The NDP government refuse to keep their promises to protect old-growth despite scientists and researchers urging them to act now.

In the past year we’ve watched the devastating impacts of climate change unfold in real-time. Catastrophic wildfires, like the blaze that left the town of Lytton in a pile of rubble and ash, are a symptom of climate imbalance. So are the floods that ravaged Abbotsford and the landslide that swept away multiple highways, cutting off coastal access from the rest of Canada.

Poor logging practices play an accomplice in these disastrous events. Clear-cut logging contributes to these slides and flooding while forest fires use the tinder dry aftermath as fuel. We could mitigate these fiery nightmares with the help of ancient forests which retain water and act as fire breaks. The old growth forests of BC are the best kind of ecosystem for sequestering carbon on land on the planet by a significant margin. Pulling carbon out of the air is non-negotiable if we are to limit warming to safe levels. Instead, the provincial and federal government’s policies allow for this destruction. Surviving these disasters won’t matter if old-growth forests disappear since their ecosystems provide the biodiversity we need to pull through as a species.

This means that if we do not act fast, there will be global famine, political conflict, and civil unrest like we’ve never seen before. No where on earth will be safe from this, including BC. If you thought fist-fights over toilet paper shortages were bad when COVID-19 hit, imagine having to ration or fight for our food. Society quickly unravels the longer famines persist.

As foreboding as this reality is, the value of these gentle giants go far beyond their power to save the world from mass extinction. What might be worse than death and destruction, Emily? You may ask. My answer: living a life that strays far away from meaning, purpose, and connection. Naturally, this highlights the cultural and spiritual significance of these ancient forests.

I felt this wisdom from Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones when he spoke about the forests on his traditional territory at Ada’itsx (Fairy Creek). He urged us to look up and gaze upon the Great Mother’s cathedral. As we stood in a circle, revering the canopy above, he encouraged us to use these sacred places for meditation and prayer.

If we can’t care for the earth and by extension, our collective soul, then do we even deserve to carry on as a society? My answer came in the form of a Western Screech Owl, a threatened species nearing extinction. This tiny bird emerged from the shadows on a stormy night at Fairy Creek. That pair of bright glowing yellow eyes stared at me from the darkness as if they awaited my arrival. With just enough time to snap a photo, it felt as though this owl knew their brief appearance could save their home. These rare moments, and from what I could only describe as a sign, made me recognize that the only way forward is to work together.

So, how can we stop these trees from falling?

Tell your MLA that we need a moratorium on old growth logging NOW.

Deferrals are not protection. In fact, as government officials roll the dice with our future, logging companies are planning to mow down these cutblocks. They’re patiently waiting for arbitrary deferral periods to end. As they sit in boardrooms and collect dividends, they hope the public doesn’t realize their plans until it’s too late.

Politicians will tell you they need time for Indigenous consultation yet they do not respect the rights and title of many Indigenous sovereign nations. If truth and reconciliation is more than just a publicity stunt, then governments need to learn and understand how to move forward. This includes gathering input from hereditary leadership and elders. Furthermore, alternative funding for conservation should always be an option for First Nations. That way, financial opportunities remain on the table if they protect the ancient forests on their unceded traditional territory. The current system forces First Nations to make the difficult decision of providing for their community or saving the forest. These aggressive tactics to further corporate agendas through resource extraction continues to violate the rights of Indigenous people.

Industry and complacent politicians will argue that the economy and jobs depend on old-growth. However, the government has allowed the export of raw logs, effectively shutting down over 100 mills in BC over the last 20 years alone. If they truly cared about local jobs, they would change these policies, stop exporting jobs, re-tool mills to handle smaller second-growth logs, and focus on retraining efforts for industry workers where necessary. With less than 2.7% of old-growth forests left and how quickly they’re being logged, these trees will disappear in 5 years anyway—along with the jobs sustained by them.

Get involved in direct action

If the government remains complacent, we have every right to dissent. Legally, we have a right to assemble in peaceful protest. When we come together with these values, we are catalysts for change. Luckily, groups have formed with a common vision that focuses on civil resistance. These tactics allow us to fight back when the government fails to follow through. It’s time to tell them we must protect the environment and by extension, the people, over profit margins and corporate interests.

Save Old Growth

Visit to find out when actions are happening in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Revelstoke, and around BC. The only way to act fast enough is through civil resistance and they have strategies to get the government to listen. You can also check them out on Instagram and Facebook for their latest news. This is our offense to force government action.

Visit a blockade to lend your support

Blockading acts as a last resort to stop industry from performing these heinous acts of resource extraction before it’s too late. Fairy Creek Blockade, Wet’suwet’en, and other Indigenous lead occupations buy everyone more time and put pressure on the government to follow through with their promises. This is our defense to slow industry action while we wait for government action, driven by our offense (see above).

Fairy Creek Blockade: Instagram and Facebook

Wet’suwet’en: Instagram and Facebook

Revelstoke (Bigmouth): Instagram and Facebook

**Please note, the blockades may have entry restrictions and applications. Please research up-to-date information to follow their protocols

Join a local group committed to making a difference through civil resistance

Creating system changes doesn’t happen overnight. Peaceful approaches to civil resistance are necessary to induce change. Research climate action and environmental groups in your area to get involved. Here are a couple of local options:

XR Vancouver

XR Nanaimo

Support charities that advocate for old-growth protection and climate justice

Make the most out of your donations by choosing charities that align with your values. Here’s a few you’ll want to check out that prioritize the protection of forests, land, and water.

Raven Trust
  • Raven Trust partners with Indigenous nations so they can fight for their land. This non-profit supports the rightful stewards of the land in monumental environmental actions so you’ll want to ensure they are on your list. Most notably, they’ve helped fight against the Site C dam and the pipeline at Wet’suwet’en. They’re also demanding accountability with the diesel spill from the sinking of the Nathan E. Stewart that desecrated the water on Heltsuk territory. Read more about their groundbreaking campaigns here.
  • as their website states, “Stand was created to challenge corporations and governments to treat people and the environment with respect, because our lives depend on it.” They live up to this ethos by supporting frontline work and movements that are making a difference with environmental justice.
Protect Our Winters
  • POW has stood strong on the scene since its creation, spearheaded by Jeremy Jones, pro-snowboarder and all around rad human-being. They’ve been going to bat for the climate since 2007 by influencing policy makers and advocating for change. Members of POW (including pro-snowboarders) have also been instrumental in major environmental movements and I always respect a charity that isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty. For friends in Whistler, there’s a local chapter you can get involved in.
AWARE Whistler
  • AWARE is a local charity to Whistler that’s been championing environmental stewardship since the 80s. They’ve launched nearly all of the environmental initiatives in Whistler including recycling, composting, and zero waste programs, community greenhouses, clothing swaps, and much more. Here’s some specific information on old-growth protection in Whistler and additional ways to help. **full disclosure: I am a member of AWARE’s Board of Directors. I’ve also been a long-time fan and supporter of their essential work in the local community.

Fighting for old-growth protection is a lot to tackle. Hopefully, like me, you have faith that when we work together, we can move mountains. In the words of Lao Tzu, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So, instead of admiring somebody else for their environmental courage, is it time to BE that somebody? Your heart and your actions change the world. No one else is coming to save us. It’s time for everyone to step up.

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