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  • Two men go on hunger strike until Premier Horgan implements a ban on old-growth logging


    July 26, 2020

    Dear Premier John Horgan, Minister Doug Donaldson, Sheila Malcomson, Doug Routley, and all Members of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia,

    Out of our deep concern for British Columbia’s old-growth forest and the species that are disappearing with them, we will go on a hunger strike until Premier John Horgan implements a ban on the logging of old growth forests across BC. The hunger strike will begin on July 27th, 2020 when we, James Darling and Robert Fuller, will stop eating.

    Globally, we are facing a crisis so terrifying that it’s almost beyond description. We are at the beginning of an exponentially worsening climate catastrophe and living through a human-driven mass extinction. Science predicts that the globe would still experience at least a 4 degree Celsius average temperature increase, even if every nation did everything it pledged under the Paris Accord.At the same time, human actions are being described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences as “biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction.”2

    In a November 25, 2008 letter to the B.C. Auditor General requesting an audit, the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria states: “...habitat loss is the primary threat to BC’s at risk species. Habitat destruction and degradation threatens 86 percent of species at risk in the province. Therefore, this government’s failure to properly identify and protect critical habitat for such species is an egregious failure to steward a key public resource. It is a failure to operate ‘economically, efficiently and effectively’ as per s. 11(8) of the Auditor General Act...

    A recent comprehensive assessment of BC’s biodiversity estimated that there are approximately 1600 species at risk in BC today and that approximately 43 percent of BC’s assessed species are at risk.”3

    A decade later, thirteen eminent BC scientists report in The Narwhal that 1,806 BC species are at risk of extinction and call for a law to protect their habitat.Protecting endangered species was a pre-election promise from the BC NDP. Not a square metre of land in BC has been protected from industrial development for endangered species thus far.

    The dire state of BC’s old growth was described in a recent scientific report prepared by three BC forest experts. They explain that “over 85 percent of productive forest sites have less than 30 percent of the amount of old forest expected naturally, and nearly half of these ecosystems have less than 1 percent of the old forest expected naturally. This current status puts biodiversity, ecological integrity and resilience at high risk today.”5

    No job, no industry, and no business is more important than the continued existence of old-growth forests in our province. They have been shown to sequester far more carbon than the seedlings that might replace them.The planet desperately needs them alive right now.

    Old-growth logging is inherently unsustainable since the practice destroys ecosystems that take thousands of years to develop. So the question is how much old-growth forest will be left when we finally stop cutting it down? Do we have to destroy all of it just to postpone making unavoidable, difficult decisions?

    We ask that you do the right thing for the world our children will inherit.

    James Darling
    (250) 816-4321 james0darling@gmail.com

    Robert Fuller
    (250) 591-1062 bevnbob@gmail.com


    1 Climate Tipping Points—too risky to bet against: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019- 03595-0

    2 Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction: https://www.pnas.org/content/114/30/E6089

    3 Request for an audit of Ministry of Environment’s Failure to identify critical habitat for species at risk: http://www.elc.uvic.ca/publications/request-for-an-audit-of-ministry-of-environments-failure-to- identify-critical-habitat-for-species-at-risk/

    4 BC has a whopping 1,807 species at risk of extinction—but no rules to protect them: https://thenarwhal.ca/b-c-has-a-whopping-1807-species-at-risk-of-extinction-but-no-rules-to-protect- them/

    5 BC’s Old Growth Forest: A Last Stand For Biodiversity https://veridianecological.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/bcs-old-growth-forest-report-web.pdf

    6 Rate of tree carbon accumulation increases continually with size: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature12914

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    Writing to James Darling and Robert Fuller from Nova Scotia with great respect.

    The plundering of British Columbia and beyond is absolutely unforgivable. Premier Horgan and countless other Corporate Captured "leaders" enable devastating destruction with a steady, near-sighted, greedy eye on their prize: Payouts that will continue long after retirement from politics.
    Meanwhile, they fiddle while our beloved, battered Planet burns. 


    Sincerely, Jodie


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    Thank you for showing personal leadership on this existential issue for British Columbians, Canadians, and indeed the human species.  In targeting old growth forest protection you have identified a significant and important action we must take here in British Columbia.  It is time to start reclaiming our forests and reviewing our forestry practices, bringing them into a new standard that recognizes the hazards of climate change and puts us back in balance with nature.  We need more forest regeneration, and more environmentally sensitive forest practices if we are to retain a forest industry for our children and grandchildren.  In a talk by Guy Dauncey, he identified the true cost of greenhouse gases contributed by the forestry industry:

    BC's reported GHG emissions -- 65 mt

    CO2 emissions by logging -- 42 mt plus CO2 lost due to clearcut sequestration dead zones 26.5 mt

    BC Forest GHG emissions - 68 mt

    Reforming forestry is as important as phasing out fossil fuels if we are to meet the true challenge of climate change.

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    James and Robert are showing true courage and self-sacrifice for our old growth forests. Thank you to these two men. We need to do the right thing and ban old growth forest logging now.

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    James and Robert- our family and friends in BC are behind you. The skewed stats and current rate of old growth logging in BC is a travesty. Shame on Premier Horgan- as a man and a leader with a background in science, we have a hard time understanding how he can put a limited number of short term jobs ahead of the protection of the remaining sliver of old growth timber still left standing in B.C.  what will we tell our grandchildren when the last of these forests are gone?

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    Thank you for sacrificing your own comfort, and I hope, not your own long term health, to bring attention to this dismal situation. I will send a letter in support of your action to the government and spread the word about what you are doing. 

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    These two men have my deepest gratitude for their sacrifice in calling attention to this senseless wholly self-destructive actions of the logging industry. Going without food for even 24 hours seems hard enough! I can't imagine doing that for days. 

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    These 2 young men, James and Robert, symbolize the lengths our community will go to for our forests, there is definitely something brewing, something huge is afoot, a monumental change in how we view our forests, momentous change is all across BC, we, the many,  are no longer able to sit and watch our ecosystem services and biodiversity being turned into 2x4s and tree farms for the profit of the few.

    I appreciate the sacrifice these gentlemen are making for our province, now we will see what sacrifices industry is willing to make in order to do the right thing  and what changes government will have the courage to enact.  #moratorium on primary forest clear cutting in BC NOW!

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