How much is enough? More. Since 1981, I have witnessed the greatest and most diversified temperate old-growth rainforests in the world, those of British Columbia (BC), being raped and pillaged under the auspice of crown (provincial) forestry management propping up a couple hundred timber-harvesting towns and the opportunistic (and fleeting) multinational corporations that milk the system and taunt the people with jobs.
Today, about a couple dozen old-growth wood-addicted communities with automated state-of-the-art mills remain. It’s a house of cards that over the previous decade has siphoned $3.65 billion from the provincial coffers to stay afloat. Lousy subsidies.
In reality, every day there are less wild rainforests and far less animals. Habitat destruction is horrible in an accelerating man-driven Age of Extinction. Additionally, those cutover forestlands are incapable of decontaminating putrid fossil fuel-tainted rainwater, which runs off into the sea or through your tap.
The court of public opinion has decided that BC should permanently set aside its remaining ~1,500 square miles of giant trees (‘the white rhino of old-growth rainforests’), an amnesty forever.
It turns out that those last giant BC trees along with all the other titans globally, make up about one percent of all the standing trees in existence. They are sacred. Not just for their tree rings, which are an exact record book of the Earth’s climate dating back thousands of years, but also, because they hold 50 percent of all the stored terrestrial above ground carbon (wood) within the world’s forests. Protecting all the remaining old-growth worldwide is nature’s ready-made solution to the man-made climate catastrophe (from burning fossil fuels and wood pellets).
BC’s old-growth, the giants, occupy 0.8 percent of the wild rainforests. These beauties are local, regional, continental and intercontinental climatemakers, second only to the oceans. (See The Gen Z Emergency for intriguing details). Quite simply, the value of living, breathing, dripping old-growth is inestimable. In fact, it’s the key for the survival of the Gen Zs (under 26s).
Drought, heat and fire leave massive burial yards on all continents. SOS. Soundtrack credit: The Science Show, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Alas, bank-funded plundering is quickly razing old-growth (in BC, Tasmania and many other places) to make more wooden pellets for humongous combustion furnaces in the U.K., EU, Asia and southeast United States. Those wooden pellets are releasing 13 percent more climate-destroying greenhouse gases than burning coal. What the hell.
The BC government, which manages most of the provincial forestlands, has greenlighted mowing down Mother Earth’s life support system, its old-growth, to heat-up our only home that is currently suffering from a pneumonia as evidenced by sprawling forest graveyards in BC, Australia and globally, and ever-expanding coral cemeteries.
Adding insult to injury, the BC government is paying billionaires and multinational planet-killing corporations to simplify nature, clear-cutting its old-growth. Simplification equals extinction. Extinction means forever!
The animals, plants, fens, bogs, mires, other wetlands and old-growth rainforests stand no chance whatsoever because BC still lacks a law to protect its endangered species. How convenient for the extermination of the last great big trees and all life therein.
A recent review of the government’s mismanagement of the provincial rainforests urges Premier John Horgan to safeguard the remaining old-growth. It is rare and finite. Once it’s lost, everything and everyone loses, including BC’s renowned $104.9 billion per annum tourism industry. Incidentally, tourism pays the bills, unlike forestry that grovels for subsidies, ruins nature and, at the end of the day, reduces the survivability of the Gen Zs.
Enough is enough. It’s time for the BC Green Party to step-up and defend what’s left of the besieged rainforests. In the meantime, it is up to each of us, along with the muscle of the Ancient Forest Alliance, Wilderness Committee, Sierra Club BC and others to use direct-action, agitating and protesting the destruction of Earth’s unique legacy, its marvelous life-sustaining old-growth rainforests.
Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.
Dr Reese Halter’s latest book is now available!