One of the veterans of the global environmental movement was taken into custody on Vancouver Island today.
Tzeporah Berman, the international programs director with Stand.earth, is among 20 people arrested this week for defying an exclusion zone imposed by the RCMP in response to a B.C. Supreme Court injunction.
Teal-Jones Group obtained the injunction last month so that it could continue with logging operations under a provincial licence in the Fairy Creek watershed.
It's one of a declining number of stands of old-growth timber.
The forest is in the traditional territory of the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations.
According to a Stand.earth news release, the RCMP are using jackhammers to take another activist into custody.
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has accused the RCMP of setting up an exclusion zone that is overly broad and is therefore illegal.
Berman also criticized the extent of the exclusion zone in the Stand.earth news release.
"The exclusions are far beyond what is safe and what is constitutional. We have a right to protest and a right to free speech," she said. "Both those who are here to support citizens taking a stand, as well as the media, should be allowed at all times right up to the blockade to ensure peoples’ safety. The RCMP blockades are numerous, arbitrary, and they’re putting people’s safety and comfort at risk.”
In 2019, Berman received US$2 million in Climate Breakthrough Project funding to look at ways to align Paris Agreement climate goals with global oil and gas development. Stand.earth convened a working group with other organizations in Europe and the United States to explore the idea of a fossil-fuel nonproliferation treaty.
Another of those arrested at Fairy Creek was xʷ is xʷ čaa (Kati George-Jim), a niece of Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones
According to Stand.earth, the Mounties won't allow media, legal observers, and some Indigenous leaders in the area where arrests are taking place.
Sierra Club B.C. is another environmental group that has tried to raise the public's concern over the destruction of old-growth forests.
It released a report last year showing that only eight percent of original forests with big trees remain as old-growth forests—and only about three percent with "very big old trees" are still standing.
The environmental group says that more than 500 soccer-field sized stands of old growth are being clear-cut every day in B.C.
The B.C. NDP government said that it would implement all 14 recommendations from the two registered professional foresters on its expert old-growth panel.
You can read the 14 recommendations below:
On conditions required for change
1. Engage the full involvement of Indigenous leaders and organizations to review this report and any subsequent policy or strategy development and implementation.
2. Declare conservation of ecosystem health and biodiversity of British Columbia’s forests as an overarching priority and enact legislation that legally establishes this priority for all sectors.
3. Adopt a three-zone forest management framework to guide forest planning and decision-making.
4. Adopt a more inclusive and stable governance model that gives local communities and stakeholders a greater role in forest management decisions that affect them.
5. Provide the public with timely and objective information about forest conditions and trends.
For immediate response:
6. Until a new strategy is implemented, defer development in old forests where ecosystems are at very high and near-term risk of irreversible biodiversity loss.
7. Bring management of old forests into compliance with existing provincial targets and guidelines for maintaining biological diversity.
For improving management:
8. Establish and fund a more robust monitoring and evaluation system for updating management of old forests.
9. Establish a standardized system and guidance that integrates provincial goals and priorities to local objectives and targets.
10. Update the targets for retention and management of old and ancient forest.
11. Improve the mapping and classification of old forests to recognize multiple values.
12. Create a silviculture innovation program aimed at developing harvesting alternatives to clearcutting that maintain old forest values.
13. Once developed, implement the new policies and strategies for the management of old forests through mandatory provincial and local transition plans that define, schedule and monitor the process.
14. Support forest sector workers and communities as they adapt to changes resulting from a new forest management system.