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  • Diary of a forest defender: Why am I being arrested? 25 species will go extinct today.

    Yellow Cedar

    “HI MY NAME IS DOUG,” the engaging young man at the gate says. “That would be Doug Fir, I presume?” I inquired, echoing the Stanley and Livingston greeting in a forest far away now in time and space. Perhaps his funky home-made tree costume gave him away. The people here have a twinkle in their eye, and fun is never far away.

    The spirit of Emma Goldman dances in their revolution.

    I arrived in Camp last night to careful scrutiny as a potential RCMP infiltrator, a warm welcome, and an exhortation to bring my Self to the Movement. There are no mistakes in forest activism. There is no one path, and no Shining Path. Each of us make our own choices about how we are called to civil disobedience, and what our lives can support.

    I sat around the camp fire with “Rainbow Eyes,” after her first arrest, and before mine, discussing whether we might or might not get criminal records, and whether we should let Fear be the deciding factor, or Courage. “You know what Winston Churchill said about that,” someone chimed in.

    Myself, the only Fear I have is caused by the 2019 UN Report on Biodiversity telling me that 25 species will go extinct today, in large part due to the clearcut deforestation taking place at Fairy Creek, and all over BC.



    Clearcuts in the Caycuse River area, near blockades (photograph by Dawna Mueller)


    Apparently, when we get our day in court, the judge will balance my right to peaceful protest, and the severity of my need, against the right of the Corporation to make profit without interference, and the severity of their need. A human, against a non-human. The non-human seems to win every time. 

    Why is that?

    And the forest has no rights. The ecosystem has no rights. “The only stream around here with rights and freedoms, is the corporate income stream.”

    We need to change this.

    I will admit that I have broken the injunction. I will not sign the “promise not to return” waiver. My promise is to return, and return again, in an endless cycle of Arrest, Court, Judge, Arrest, Court, Judge, until they stop. “Rinse and repeat.”

    I will rest my defence on the urgency of our need to take action. The “Greta Thunberg defence”—Pawn to Queen 4. I have a daughter just her age—a young ecosystem scientist.

    I will close my summary to the judge by saying that if an assailant broke into my house at night and threatened my daughter, I would follow the explicit instructions of no less than Gandhi himself, and take him down by whatever means necessary. If I did, the RCMP would arrive and say “good job,” and no judge would take the assailant’s side.

    Today, I will peacefully attempt to stop an assailant from causing my daughter and her generation imminent and catastrophic harm. The RCMP will hand cuff me and take me to jail. As I calmly and reasonably inform the arresting officers that clearcutting is deforestation, and deforestation is causing species extinction, they might just say: “Tell it to the judge”.

    And that is exactly what I will do.

    In fact: “Make my day.”  🙂

    Yellow Cedar is a West Coast BC-based writer. Watch for Part II: 6 hours in a paddy wagon. Part II of Yellow Cedar's diary is now available at 


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    Thanks for the lively account of why you are willing to get arrested. I think a lot of people are thinking along these lines. I only hope this will spread to the entire province. There should be blockades of any businesses that are involved in any way in cutting old growth or selling it. Don't buy cedar from your local lumberyard. It's all coming from places like Fairy Creek. Good luck, Yellow Cedar, I look forward to your next report.

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