distributed through the Indian Band Council, just enough to keep the citizens compliant. Colonized peoples invariably vote for the hand that (sort of) feeds them. And for the Pacheedaht, that proverbial hand belongs to elected chief Jeff Jones who, along with the only other Band Council member who makes the decisions for a community that is intentionally left uninformed, Tracey Charlie. On the other side of the divide within the Pacheedaht Nation are the hereditary citizens, those who have broken the bonds of colonization, those who have, in Elder Bill’s words: flown the coop. Those who have flown the coop, have broken free of their oppression, are those who are not consulted when deciding the future of their ancestral lands.
During our interview, I asked Kathleen Code if this now province-wide proclamation of two year deferrals is going to be any different than the two year deferrals at Fairy Creek in June 2021 where only the Pacheedaht Indian Band Council was consulted.
“Maybe it will be a little bit different, but still it's going to be mostly the same. It's just a small change gain. Of the 204 First Nations in BC, some are governed under the hereditary system. Some are governed under the elected council and do very well. And then there are the others who aren’t quite so progressive.” The Pacheedaht, on whose ancestral land the pristine forests of Fairy Creek and some of the key surrounding areas in the struggle reside, are some of the ‘not quite so progressive.’
The Grandfather Tree (on the cut block) Photo: Karen Moe
Regardless of the extent of the divide
within Indigenous communities and the varying degrees of prosperity and negotiating over a century of genocide, the yoke of a thirty-day time frame to consult every citizen in each First Nation’s community will certainly not result in informed consent, and the Indigenous leaders are very concerned about this.
Jasmine Thomas, a councillor with the Saik’uz First Nation, said they “are busy reviewing B.C.’s deferral plans, [but] some neighbouring communities are facing resource and capacity challenges. It will also take time for nations to consult their own members.” She continued to explain to Victoria News that “her community is involved in forestry and they’re not asking for all harvesting to stop, but “business as usual can’t keep happening, logging can’t keep happening” in areas of at-risk old-growth while the nation works through its long-term resource management plans.” The logging needs to be stopped while the First Nations work to make an informed decision.
The gaps in the consultations are disguised as “working in partnership with the First Nations” is, like with the June 7th deferrals in Fairy Creek and surrounding areas, another political spin that lands back where it came from: talk and log. As Terry Teegee, regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, stated:
“the lack of proper consultations with First Nations prior to the announcement, as well as the government’s failure to provide details on transition financing and financing for Indigenous-led conservation solutions, all point to the province’s repeated pattern of advancing a mismanaged forestry landscape that fails to uphold Indigenous title and rights, jurisdiction, and decision-making.”
An arrest of Elder Lady Chainsaw June 2021 photo: Karen Moe
Beneath the auspices of (finally)
taking unprecedented action on protecting pristine forests, the BC government has imposed an impossible question upon the First Nations.
The First Nations Leadership Council has stated: we are "extremely concerned that old growth remains unprotected today, and that the province has passed responsibility to First Nations without providing financial support for nations to replace any revenues that might be lost if they choose to defer logging old growth in their territory.”
Kathleen Code comments, “as long as the forest tenure system is in place that is settled by the big industrial forest companies, I don't know how they're going to move those companies out of there. They're established tenures and to transition to First Nations, I really don't understand how they're planning to do on that. It’s very vague. There are no guideposts or milestones which they're aiming for. They've just sort of said: Oh, well, here's the land. Here's some forest to be deferred. Talk amongst yourselves. Come back and tell us what you think.”
In the end, the to-defer-or-not-to-defer isn’t a question at all: it’s mute, impractical, an exercise in political power: an insidious repetition of the colonization and exploitation of the First Peoples of Canada.
And what happens if the First Nations say “No” to this impossible question that has been imposed upon them? They will be blamed for the continued decimation of their land and the end of some of the earth’s last remaining old growth forests, that's what. “The First Nations chose, we worked with them and fulfilled our obligation to give them an opportunity for their free and informed consent,” the government will announce and the uninformed (and/or the racist) will parrot. And, meanwhile, the clear cutting will continue.
The Forest Defenders aren’t falling for it though. That’s because they are there, beyond what isn’t being told, in the truth of the gaps and in the heart of the government’s empty promises. I asked Joshua Wright which areas around Fairy Creek on the 23,000 hectares of at-risk old-growth on Crown/Unceded Pacheedaht, Huu-ay-ah, and Ditidahtthat land will be affected by the proposed deferrals. This is what he knows based on the map presented to the RFS on November 2nd by the provincial government. 
“As far as logging sites go, less than half of them are significantly impacted,” he told me. The numbers that the government are basing their historic new action on old growth forests on are based on low resolution data. “The government doesn’t know where all of the old growth is,” he said, “but the loggers do.”
Photo: Karen Moe
Maybe Temporarily Protected:
1. Looper Creek (Caycuse) where Western Forest Products (WFP) has planned logging would receive protection by the deferrals.
2. All of the planned cut blocks and the approved road building in the valley bottom section of Heli Camp would receive protection by the deferrals. (Unfortunately, as of November 22nd, only 25% remains)
3. Cut Block 888 in lower Camper Creek would receive protection by the deferrals.
4. Parts of the WFP cut block in upper Walbran would receive protection by the deferrals.
5. All of the forest we fought for in the Caycuse last spring would have been protected by the deferrals. If they were still standing.
Not Even Temporarily Protected:
1. The cut block at Sasin would not receive protection by the deferrals. The road building behind Sasin would.
2. Almost none of the planned logging and approved road building in Bugaboo Creek would be affected by the deferrals. However, part of the forest potentially including the small pending cut may be deferred from the chopping block.
3. The 3 km approved road above Heli Camp would not be affected by the deferrals. Two of the three cut blocks planned along that road would, however, receive protection. The largest of those three cut blocks would be right next to FC, above the pool at Heli would remain on the chopping block.
4. None of the remaining logging on 2000 road would be affected by the deferrals (most of what was already cut would have been). However, the adjacent forest containing at least three planned cut blocks could receive some protections.
5. None of the lower Caycuse cut blocks would receive protection.
6. None of the remaining logging or road building approved in Central Walbran would be affected by the deferrals.
7. None of the logging approved in Loop Creek would be affected by the deferrals.
8. None of the remaining logging for Falls Creek would be affected by the deferrals.
9. None of the logging in Eden South would be affected by the deferrals
10.None of the approved cut blocks and road building on Edinburgh Mountain would be affected by the deferrals
Score: 10 for Industry, 5 for Biodiversity and, with a kick in the teeth of cruel irony Heli Camp, what has been cut at 2000 Road and the forest at Caycuse ‘would’ have been protected by the deferrals. In the case of these three ancient forests that are no more, the government, ever-obedient to industry, will be deferring the logging of clear cuts. Allowing for some wiggle-room due to ambiguity, score: 12 to 3.
Video: Shawna Knight
During the thirty days the First Nations were given
to decide whether to temporarily halt deforestation or request more time to make an informed decision, on the Front Lines of the Fairy Creek Blockade Teal Jones has commenced road building toward the ridge line of the temporarily protected Fairy Creek Watershed as well as in another area adjacent to the Carmanah/Walbran and Pacific Rim Parks. Both of these areas where road-building has started were left out of the proposed deferrals. Teal Jones, realizing this, is preparing them for logging.
It’s important to be conscious of the fact that, even though 864 hectares of the Fairy Creek Watershed were temporarily deferred in June, an ecosystem is not a cut block. Ecosystems are communities. As ancient trees are clear-cut and threatened species' habitats are carved around the edges of the deferred, that which is claimed to be protected will inevitably be negatively affected.
6,400 Stanley Parks certainly isn’t enough; however, the temporarily June 7th deferrals of 864 hectares at Fairy Creek and the proposals for province-wide deferrals on November 2nd would never have happened if it weren’t for the Forest Defenders. At the core of double-speak and talk-and-log and political spins is the fact that, in Canada, even if the corporations are still feasting on the largest percentage of biodiversity, because of the activism of environmentally conscious people fighting to protect old growth forest, we do have our Carmanah, our Clayoquot, our Great Bear Rainforest and, at least for two years, parts of Fairy Creek. The doing is the hope.
As of the publication of this article and the thirty-day deadline for the First Nations to answer an impossible question is only two days away, all of the news has, ironically, been focusing on the unprecedented devastation wreaked by climate change and clear-cuts on British Columbia, the very devastation the Indigenous peoples are now given the responsibility to fix. Joshua Wright speaks for the Forest Defenders who, at the invitation of Elder Bill Jones and the hereditary First Nations, remain: unmoving, for the long-haul, entrenched in the eye of the storm of a story that is, unfortunately, far from short.
“We won’t leave until all of the old growth we are fighting for is protected. These deferrals, although a step in the right direction, won’t do that. Ultimately, our blockades will not end until all old growth logging is stopped, whether that takes another few months or the next ten years.”
June 23rd, 2021 arrests at an illegal exclusion zone on the way to 2000 Road and Waterfall
Photo: Karen Moe
August 14th, 2021 250 forest defenders marched to meet and relieve the front lines. Because of our action that day, we took back Granite Main from Red Dress to the highway.
Photo: Karen Moe
About the Author:
Karen Moe is a writer, visual and performance artist and a feminist activist. She has a degree in English Literature and Feminist Theory. Her work focuses on systemic violence in patriarchy: be it gender, race, the environment or speciesism. She has been published in such magazines as Border Crossings, ArtSpace, WhiteHot and Revista 192. She is the editor and founder of this magazine, Vigilance: Fierce Feminisms. Karen has exhibited and performed across Canada, in the US and in Mexico. Her first book, Victim: a Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor, is being published in Spring 2022. Karen lives in British Columbia, Canada and in Mexico City.
Check out Karen's author website and get the first 21-page preview of Victim: a Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor. It's all about revolution :) https://karenmoeauthor.com/
 Because of the record-breaking heat bubble, the entire town of Lytton BC spontaneously burned to the ground last summer.  https://www.ctvnews.ca/climate-and-environment/evacuation-orders-recovery-efforts-ongoing-amid-threat-from-devastating-floods-mudslides-in-b-c-1.5669582; https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/wyntk-bc-floods-nov-17-1.6251839  https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/how-canadians-can-cut-carbon-footprints-1.6202194  https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/may/16/one-day-disappear-tuvalu-sinking-islands-rising-seas-climate-change  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/30/canada-inuits-climate-change-impact-global-warming-melting-ice  https://upsidedownworld.org/archives/mexico/made-in-canada-violence-mining-in-mexico/  https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/alberta-canadas-tar-sands-is-growing-but-indigenous-people-fight-back  https://environmentamerica.org/sites/environment/files/exp/reports/costs_of_fracking.html  Mark Jaccard, a sustainable energy professor at Simon Fraser University, calculated that producing tar sands oil known as bitumen and pumping it to Burnaby would release the equivalent of 7.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year in Alberta and British Columbia — as much as 2.2 million cars — while refining, distributing and burning the bitumen would release 71 million more metric tons overseas. Farther north, the 670-kilometer-long Coastal GasLink pipeline is designed to initially carry 2.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day to Kitimat. There, the fracked gas is to be liquefied for export, emitting 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. The capacity of the pipeline and export facility could be expanded in future phases. https://crosscut.com/environment/2021/03/indigenous-activists-fight-british-columbias-pipelines-last-mile  When you go to Avitar Grove, of course, enjoy! But pop by the Blockades on the way out or the way in and, because you obviously value old growth forest and the environment, check out the Fairy Creek Supplies and Services needed Facebook page before you go and find out what you can bring and do to help out  The quotes from the NDP announcement of Old Growth (temporary) protection are from John Horgan’s Facebook page that has been barraging Inboxes with misleading propaganda since November 2, 2021.  https://thetyee.ca/News/2021/09/30/Horgan-Failed-Fairy-Creek-Say-BC-Liberals-Greens/; https://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/pacheedaht-first-nation-calls-for-protesters-to-vacate-fairy-creek-amid-wildfire-concerns-1.5491710; https://www.cheknews.ca/pacheedaht-first-nation-asks-old-growth-protesters-to-leave-its-territory-766246/ Regardless of the invitation by Elder Bill Jones and the Hereditary Chief, Victor Peters, The Pacheedaht Indian Band Council telling the Forest Defenders to leave was featured in the mainstream media for months. It was rarely reported that the Forest Defenders have been invited, even pleaded, to stay by the non-consulted, hereditary citizens of the Nation.  A volunteer driven, grassroots, non-violent direct action movement that is committed to protecting the last stands of globally significant ancient temperate rainforest on Vancouver Island.  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-british-columbia-proposes-unprecedented-deferrals-of-old-growth/  https://www.bcndp.ca/latest/were-taking-action-bcs-most-ancient-most-vulnerable-old-growth-forests  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-british-columbia-proposes-unprecedented-deferrals-of-old-growth/  https://www.revelstokemountaineer.com/b-c-announces-logging-deferrals-for-2-6-million-hectares-of-old-growth/  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-british-columbia-proposes-unprecedented-deferrals-of-old-growth/ The 45,000 jobs lost during the 16-year BC Liberal reign were a direct result of the tripling of raw log exports and the shutting down of local saw mills because of the absolute prioritization of global corporations and the expense of the people of BC. https://ancientforestalliance.org/bc-liberal-government-more-than-tripled-raw-log-exports-to-foreign-mills/; https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2019/10/07/Political-Amnesia-Fall-Of-BC-Timber/  This didn’t happen: https://thecanadian.news/2021/09/11/the-tiny-lichen-that-could-stop-teal-jones-from-cutting-down-fairy-creeks-old-forest/; https://www.capitaldaily.ca/news/meet-the-endangered-bird-that-nests-high-above-fairy-creek  https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021FLNRO0068-002088  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-british-columbia-proposes-unprecedented-deferrals-of-old-growth/  Yes, there is some ‘reforestation.’ However, an ecosystem cannot be replaced by a mono-stand of most profitable species of tree. Reforestation is but another aspect of deforestation.  See my other articles and an analysis by Ben Barclay for discussions of transitioning forestry practices and jobs: https://www.vigilancemagazine.com/post/it-s-all-about-the-numbers-in-canada-it-s-still-possible-to-help-save-the-planet; https://www.vigilancemagazine.com/post/fairy-creek-far-beyond-politics; https://www.vigilancemagazine.com/post/what-is-the-real-story-at-fairy-creek  The CTL [cut-to-length] harvester produced 523 ft3 of material per productive machine-hour (PMH) with a range of 463 to 734 ff ~. oar -- PMH. The harvester cut about 47.48 trees Der PMH ~ ~~ . ~~ (range: 35 to 56 trees per PMH).The average delay-free cycle time to travel to the tree, cut and delimb it, and cut the stem to length was about 1.29 minutes per tree (range: 1 .Ol to 1.72 minutes). This is consistent with similar sites as reported by the operator where 350 to 450 trees are harvested per day. https://www.fs.fed.us/ne/newtown_square/publications/research_papers/pdfs/scanned/OCR/ne_rp711.pdf  The cost of mechanized harvesting in stands with low average volume is lower by 20%-30% than the traditional technique in which chain saws are used (Bacher-Winterhalter 2004). According to Ohrner (1999), the productivity of the harvesting machinery when harvesting trees with a stem volume of 0.2 m3 is approximately 8-10 m3 h-1, or 8-10 times greater than when the trees are harvested with chain saws. It has also been noted that the efficiency of the harvester is more closely related to the volume of the felled trees compared to the efficiency of the motor-manual method. On the other hand, the bigger the average stem volume, the higher the underbrush, and the fewer trees that are felled per unit of area, the more acceptable is the motor-manual harvesting technique (Dummel and Forbrig 1992). When the motormanual method is used, the timber can be crosscut better, thereby separating more valuable assortments, but in this case the labor costs usually increase. https://journals.tubitak.gov.tr/agriculture/issues/tar-12-36-5/tar-36-5-8-1103-46.pdf  The stat of remaining old growth forest in BC is usually 2.7%. However, that includes the forest that is already protected. I am stating 2% here as an estimate of that which is not protected and, hence, still open to logging. Some say it is less than 2%.  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-british-columbia-proposes-unprecedented-deferrals-of-old-growth/  See the David Broadland article “Forestry Doesn’t Pay the Bills, Folks” for in intensive report on the history of subsidizing the extraction forestry industry. https://www.focusonvictoria.ca/forests/forestry-doesnt-pay-the-bills-folks-r24/  https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/economic-development/support-organizations-community-partners/rural-economic-development/rural-dividend  https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021FLNRO0068-002088B.C.’s deferral plan includes just shy of $12.7 million over three years to support First Nations through the process, but no further funding was announced. That amounts to about $20,000 per year for each of more than 200 First Nations across B.C., said Phillip, calling the funds “totally insufficient to undertake the work.” https://www.vicnews.com/news/indigenous-leaders-concerned-over-b-c-s-process-for-old-growth-logging-deferrals/  https://www.vicnews.com/news/indigenous-leaders-concerned-over-b-c-s-process-for-old-growth-logging-deferrals/;  As Gerda Lerner writes in her book The Creation of Patriarchy: “to make a person into a slave, they must be made other than human.” The Creation of Patriarchy. New York/ Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986: 24-25.  https://www.livescience.com/childrens-graves-residential-schools-canada.html; https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/28/world/canada/kamloops-mass-grave-residential-schools.html; https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2021/sep/06/canada-residential-schools-indigenous-children-cultural-genocide-map (to cite a few).  In our interview, when I asked Kathleen Code about how free and informed consent functions in many First Nations communities. She cited the Pacheedaht nation as an example where no freedom for majority exists: “I'm thinking that free refers to the free availability of information. Factual information, unbiased information. The case of the Pacheedaht is a case of no information being made available. And the forced revenue sharing agreements are being signed without any consultation whatsoever with the Pacheedaht people. The only person who [makes the decisions] is the only person who gets any information. That’s Jeff Jones, the elected chief, and one band council member, Tracy Charlie. The two of them have signed the latest forced revenue sharing agreements that were signed February 2021 this year. There's room on the document for three signatures. The third line is left blank and there is no witness.”  https://www.vigilancemagazine.com/post/it-s-all-about-the-numbers-in-canada-it-s-still-possible-to-help-save-the-planet  https://www.vicnews.com/news/indigenous-leaders-concerned-over-b-c-s-process-for-old-growth-logging-deferrals/  Ibid  https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/managing-our-forest-resources/ol  Joshua Wright email correspondence November 2021.  https://www.vigilancemagazine.com/post/the-doing-is-the-hope-the-forest-defenders-of-fairy-creek; https://www.vigilancemagazine.com/post/el-hacer-es-la-esperanza-los-defensores-del-bosque-de-fairy-creek-arroyo-de-las-hadas
After the seige of HQ August 11th, 2021 Photo: Karen Moe