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.1 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.4 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.6 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.
(250) 816-4321 email@example.com
(250) 591-1062 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Edited by admin