B.C. premier John Horgan has been implored in an open letter by more than 100 celebrated international and Canadian musicians, environmentalists, scientists, actors, Indigenous leaders, and others to save the province's remaining old-growth forests.
Some of the notable personalities include rockers Neil Young and Bryan Adams, environmentalists Greta Thunberg and Vicky Husband, First Nations leaders Ellen Gabriel and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, scientists Wade Davis and David Suzuki, and actors Tantoo Cardinal, Daryl Hannah, and Jane Fonda.
More than 90 other prominent artists, political leaders, business and civic figures, athletes, social-justice advocates, authors, and academics signed the letter, dated June 18.
The complete list of names can be viewed here.
An accompanying release noted that less than 2.7 percent of B.C.'s big-tree old-growth forests remain. Both the letter and covering release were issued by Canopy, a Vancouver-based environmental nonprofit.
According to Canopy spokesperson Laura Repas, the organization started in 1999 and survives on donations from groups, foundations, and individuals.
"We're trying to increase the movement to save old growth," she told the Straight by phone from Toronto. She said Canopy accepts no corporate funding but "collaborates" with forestry companies and their suppliers and customers in the fashion, publishing, and packaging industries to work out solutions to preserve old-growth forests worldwide.
Repas said the letter has already "attracted a fair bit of attention" and she expects and hopes that will increase in the coming days.
The issue of logging B.C.'s old-growth trees, some of them centuries old, has generated national and international awareness recently because of the hundreds of arrests related to ongoing protests against the Fairy Creek old-growth logging on southwest Vancouver Island, near Port Renfrew.
In the release, noted B.C. ethnobotanist and author Wade Davis expressed his disbelief that such logging continues in his home province. “I can’t believe that after 40 years of talking about the need to conserve British Columbia’s iconic forests, we are still logging these massive trees,” Davis said. “We need an economy that doesn’t come at the expense of these vital ecosystems. That’s why I’m standing alongside more than 120 other prominent luminaries to demand that Premier Horgan takes action to stop logging these irreplaceable forests and develop a 21st century economy.”
The open letter is reproduced below:
Some things can’t be replaced.
British Columbia used to be the land of giants, with trees towering 250 feet tall.
For thousands of years, these forests have cleaned our air and water, nurtured species, stabilized the climate, and been stewarded by Indigenous Nations through the jurisdictional management of their traditional lands.
Today, less than 3% of these vital, old-growth forests remain.
Premier Horgan, protect the irreplaceable.