And he learned so much that we now celebrate “John Horgan Day”
I HAVE A DREAM.
I woke up this morning with a dream, that John Horgan, Dr Suzanne Simard, Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones, and I, were all walking up (Ada-itsx) Fairy Creek valley together, on a pilgrimage to the headwaters.
In my dream, we walked with bare feet, opened our hearts, and talked about the things we need in our lives.
All around us, spirits were moving through the trees like morning mist. I saw Joni Mitchell in conversation with Gandhi. A rufous hummingbird flitted by.
When we clearcut forests, rufous hummingbirds have nothing to perch on, and go extinct.
By the time we climbed up among the firs “where it smells so sweet,” we found a way for each of us to get our needs met.
UNFORTUNATELY, JOHN HORGAN lives in a golden cage of power, frittering away his leadership gifts on getting elected. In 100 years, he will be a footnote in a sad list of lost opportunities.
Unless we can get him out into the forest, for a day.
BC’s forests are a significant chunk of the Earth’s biodiversity and planetary health. The decisions John Horgan makes will save or exterminate thousands of species and whole ecosystems. Humans are one of those species.
John, will you walk with us? Solving the forestry puzzle in BC will create a template for humans to stop global warming and biodiversity loss.
I dream of Dr Simard, because her Mother Tree Project is writing the blueprint for weaving jobs, revenue, and forests into harmony. She’s healing clearcuts back into old growth. I wish her Project could include every tree in BC, and Fairy Creek could be her benchmark old growth watershed. She could manage complexity for us.
I dream of Bill Jones guiding us, because his ancestors have lived in the forest since salmon began to swim. Bill Jones is a great leader, whose gift is bringing people’s hearts back home to the land, where they belong. He likes to say: “Get out to the woods.” His dream is that our children will have woods to walk in, forever.
Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones (at BC Legislature) invites you to come to Ada-itsx and “Get out to the woods” (photo RFS)
John, please stop seeing Fairy Creek as a problem, and grab the opportunity.
Premiers live in a paradigm of “Jobs vs. The Environment,” in an electoral hall of mirrors. They know little of forests, climate change, and biodiversity. In my dream, we climb the valley together, laying out the logistics of using wood in our lives without clearcutting forests, so they can sequester 65 million more tons of carbon a year for us.
First we have to develop a reciprocal relationship with them.
In a woodlot, trees grow every year, and managers never cut the principle, only the interest. BC could be one big wilderness woodlot full of salmon, eagles, and bears, with people hiking down tiny skidder trails, and local sorting yards turning every forest gift into local jobs.
By retaining ownership of the trees further up the food chain, we could share billions of dollars in revenue between our First Nations and our Second Nation, the Province.
This log was given by the Province to a logging corporation for $28 a cubic metre, and sold by the logging corporation to a mill for $700 a cubic metre. (Lorna Beecroft Photo)
But we won’t get there with “talk and log,” only with legislation. The only reason women can vote, is legislation. We only got that legislation through civil disobedience. The legislation we need is this:
It is illegal to harvest timber in any way that reduces the biomass that exists in each and every watershed.
No clearcutting, just hand logging. If we had passed that legislation in 1940 we would still have all our old growth, at the stroke of a pen. No cost to taxpayers. Twice the forestry jobs. The RCMP home to their families. Tree sitters down for a hot bath and some hugs. True reconciliation with First Nations.
Reconciliation with Life. Who wouldn’t vote for that?
Without legislation, we’ll have to keep getting arrested and go to the Supreme Court of Canada for a ruling. If you make us do that, John, you will hasten your place in history as a footnote.
I’d so much rather that someday the world will celebrate “John Horgan Day” and tell the story of how a man broke his way out of his golden cage, to walk up a valley, absorbing the teachings of an Indigenous elder, a scientist, and a forest.
Grandfather tree near Fairy Creek (photo Aaron Yukich)
The UN Report on Biodiversity states that unless we stop deforestation, we will cause 1,000,000 species to go extinct, and make “Organized human life untenable” in 100 years.
Not on our watch.
Ben Barclay has been defending forests by practicing ecoforestry for 40 years. He has spent many weeks at Fairy Creek over the past six months.