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Struggle to save the oldest trees in Canada

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Since last summer, dozens of people They are protesting Against the felling of ancient trees in the Fairy Creek forest south of Vancouver Island in western Canada. These protests against the felling of trees that are thousands of years old are the latest in a series of historical controversies involving large companies in the carpentry industry and the so-called Indigenous peoples in Canada: especially over the past few weeks, conservationists’ protests have given a new perspective to the issue of what appears to be a deeply divided tribal and non-tribal Canadian community. .

The First Principals In the western part of the island, protests were organized last August around the Fairy Creek forest, a few kilometers north of Port Renfrew: an environmental activist observed through satellite imagery that some trees had been cut down. For a new road that is convenient for cutting down and transporting very large trees, i.e. old trees (“old growth” in English). Activists, therefore, engaged in roadblocks, camping at various locations in the forest, trying to protect ancient trees and disrupt the operations of the Deal-Jones Company, which is licensed to cut down and process trees in those areas. .

In April, several environmental activists were expelled following a Canadian Supreme Court ruling in Deal-Jones’ reminder. Moreover, with the increase in media exposure of principals, the Canadian Federal Police (RCMP) response began to intensify from mid-May: more than 150 people have been arrested in recent weeks and several journalists have gone. Scene documenting the situation Accused Law enforcement officers tried to stop him from doing their job.

Meanwhile, the protests attracted dozens of new activists and garnered numerous demonstrations of support on social networks. In some Canadian cities, meetings have been organized for people protesting peacefully, lying on the ground like felled and dead trees.

According to the Canadian newspaper Globe and MailProtests may take place around Fairy Creek Expressions of disobedience Against the largest deforestation in recent decades in British Columbia, a forested Canadian province.

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In British Columbia, France and Germany cover more than 13 million hectares of forest, of which 3.6 are “old-growth” trees over 250 years old. Apart from these, there are various species of wildlife including marble hedgehog, plump body, short-necked seabird, hawk and other predatory birds such as the koshak. In the Fairy Creek forest alone, there are thousands of cedars several hundred years old, more than a few thousand, and approximately 9 of the 350 “big trees”. List The oldest and most impressive coniferous trees compiled by the University of British Columbia.

Each year about 50,000 hectares of the province’s century-old woodlands are cut down for carpentry: this is about eight times the size of Manhattan.

The wood of antique trees is considered to be more valuable than the younger ones because it is light and has no knots and is suitable for making wooden coverings for houses and outdoor floors. According to figures released by the British Columbia Council of Timber Companies e Quoted Reuters, The market value for the timber sector in the province in 2019 was $ 13 billion (approximately 9 9 billion), of which 3.5 came from the felling of old trees (40 2.40 billion). To give the idea, Deal-Jones is the maker of the world’s largest cedar wood guitar neck.

Market analyst Mark Wilde explained Reuters Demand for this specialty has grown significantly as a result of recent corporate scandals in North America, but the focus of the industry has shifted to the southern states of the United States, where trees are growing rapidly. Although some large Canadian companies, such as West Fraser Timber Co Ltd and Interfor Corp, have begun to invest in the United States, the trees of the ancient world are considered to be the most valuable and profitable. Large trees .. Industrial work only in British Columbia About 38 thousand people.

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Many activists and both indigenous peoples believe that the problems highlighted by the protests come from afar and are not only related to the exploitation of forests, but also to the complex and intricate relations between the Canadian government and the indigenous people. The oppression of the latter.

The Fairy Creek forest is located in the area of ​​the Pachidat tribe, which has inhabited these areas for hundreds of years, for which it is important to exploit the forest: in 2017 Pachidat signed an agreement with the provincial government. Receiving a portion of the proceeds from the registration process. Pacheedaht operates three sawmills in the area, but despite the seeming contradiction in interest, many of them opposed the felling of old trees, arguing that their forests should be protected. To this end, a significant conflict has arisen between Basidat.

Bill Jones, one of the senior bosses, openly expressed his support for activists in April after local authorities began evicting them; Other Pacheedaht, on the other hand, are not really appreciated as environmentalists infiltrate their region and their business. Among other things, Jones attended their demonstrations Accused The carpenters “think of the forest as a commodity”, arguing that the disagreement among the Pachidat people over the management of the forest in which they have lived for centuries was triggered by colonialism.

– read more: Mass burial of indigenous children found in Canada

According to Jones, in fact, the problem is much deeper than the controversy over the forest, and it was createdIndian law, Or the Act of 1876, in the words of his granddaughter Katie George-Jim, “The lands of the first nations, their government structures, plundered their children and forcibly subjugated them to pseudo-democracy.” According to George-Jim, to say that communities are divided is to give a partial view of the situation that does not take into account the context.

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Despite numerous amendments and detailed amendments over the years, Indian law is still the primary defining document between the Canadian government and the Indigenous people, and is still the subject of much controversy today. For British ColumbiaHowever, most of the land was expropriated without special agreements, and negotiations between the provincial government and the first countries on land redistribution and aboriginal rights began only in the 1990s.

George-Jim He told Science magazine Hakai Magazine Like other aboriginal communities, within Pacific, “a civil war is going on”, which is “encouraged by Canada” and “all of these stolen lands cannot exist without.” When we talk about divisions between tribal communities, we are talking precisely about “colonialism, violence and oppression”: in short, tensions that have arisen in recent months over the protection of the forests of Fairy Creek can be traced back to “hijacking”. Spiritual and ancestral right to lands and contact with them “.

According to Duncan Morrison, a nature activist guide to participating among activists’ chiefs, the protests in recent months have been the result of short-sighted policies that have increased frustration among locals and activists. Morrison explained Hakai Magazine This is a “crisis that will continue for 150 years” and other communities will be divided.

According to Morrison, forestry will always play a major role in the Canadian economy, but companies must be prepared quickly to process not only young trees but also old tree forests to “avoid the abyss”: otherwise the “most vulnerable” will be workers.

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