AN ACTION PLAN FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO STOP LOGGING OF ANCIENT FORESTS
It's 2016 and with the public's growing environmental awareness and calls to address climate change, there is absolutely no reason for logging companies to be decimating the last remaining tracts of old growth forest in British Columbia, or anywhere else in Canada, for that matter.
If you are new to the rising tide of resistance to unbridled resource piracy or the 'Save the Walbran' campaign specifically, here is a short primer on ways you can help!
For those who have not been to the Walbran, you are encouraged to make the trek and see for yourself what we are striving to save. A firsthand experience of this stunningly beautiful and extraordinary ecosystem will galvanize your resolve to do what you can to protect it in perpetuity. If you do not have access to a rugged vehicle for the hours-long trip, no problem! Car pooling is offered through visiting 'Walbran Central' on facebook, the online hub for the latest developments on action in support of the Walbran Valley. walbran central
GET IN THE KNOW!
It cannot be stressed how important it is to stay informed, obtain the facts and learn the history behind this campaign that goes back decades. The spate of recent actions taken to protect the Central Walbran Valley over the past year is only a single chapter in the rich heritage of environmental activism here on Vancouver Island. Newcomers to the struggle join a vibrant lineage and so it is critical to keep that mind. There are many posts to walbran central that share these stories. Events such as the recent lecture by Dr. Neville Winchester help us to learn more about the unique ecological qualities of our bioregion and the science behind it. islands in the sky
As land defenders, it goes without saying that it is absolutely essential to reach out to First Nations communities and learn from those experts who have committed their lives to proper land stewardship and to struggle against the ravages of colonial and runaway capitalist mentalities. Building bridges in this way offers us a wider perspective on what we are up against. Online groups such as settlers info provide a wealth of resources in this regard.
SUPPORT EACH OTHER!
Building bridges also involves building affinity and promoting solidarity with other groups who are resisting oppression, colonialism, capitalism, racism and fear. It is necessary to support each other since our targets and visions of a more viable tomorrow are mutually held, more often than not. Events such as UVIC's activist assembly and facebook groups such as the free radical bulletin board help us to understand our connections with other activists and make contacts across gaps that keep us divided.
CONSIDER THE ALTERNATIVES!
Consider ways to reduce our demand for new timber. Look into and actively promote alternatives to wood products. Salvaging wood could become a political statement! An attempt to address this facet of the issue is gaining momentum with the newly formed South Island Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Stay tuned!
2017 will be an election year here in BC and so this is our chance to not only elect politicians who support an outright ban on all old growth logging in the province but to also transform this campaign into a hot button political issue that drives the election results in this province. If you meet face-to-face with a politician from any level of government, make sure the protection of old growth forests is the first thing that comes out of your mouth!
PHONE 'EM UP!
A successful initiative in getting up in the faces of key government and corporate players in the Walbran Valley has come from the Wilderness Committee's walbran wednesdays that encourages folks to phone blitz a particular person or office on a designated day. This clever initiative has certainly reached the ears of those in control of our forests and they are getting nervous!
It is never easy grabbing the ears of politicians but Parliament's new e-petition system is a fantastic method to compel federal politicians to grapple with issues brought forth by constituents themselves. Some power to the people! What makes this e-petition system stand out from others like avaaz or change.org is that, with the support of one MP, five friends, and the signatures of 500 people, your petition is required to be tabled in Parliament. It may not lead to legislative change, but it could begin to shape debate in the House of Commons and attract attention across the board. Check out e-99 which seeks to designate all old growth forests in Canada as national parks!
If petitions and slacktivism are not your things, why not consider creative, artistic actions that attract the attention of the public? Recent actions in front of the Legislative Building in Victoria like listen up leaders! and the people's spark ignite our imagination as well as our passions! The theatre of the wild promises to be an intriguing example of this as it will seek to embody a Council of All Beings presiding over logging operations in an eco-pageantry form of protest.
STREET LEVEL MESSAGING!
More subversive are illicit banner drops, wheat pasting and graffiti to spread our 'propaganda' and counter the use of public space solely for corporate messaging, advertising and brainwashing.
Even more subversive (and arguably more effective) are direct action techniques that seek to dismantle the machinery in place that we are opposed to. Protests, boycotts, blockades, and tree sits are just a few of the tactics we can use to 'fuck shit up'. If you feel actions speak louder than words the forest action network is as good a place to start as anywhere else.
TAKE IT TO THE STREETS!
And finally, we need to MAKE SOME NOISE! Speak out! Be heard! Don't settle for platitudes! Reject the tiring, old 'business as usual' mindset! Get out there! Join with others. The ancient forest alliance, sierra club of bc, and the wilderness committee are all doing incredible advocacy work and need your help!
The land, the forest and its inhabitants need our help! Let's all step it up with some of these tactics and let's win this thing!
J Ocean Dennie